1. TLK
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    TLK Active Member

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    Being Cut Off When Speaking

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by TLK, May 19, 2013.

    Hi guys,

    I'm just wondering what the correct way to punctuate someone being cut off is. I.e.:

    "I don't think that's a-"
    "Actually," Bob interrupted.... blah blah blah

    So, as you can see, the way I thought it worked was with a hyphen immediately after where you're cut off, followed by the closing of the speech marks. The reason I've come to doubt this is, when I'm writing using MS Word, whenever I do this (and exactly this), the speech marks default to 'open'. I have to put the speech marks in, then go back and stick the hyphen between the word and the closed speech marks. It doesn't provoke any of those dammed wiggly green lines, but clearly Word doesn't want me to do it.

    I did wonder if it could be an ellipsis, but that's for when someone tails off during their speech, rather than being abruptly cut off by another section of dialogue or an event.

    So, is it just Word or am I doing it wrong? What the correct way of doing this?

    Thanks in advance! :)
     
  2. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    "It's really rude to interrupt someone when they have something important to—”

    "Hey! Let's go to the Zoo. Want to go to the Zoo...? I do. Let's go to the Zoo."
     
  3. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Word does that too me too and I do the exact same thing. I think that it's correct. MS word isn't always right just like it always isn't with Spell Check.
     
  4. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    You can either go in the "insert" directory and pull out the Em dash or just type in a letter after the double dash and quote that letter and hit the space bar, then delete that letter. That is the only two ways I've been able to do it. :\
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    If I recall correctly, (not a guarantee), the Chicago Manual said to use the — to show an interruption and the . . . to show a truncated quote or a pause.

    As for the em dash, I have a Mac and I hit alt and the - to get –. Doesn't matter which WP I'm in. I'd bet Word knows the difference between a hyphen and an em dash.

    Hey, I just figured out how to get the longer em dash. — alt shift and the underline/hyphen key.

    Hmm, wonder what the difference is besides length? -–—
     
  6. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Argh... That doesn't work for Word.


    And yes, the Em Dash is used to indicate an interruption of dialogue, while the Ellipsis is used to denote a pause in dialogue.
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Works in word for me.

    It's the keyboard and the OS, not the word processor. Did you try it in a post?

    So you are getting your em dashes by inserting them?

    Try a page of alt+ the top row of keys. What do you get? This is what I get:

    `¡™£¢∞§¶•ªº–≠

    That apostrophe in the front differs as it lets me put a letter under it if I use alt. `è

    If I use alt n and then n, I can make the Spanish letter, ñ.

    This is what I get with alt shift and the top row:

    `⁄€‹›fifl‡°·‚—±

    Alt is a fun key. :)

    Also in Word, if I want to draw a line, I type 3 hyphens and return. I get a line, the same line no matter the combination of -–— .
     
  8. cswillson
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    cswillson Member

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    In MS Word an Em dash is also [space dash dash space]. Scrivener does that, too.
     
  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Thanks. Hmm, just tried it, works in Scriv but not Word for me. It does, though, change the hyphens to bold in Word. Must be a Word for Mac thing.
     
  10. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Yes but, when using it at the end of a quoted sentence it makes the ending quote a opening quote.

    “Did you hear that frank was caught—

    “Yeah…everyone heard that.”


    See?
     
  11. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Testing Em dash in a post

    Nope. nothing.
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    After you make the em dash, what happens if you go back and delete the last space? The em dash is unchanged in Scriv when I do that.

    Still waiting for someone to explain the third dash size to me: -–— :)
     
  13. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    I only have an En dash (hyphen) and an Em dash. What third Em dash?
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    TLK...
    hyphens are used only for hyphenated words or if a word is broken between syllables, at the end of a line...

    as you can see from all the discussion above, the correct mark for interrupted speech is an 'em dash'... generally, in mss, the actual em dash is not used and a double hyphen shows where one should be placed when it goes to print... the reason being that in some fonts it's hard to tell a hyphen from an em dash and the double hyphen leaves no room for error...

    nee...
    an en dash and a hyphen are not exactly the same... the hyphen is a bit shorter...
     
  15. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I didn't get my answer but I did get enough hints to find more than I asked for.

    http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/dashes.asp

    An en dash is the width of an n and is used for to in a range of things. A–Z. It differs from the shorter hyphen, -.

    And we know what the m dash is, plus it is supposed to be the width of an m. :)

    I wonder why folks didn't just use one size fits all. Seems quite tedious to use 3 sizes.


    On Google you should be able to find out how to make three sizes of dashes, Nee. -–—
     
  16. TLK
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    TLK Active Member

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    Awesome, thanks for the help guys. I can't be bothered trying it right now (since it's pretty late), but I imagine simply copying and pasting from this thread should allow me to get the correct punctuation in.

    And I never realised there were so many variations of lines in grammar. You learn something new every day, I guess.
     
  17. huntsman40
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    huntsman40 Active Member

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    Just to help with a couple of things that the others didn't answer I don't think. There are indeed keyboard shortcuts in Word for an ellipsis (…), em dash (—) and an en dash (–). The ellipsis is done with CTRL+ALT and the full stop key. The en dash is done with CTRL and the – (minus) key, and the em dash is done with CTRL+ALT and the – (minus) key. Make sure to use the minus key on the number pad on right of your keyboard, and not the hyphen key or it won’t work, which I’m guessing is why it didn’t for you.

    As to which punctuation to use for an interrupt it’s fairly simple. You should use either an en dash or em dash for a conversation interruption. Either of these would be correct, and largely which depends on where you are from. Americans tend to use the em dash and English people the en dash, just as two examples. Just make sure to note how spacing is done for each of these types, as many people don’t do so.

    On your issue with Word and the speech marks. You’re right, that’s a fail with Word far as I can tell, as it will use the open speech marks sign if you use it after an en dash or em dash, even though its perfectly correct way to do an interrupt.
     
  18. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    And that is one of the most annoying things I've found with Word! That and the stupid space after the footnote number in footnotes.

    (EDIT: If you're taking Mamma's advice due to worrying about sending a manuscript to editors, then put in the double hyphen below instead of the emdash).
    There is, however, a way to fix it using macros:

    1. In a document, make sure you're using the font you normally use, then type one letter, and put a closing quote on it.

    2. Highlight and copy that closing quote, and only the closing quote.

    3. Start a Macro (it is in the developer tab. If you don't have that tab on your screen, go to the windows button in word, click on it, then click on "Popular." In the "Top Options for Working with Word," put a check mark in "Show Developer tab in the Ribbon").

    4. Go to the tab, and click on "Record Macro"

    5. A screen will pop up. Name the macro something (It has to be one name, no spaces. I named mine "Interruptedspeechquote"

    6. Click on the keyboard Icon. Another screen will pop up. Here, put your cursor in the "Press new shortcut key" field, then press the "alt" and "quote" key. Don't worry about shift key to change to double quotes instead of single. That's already taken care of.

    7. Click on "Assign" and then "close." Now, your cursor should change to look like a little cassette tape. That's telling you that you're recording your macro. Don't worry about being fast, it only records key strokes.

    8. Now, press "Ctrl" + "Alt" on the keyboard and "-" from the keypad portion of the keyboard. The emdash should appear.

    9. Press "Ctrl" + "v" on the keyboard. The closing quote should appear after the emdash. If there is a space there for some reason, take the space out now.

    10. On the developer tab, click on "Stop recording."

    Congratulations. Now, every time you click Alt + ' you will get an interrupted speech emdash and the proper closing quote.
     

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