Punctuation

Discussion about the various aspects of the writing craft.

Moderators: FranW, ElaineB, PaulaO

Punctuation

Postby PaulaO » 19 Oct 2012, 12:16

I need to understand a few things about this.

If I write dialogue and I say who is saying what, there is to be a comma, right?

"I think you should look into it," Dyb said. <-- correct?

But what about where a comma won't fit.

"I think you should look into it!" Dyb said. <-- correct?

What about:

"I think you should look into it," Dyb said. "Before it is too late."

Granted, it's a lousy sentence and oddly split but just going with Dyb's concern here. So in this sentence, is the B capitalized?

Then there are the ways of identifying the speaker without saying she said.

"I think you should look into it," Dyb shook her finger at me. "Before it is too late."

In this case, what she says is one sentence yet there's her bit in the middle. Is the rule of thumb to just rewrite it?

"I think you should look into it before it is too late." Dyb shook her finger at me. <-- correct? Or should there be a comma again?

Basically, while it is something I truly need to know, what I am doing is procrastinating and looking for any semblance of a reason to not be doing what I should be doing. I can't find my Chicago Manual of Style.
Take a deep breath and count to zen.
User avatar
PaulaO
Heartbeat of the forum
Heartbeat of the forum
 
Posts: 4793
Joined: 22 Mar 2010, 13:24
Location: Leicester NC USA

Re: Punctuation

Postby FranW » 19 Oct 2012, 12:40

Yup, you've got it all correct.

"Dialogue," person said.
"Dialogue!" person said.
Dialogue," person said. "More dialogue."
"Dialogue." Person does something that is not a dialogue tag. "More dialogue."
Dialogue," person said, "plus more dialogue."
No on H8
User avatar
FranW
Heartbeat of the forum
Heartbeat of the forum
 
Posts: 7084
Joined: 20 Mar 2010, 10:00

Re: Punctuation

Postby PaulaO » 19 Oct 2012, 14:10

Sigh. This business ain't easy.

I'll need to do a search for the word 'said' I guess.
Take a deep breath and count to zen.
User avatar
PaulaO
Heartbeat of the forum
Heartbeat of the forum
 
Posts: 4793
Joined: 22 Mar 2010, 13:24
Location: Leicester NC USA

Re: Punctuation

Postby ElaineB » 19 Oct 2012, 23:05

I only disagree on this one:
PaulaO wrote:"I think you should look into it," Dyb said. "Before it is too late."

Because what follows continues what came before, I'd do it like this:
"I think you should look into it," Dyb said, "before it is too late."


And you can get the CMOS online: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org. Though, of course, I can't remember my login, so can't look this up there. I use it more at work, where I'm permanently logged in. For some reason that doesn't "stick" at home.
User avatar
ElaineB
Heartbeat of the forum
Heartbeat of the forum
 
Posts: 6625
Joined: 23 Mar 2010, 01:11
Location: Massachusetts, USA

Re: Punctuation

Postby Proofrdr » 20 Oct 2012, 05:07

PaulaO wrote:"I think you should look into it," Dyb shook her finger at me. "Before it is too late."


Clarification on this one. When dialog is interrupted by an action of the speaker or by something that belongs to the containing narrative, it's punctuated with em dashes this way:

"I think you should look into it"––Dyb shook her finger at me--"before it is too late."


The dialog is contained within quotation marks and the action is contained within the em dashes.
Image
User avatar
Proofrdr
Heartbeat of the forum
Heartbeat of the forum
 
Posts: 6768
Joined: 25 Mar 2010, 07:56
Location: RI, USA

Re: Punctuation

Postby Proofrdr » 20 Oct 2012, 05:14

That's in CMoS, 16th ed., section 6.84. Here's the example they give:
If the break belongs to the surrounding sentence rather than to the quoted material, the em dashes must appear outside the quotation marks.

“Someday he’s going to hit one of those long shots, and”—his voice turned huffy—“I won’t be there to see it.”
Image
User avatar
Proofrdr
Heartbeat of the forum
Heartbeat of the forum
 
Posts: 6768
Joined: 25 Mar 2010, 07:56
Location: RI, USA

Re: Punctuation

Postby Sacchi » 20 Oct 2012, 06:26

I agree with Proof, although my first instinct would be to say:

"I think you should look into it." Dyb shook her finger at me. "Before it is too late."

If you want the finger shaking to take place concurrent with the dialogue, you could say:

"I think you should look into it," Dyb said, shaking her finger at me, "before it is too late."
User avatar
Sacchi
Heartbeat of the forum
Heartbeat of the forum
 
Posts: 2143
Joined: 25 Mar 2010, 10:13
Location: Western Massachusetts

Re: Punctuation

Postby Proofrdr » 20 Oct 2012, 06:55

Right, Sacchi. It all depends on the context and whether or not you want the dialog tag in there. A dialog tag can interrupt the pace of the dialog and take away from the concurrent action. Context, style, nuance...they all play a part in decisions like this.
Image
User avatar
Proofrdr
Heartbeat of the forum
Heartbeat of the forum
 
Posts: 6768
Joined: 25 Mar 2010, 07:56
Location: RI, USA

Re: Punctuation

Postby PaulaO » 20 Oct 2012, 07:08

Banging. Head. On. Desk.

I will never get this.

I think nearly all of the dialogue in To Sleep is wrong, then.
Take a deep breath and count to zen.
User avatar
PaulaO
Heartbeat of the forum
Heartbeat of the forum
 
Posts: 4793
Joined: 22 Mar 2010, 13:24
Location: Leicester NC USA

Re: Punctuation

Postby Baker » 20 Oct 2012, 08:48

Proofrdr wrote:
PaulaO wrote:"I think you should look into it," Dyb shook her finger at me. "Before it is too late."


Clarification on this one. When dialog is interrupted by an action of the speaker or by something that belongs to the containing narrative, it's punctuated with em dashes this way:

"I think you should look into it"––Dyb shook her finger at me--"before it is too late."


The dialog is contained within quotation marks and the action is contained within the em dashes.

I have never seen it done with em dashes. Is this an American thing? :dunno:
I can see the logic behind it, since the action and dialogue phrases are all of a single part. But my natural punctuation would be full stops as Fran points out in her post.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities ~ Voltaire
User avatar
Baker
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8622
Joined: 19 Mar 2010, 11:10
Location: New Zealand

Next

Return to Craft Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron