1. Fonzaki
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    Fonzaki New Member

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    For sound words do i put quotation marks or not?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Fonzaki, Sep 24, 2011.

    I'm writing a story for school but i'm stuck at this. For sound words do you put quotation marks around them or not? Sorry if it sounds dumb but i don't remember! >.<" Like for example.... ''Ring, Ring!'' Immediately and unexpectedly, an alarm went off.
    TYVM!:love:

    -Fonzki
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that you definitely don't _need_ the quotes. In your example, you seem to be anthropomorphizing the alarm clock and giving it a line to "speak". If that's the plan, then I don't see anything technically incorrect about it. However, if you were just using the word in a sentence, as in:

    The alarm clock went off with an earsplitting ring.

    then you definitely wouldn't need quotation marks.

    Or, if I imagine a semi-scarey story:

    Tap. Tap. Tap. The sound seemed to travel across the ceiling, too precise and rhythmic to be a squirrel in the attic.

    then, again, I'd say that no quotation marks are needed.

    ChickenFreak
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry to disagree, cf, but you definitely do, if the sound is written as it's heard... a sound that's heard is the same as whatever is said and heard... why should there be any difference?

    some children's picture books may have the sounds shown in all-caps and without " "... but that's more a publisher's styling preference than following any grammatical rule...
     
  4. Raki
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    Raki Contributing Member

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    I've always thought the current convention was to use italics for such sounds, but I've been unable to find a source for the rule either way. It seems there's a difference in a few published works. Personally, I think it depends on how the sound is presented. If it's from something that has been anthropomorphized by the author, as CF mentioned (shown in the second example below), then it probably needs quotation marks. If not, I think italics will do as the first example shows.

    The Forever War by Joe Haldeman:
    "Then the trauma maintenance turned on snick, more pain, then no pain and I was rolling free, short stump of a leg trailing blood that froze shiny black on the dull black rock."

    The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King:
    "Its long serrated beak dropped open and it began to make a noise that was weirdly like human speech: plaintive, even desperate questions in an alien tongue. "Did-a-chick? Dum-a-chum? Dad-a-cham? Ded-a-check?"
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the reason for the italics in the king quote is apparently due to the 'dialog' being compared to a foreign language, as it is thought of as words, not sound effects... and foreign words are properly shown in italics...
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just to clarify, we're in agreement that the quotes are not needed in the below, yes?

    The alarm clock went off with an earsplitting ring.

    I think that you're instead talking about my "Tap. Tap. Tap." example?

    Now I'm curious about your view of quotes, versus mine. To me, quotes aren't about hearing, they're about re-communicating what a usually-sentient being communicated. So I'd use quotes to quote spoken words, written words, a transcription of sign language, and so on. And in the original poster's example, if the alarm is being depicted as "saying" the ring, if it's being anthropomorphized, then I'd use quotes. But I wouldn't use them for mere noises.

    But I don't know if I'm right.

    ChickenFreak
     
  7. Raki
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    Raki Contributing Member

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    Yes, I agree that's why his quote contained italics. But I was pointing out that the sounds from his examples were in quotations, while the sound from Haldeman's example was just italicized. King's wasn't the best example, but I was a little pressed for time in finding a couple variations. Haldeman's quote would look a little odd with a "snick" in the middle of it. King's example I thought fit the bill as far as anthropomorphizing the lobstrosities and thus turning their 'sounds' into dialogue, which would require quotations.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the haldeman quote example is confusing, as the word 'snick' doesn't seem to be a sound in that sentence... it reads only as if something called a 'snick' was turned on... to make it clear that it's a sound, it needs to be enclosed in em dashes and probably have a ! after it...

    '...turned on--snick!--more pain, then...'
     

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