1. Leyanight
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    Leyanight New Member

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    Action or Dialogue Tag

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Leyanight, Jun 17, 2014.

    A friend of mine is editing my book and told me that the below should be an dialogue tag not an action tag. I would argue that butting in is an action and therefore should be an action tag. Opinions?

    “We’ll both have a beer and menus. Thanks.” Jonathan butted in, his voice laced with irritation.
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Your friend is correct. It's a dialogue tag. The verb is still directly related to the uttering of the words. It's not a separate action or a deviation in the described action, the latter looking something like:

    "We'll both have a beer and menus. Thanks." Jonathan had a terrible habit of butting in and no talent for hiding irritation.
     
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  3. Leyanight
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    Leyanight New Member

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    Well shoot! :) Just wanted confirmation. Thanks for the response! I'll reword.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    So I wrote my own version:

    Jonathan cut in. “We’ll both have a beer and menus, thanks,” he said, annoyed at being left out of the discussion*.

    [*or whatever he was irritated by]

    Then read @Wreybies and I prefer his version. :(
     
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  5. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, Ginger, I like yours better, with one tiny alteration:

    Jonathan cut in, annoyed at being left out of the discussion. “We’ll both have a beer and menus, thanks.”
     
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  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    That's nice of you, Ed. :)

    But since you brought it up, I do that a lot, interrupt the sentence with dialogue. Perhaps I should take a closer look at my use of that technique.
     
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  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that in the order that you present it, it needs to be a tag. If you reversed it, it could be either a tag or a beat.

    I say that because as presented, it's two actions, and the actions seem out of order--we hear Jonathan speak, and then we're told that he's speaking. It's rather like:

    The vase tipped and crashed to the floor. Jane knocked into the table and accidentally dislodged the vase.

    The car pulled neatly into the parking space. Jonathan spied a great parking space and headed for it.
     
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  8. Leyanight
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    Leyanight New Member

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    Thank you everyone! You've given me a ton to think about.
     
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  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Just a detail:

    "I'll have a Dos Equis Amber, and she'll have a Heineken."

    Nobody order just a beer. You have to specify which beer, right? When was the last time you were in a bar and heard anybody just order a beer?

    ;)
     
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  10. AlannaHart
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    AlannaHart Contributing Member

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    I was thinking that @minstrel ! As a bartender I was reading all these comments from the POV of whoever's getting asked for a beer and imagining the impatient response it would get.
    "Any particular beer?" "What do you have?" "I'll just get you the menu."
     
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  11. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Stay literate, my friend.
     
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  12. Leyanight
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    Leyanight New Member

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    Thanks! I have actually had that conversation with myself already. I was kind of using "beer" as a place holder until I could figure out what I wanted to put there. It will be something more specific in the final draft. Didn't even think about it when I posted it on here and I should have.
     
  13. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I've ordered 'una cerveza' in more than one bar. Might be the high-class joints I frequent.
     

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