1. skip slocum
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    skip slocum Member

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    "Help", he asked

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by skip slocum, Jul 18, 2008.

    I hope I'm in the correct folder to ask this question (still a little confused).

    In writing if there is a conversation between two characters after one is quoted making a statment I am seeing a comma followed by 'he said' or 'he asked'

    if it is clear who is asking the question does proper punctuation demand that it be followed by, he said.

    "Or is that a matter of writer preference and not proper written grammer", he said.
     
  2. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Skip Slocum,

    If the context of the conversation shows who is speaking, it is not necessary to include a dialogue tag, such as 'he said'.

    Character action, character voice, alternating discussion and context, use of closing quotes (or not) from paragraph to paragraph, are some of the clues the reader uses to determine who is speaking.

    Take a look at the novels on your shelf and see how those authors wrote dialogue.

    Also, here is an article on dialogue I wrote sometime back: Dialogue Basics.
    It covers issues such as proper punctuation with dialogue as well as the question/concern you posed with respect to the need for dialogue tags.

    The goal as an author is to intrude in the flow of the dialogue as little as possible, while helping to insure the reader can follow who is doing the speaking without having to stop and think, or go back and try to figure it out.

    Terry
     
  3. skip slocum
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    skip slocum Member

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    Excellent, thank you for the links as well, he said (I couldn't stop myself)
     
  4. skip slocum
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    skip slocum Member

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    I stopped reading that link page long enough to come back and say thats what I needed.
    If you other teachers have a link for teaching things I need please add them to this thread so I can start at square one.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I also have a blog entry on this site that some people have found useful: He said, she said - Mechanics of Dialogue.

    By the way, the thread topic should therefore be:
    (note the new location of the comma :))
     
  6. skip slocum
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    skip slocum Member

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    LOL, yes you're right,,
    I've been reading pages on the first link and my head feels like a water balloon at its limits.
    I need to learn how to navagate on a computer. Blogs are new to me as well but yes I will check it out.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...yes, you are... here's my own take on your questions...

    ...that's not a punctuation issue, but a wording one, in re what is called the 'attribution' or, more casually, the 'dialog tag'... if it's clear who's doing the speaking, none is needed... and 'he said' is not the only wording you can use for a tag... if it's a question, a more appropriate one might be 'he asked' or 'he inquired' or any number of other wordings, depending on the context...

    it's not a grammar rule, more a writing style 'standard'... and yes, it's left up to the preference of the writer... btw, that question needs a correction... should have a question mark, not a comma, since it's a question... and you could more aptly have added, 'he asked.' ;)

    love and hugs, maia
     
  8. skip slocum
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    skip slocum Member

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    I spent the day reading and found out about 'Tags' only today.
    As you can see my speeling is extremely bad and quick messages on the computer had added to bad habits.
    I feel like a school boy again, only this time I plan on listening.
    It has never been a problem because holding a wrench doesn't require proper diction or good grammar.;)
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    what you really need to plan on doing first and foremost and non-stop, is READING!... to learn to write well, one must read well--and constantly--the best works of the best writers in the genre you want to dabble in... if you'd studied those, you probably would not have had to ask that question... do it, and you'll learn all you need to know about how to write... if you have grammar or punctuation problems, get yourself a strunk & white [the writer's bible] and good punctuation guide... and add the following sites to your favorites...

    http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Writing/index.html

    http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_overvw.html

    http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/grammar/tenses.html
     
  10. skip slocum
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    skip slocum Member

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    wow I have welts
    Thank you momma
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that was lovingly-provided advice, not lashes, skip!... i'm an anti-violence activist and never dish out corporal punishment, even when deserved... ;-)
     
  12. skip slocum
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    skip slocum Member

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    Smiling, his fingers twitched just above the keyboard of his computer but failed to peck the first words that pressed them. His refrain settled on one word to let her know he felt nothing but warmth for her instruction, "Wink."
    but the smile lasted a while even after he clicked on, 'Post Quick Reply.'
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I believe those weren't whip welts, but rather the sting of antiseptic on exposed wounds. ;)
     
  14. skip slocum
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    skip slocum Member

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    Yupper
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    which seemed to have brought on a pain-induced spate of semi-conscious, incoherent ramblings... :confused:

    [oh dear!... have i just raised more welts? :eek:]
     
  16. skip slocum
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  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry to say, the first one i passed up because it needed too much of it... and i never saw the second, because i don't do romance, since it's usually written so badly... sadly, a quick scan showed yours to fit the 'usual' classification...

    howsomever... if you can handle the heat, i'll more than happy to dish out a 7-course meal of my 'toughest love' to you on both pieces, if you send them to me 'at home' so i can do it more easily than possible here... plus, it will save you a red face :redface: when faced with the amount of red i'll have to add if not done publicly...

    tough love and gentle hugs, m
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     

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