1. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    Full stops before tags

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by DefinitelyMaybe, Sep 10, 2012.

    I've noticed that many people seem to use full stops before dialogue tags.

    E.g.

    "Master, I feel I'm ready to carry the stone of Tikitomor." He said.

    To me it seems more natural to write:

    "Master, I feel I'm ready to carry the stone of Tikitomor" he said.

    Is the former pattern actually a mistake? Or is it a valid grammatical choice?
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's actually a mistake. Also, yours needs a comma:

    "Master, I feel I'm ready to carry the stone of Tikitomor," he said.

    If you had used a beat instead of a tag, then the punctuation in the first example would be right:

    "Master, I feel I'm ready to carry the stone of Tikitomor." He paused a moment after this announcement, then turned to the door.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Where have you noticed it? In books? On this forum?

    Using a comma, as CF indicated, is the correct way.
     
  4. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks third and chicken.

    I've seen it several times in fiction posted here in the Writer's Workshop.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Make sure they are actually tags, and not beats. A beat IS a separate sentence, so the preceding sentence ends with a full stop.

    This beat serves much the same purpose as a dialogue tag, but it conveys an action other than just speaking. Please read He said, she said - Mechanics of Dialogue.
     
  6. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    They were tags, often being "xxxxxxx. He said." or "xxxxxxxx. She said."

    I read a post you made in another thread on beats, and I found it very interesting and useful. I believe I have read all of your writing technique blog articles. I'm eager to try using more beats in dialogue when I next write.

    Edit: Having said that, this excerpt form "he said, she said" effectively says that full stops before tags are wrong.

    But I'd seen so many full stops before commas that I wasn't confident that I'd taken everything in correctly.

    And I'd probably better read all of your blog posts again, because it seems I'm not taking everything in first time :)
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that's a bit garbled, but i'll assume you meant 'instead of' where you wrote 'before'... or 'dialog tags' instead of 'commas'...

    keep in mind that those posts are by beginning writers, or just plain poor ones...if they were pros, they wouldn't be posting their work here, would they?

    sad to say, too many aspiring authors i've seen on writing sites and coming to me for private help are astoundingly deficient in even the most basic essentials of grammar and good writing...
     

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