1. Michael Thompson
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    Michael Thompson Member

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    A character's thoughts that are a question

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Michael Thompson, Nov 16, 2015.

    I have read a number of people opinions on using italics for thoughts... I think it's kind of standard to do so... With that in mind, how about when it's a thought that's a question?

    I have found many different answers for this, but I'm just not sure... In the book I am trying to write, this happens a few times and I'm not sure what the best format is when it come to the question mark in the thought.

    For example:

    How am I alive? he thought.
    How am I alive? He thought.
    How am I alive, he thought?
    How am I alive, he thought.

    assume the "How am I alive" part is in italics...

    Which one is correct? Where does the question mark go?
     
  2. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    Purely from a mechanical/syntactic perspective, the first one is correct:

    How am I alive? he thought.

    It's just like dialog, except without the quotes. The last one would only be correct if it was not a question. The two in the middle are completely wrong.
     
  3. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    If it's in italics, cut out the "he thought" entirely - you don't need it. Then it becomes:

    How am I alive?

    Or you could get rid of the problem with:

    He wondered how he could still be alive.

    I would do either of those things before I used any of the options you suggested, because I find them clunky.
     
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  4. Michael Thompson
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    Michael Thompson Member

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    Thanks... I have been leaning towards the first one...
     
  5. Gisella_M
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    Gisella_M Member

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    I also would leave out the 'he thought', the italics tell the reader that for you.
     

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