1. Feign
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    Feign Member

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    Commas and periods in dialogue

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Feign, May 13, 2010.

    I'm not sure if this is an error on my part, or just something that differs by countries, or perhaps it is both all accepted, but if anyone knows and is able to clarify that would be great! :)

    I realize, for a sentence to be, well a sentence, there has to be a verb, so I've always found the following dialogue to be right:

    "Phil, you shouldn't eat that." Replied Anna.

    However, I have been told it is more correct to say:

    "Phil, you shouldn't eat that," replied Anna.

    This gets especially confusing when the non-dialogue text is introduced in the middle:

    "Phil," replied Anna, "you shouldn't eat that."

    As opposed to what I thought as being correct as:

    "Phil." Replied Anna. "You shouldn't eat that."

    I suppose I'm more looking for the proper form, of the latter. And while Cogito's blog was useful, I'm not sure that it entirely answered my question.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This may help: He said, she said - Mechanics of Dialogue

    What you are calling non-dialogue is called a tag, and it is part of the sentence containing the dialogue fragment(s).

    Your first and last examples are incorrect. The rest are correct.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    not more correct, as the first example is totally incorrect and unacceptable, as a dialog tag... in addition, 'replied' doesn't work well there, since the line does not seem to be worded as a reply to a question... and it doesn't differ, no matter what country you're in, as long as english is being used...

    i don't know what would be confusing about that, since it's the correct way to write that and it reads well enough...

    As opposed to what I thought as being correct as:

    that form is not correct... the only proper form would be:
    or, if not a question:
    "Phil!" Anna shouted, grabbing the banana from him. "You shouldn't eat that...it could be poisoned."

    hope that helps resolve your confusion... you clearly need to study how to write dialog... the best/easiest way is to just see read good fiction, to see how the best writers do it...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  4. Feign
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    Feign Member

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    Thanks you two. :)

    Yeah it was a sentence I thought of, off the top of my head. It was confusing only because it required additional punctuation. Haha

    Needless to say, I bet you guys reiterate that a lot, that is, to read!
     

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