1. Devon
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    Devon Member

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    Can beats be enclosed by commas?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Devon, Jan 11, 2007.

    I have a question about enclosing a beat between commas within dialogue. I'll give examples:

    "Then come," she grabbed Ariana's wrist, "let's see what the brothers have to offer us."

    Or:

    ". . .that’s what I, and my daughter when her time comes,” he motioned over to her, “intend to do.”

    Now, my questions: Are these two examples grammatically correct? Is it acceptable for the beat be enclosed by commas without attaching an attribution to it, or does the attribution have to be there?

    Should one be written instead as:

    "Then come." She grabbed Ariana's wrist. "Let's see what the brothers have to offer us."

    And the other as:

    ". . . that's what I, and my daughter when her time comes--" he motioned over to her, "--intend to do."

    I can't seem to find any reliable sources which dispute the first part of the argument, and neither can I find anything which completely supports the others (without a shadow of doubt, i.e. 'this is the way to do it and no other way'), particularly the sentence with the em dashes (which doesn't seem correct at all to me).

    Any help on this matter would be appreciated. And if you've found a reliable source that supports your viewpoint, could you please either post it here in this thread or send me a private message?

    I'm eager to get this resolved in my mind.

    Thank you all,

    Devon :)
     
  2. Arktos
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    Arktos Member

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    Devon,

    When a dialogue is broken by an action, you use Action tags, which indicate the physical activity interrupting the speaker.

    i.e: "No, I won't kill you." Devon smiled. "If you're nice to me".

    When a speech is interrupted by an action of the speaker, or any other character, you use an em dash.

    i.e: "And speaking of evil"—Devon stepped aside an allowed Arktos to take a view of the corpse—"the corpse was found yesterday".

    Both of your examples are speech interrupted by an action.

    You can insert an em dash [in Word] by holding the Ctrl and Alt and pressing the minus key on the keyboard.

    Hope I helped,

    Arktos.
     
  3. Devon
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    Devon Member

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    Ooo . . .thank you Arktos. Can you tell me where you've gotten this information from just so I have a reference? And that first example you gave made me laugh. :p

    Also, knowing how to insert an em dash the easy way in Word is most helpful. I can manage it another way, but the way you've described sounds much easier.

    Someone tried to explain to me about the em dashes within dialogue, but he didn't explain it very well (hence my misuse of them in my examples).

    Thanks!

    Devon :)
     
  4. Arktos
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    Arktos Member

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    Yes Devon, see PM.

    Well, em dashes can be really tricky!
     

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