1. mrieder79
    Offline

    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    Messages:
    401
    Likes Received:
    283
    Location:
    Uyumbe

    How do I punctuate a look that conveys a phrase?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by mrieder79, Apr 6, 2016.

    This first one seems pretty straightforward. I think I have it right:

    She gave him a look that said, "In your dreams, wierdo."

    But this one I am less certain of:

    Jackie gave Fran a "You've got to be kidding me" look.
     
  2. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,605
    Likes Received:
    5,879
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    I think I'd use single quotes or dashes in the second one:

    Jackie gave Fran a you've-got-to-be-kidding-me look.
    Jackie gave Fran a 'you've got to be kidding me' look.​

    You're using it as an adjectival clause, not really as spoken word.

    In the first one it's OK as is because it is mimicked speech, not an adjective:

    She gave him a look that said, "In your dreams, wierdo."

    **Warning, I have no real expertise in grammar. :p
     
    Oscar Leigh and Wayjor Frippery like this.
  3. Callista Reina
    Offline

    Callista Reina Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2016
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    22
    I am not positive, but I feel like italicizing "you've got to be kidding me" would work. Since they aren't actually spoken words, I am not sure if quotations are appropriate, but authors use italics a lot to convey characters thoughts or other unspoken sentiments fairly often. Maybe checking out a grammar site, like Purdue Owl, might be helpful.
     
  4. IHaveNoName
    Offline

    IHaveNoName Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2016
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    161
    Yeah, I'd second this.

    Jackie gave Fran a you've got to be kidding me look.

    Of course, in this case I'd probably just say "Jackie gave Fran a disbelieving look."
     
  5. KokoN
    Offline

    KokoN Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2016
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    250
    I think technically there should be dashes in between them, because "You've got to be kidding" is an adjective in your sentence (in that it describes a noun, the look he gave). However, when I'm writing I usually just punctuate with whatever I think looks, feels, and sounds the best to me. That's where creative license comes in. :)
     
  6. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,605
    Likes Received:
    5,879
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    No, if you italicize the words they will look like unspoken thoughts in which case the whole sentence would need to be italicized if the narrator were thinking aloud. But it's narration not thoughts.

    You italicize names, something you want to emphasize, stuff like that, and some of us italicize inner monologue (thoughts). You don't want to use italics all willy nilly. It's bad enough people argue over italicizing thoughts.

    There's a reason to be consistent with grammar, it's so the reader knows how to read the passage.
     
  7. LostThePlot
    Offline

    LostThePlot Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2015
    Messages:
    431
    Likes Received:
    343
    For what it's worth I believe that the super-run-on-hyphen style is correct. I don't like it either, I don't think it looks good but that's what you're supposed to use. And as Ginger says, it really doesn't matter what we like or think it should be it's more important to be consistent with grammar.
     
  8. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Naturally, I'd personally use a colon.

    She gave him a look that said: in your dreams, weirdo!
     
    GingerCoffee and Oscar Leigh like this.
  9. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,605
    Likes Received:
    5,879
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    The colon works as well. And so would single quotes in the first sentence, the more I think about it.

    She gave him a look that said, 'In your dreams, wierdo.'

    By the way it's weirdo, not wierdo. I missed that in the first go round. :)
     
  10. A man called Valance
    Offline

    A man called Valance Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    338
    Location:
    Here and there, mostly there.
    All these suggestions look fine to me, mrieder79. Course you could always wriggle round it by saying Jackie gave Fran an incredulous look.
     

Share This Page