1. Francis de Aguilar
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    Francis de Aguilar Active Member

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    Interrupted dialogue.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Francis de Aguilar, Aug 14, 2016.

    I have recently started to use this form when interrupting dialogue with an action;

    "I would love to come with you but"--she stubbed out her cigarette violently--"I have to damn well work don't I"

    Rather than;

    "I would love to come with you but," she stubbed out her cigarette violently, "I have to damn well work don't I"

    or;

    "I would love to come with you," she said, stubbing out her cigarette violently, " but I have to damn well work don't I"

    I'm unsure which is correct.
     
  2. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I use the first but I think both are correct, besides the lack of closing punctuation.
     
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  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think I've seen all three. Maybe with the em-dash inside the quotation marks, though?
     
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  4. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Pretty sure outside is correct.

    YOU TOTALLY WRONG AMATEUR.
     
  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Huh, that's interesting. Possibly a regional difference?

    But I put the dashes inside in my many, many professionally published works, and my adoring editors don't complain or dare to suggest alteration. Possibly when one is an artist rather than a hack, one is given more leeway?
     
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  6. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Possibly.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    LOL! @Tenderiser and @BayView, you two are a hoot and a half. :)
     
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  8. Francis de Aguilar
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    Francis de Aguilar Active Member

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    oops
     
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  9. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think I've ever seen -- used in this way. In fact I don't think I've seen -- ever. It's always been a single dash whenever I seen it.

    I would use the third, as I think the -- make the sentence look incredibly fussy and ugly.
     
  10. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I suspect the OP was going for '—' rather than '--' and when '--' is typed into just about any word processor, it'll be translated to '—' by auto-correct.

    These forum editors, however, don't do that. To get an em-dash, you need to hold down the Alt key and type 0151 on the keypad.
     
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  11. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ahhh!

    Anyway, I'd still go with the third option.
     
  12. Francis de Aguilar
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    Francis de Aguilar Active Member

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    Got it in one.
     
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  13. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I get it (on the Mac) with shift-option-hyphen. Use it all the time, and saves having to type 0151 on the keypad.

    Comes out fine on the forum—
     
  14. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know alt 0149 gives you a •

    Handy when you don't like the formatting normal bullet points give you. Not that you'd have much use for bullet points when writing fiction.
     
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  15. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    So does alt-8. Like so •

    At least it does on my Mac. Try it, though....
     
  16. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Alt 8 = ◘
     
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  17. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    My new book is entirely in bullet points. I don't need rules; I'm a true artiste.
     
  18. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, my comment was going to be to put them inside as well. But in the UK, isn't punctuation put outside that is often within the quotation marks in the U.S.?
     
  19. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. And if you're submitting a manuscript in standard manuscript format you traditionally show an emdash as --
     
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  20. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    What in heck is that? A little black square with a white dot? Any idea what that might be for? o_O
     
  21. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    There's always the danger that it might hyphenate if it comes at the end of the line, isn't there? Unless that can't happen for some reason? Will a computer always recognise -- as a single mark rather than two hyphens? Would make sense if it did. Dunno, though.
     
  22. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nope :unsure:
     
  23. Dr. Mambo
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    Dr. Mambo Active Member

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    Yes, but I think UK English still uses punctuation on the inside of the quotations when it comes to dialogue. Someone please viciously ridicule me if I'm wrong.

    Also, it's worth pointing out that something like 96% of Americans now put their punctuation outside of the quotations anyway. Just because everyone does it that way doesn't make it correct, but given how proliferated it is I wouldn't be surprised if American English makes an official change one day.

    When I student taught, my Ancient World History honors students (God bless them) told me one of their English teachers was instructing them to put punctuation outside the quotations, which caused my grammar OCD to nearly short-circuit my brain.
     
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  24. sahlmi
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    sahlmi Active Member

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    ...but in the case of the first version--the m dashes--Francis (and Tenderizer) are 100% correct (US). I've no clue about the UK.
     
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  25. Dr. Mambo
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    Dr. Mambo Active Member

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    Yes indeed. I've learned something new today.

    I did some of my own research on the Google and found a valuable blog post about punctuation in dialogue. It's written by a fiction editor.

    My confusion on this particular rule stemmed from the fact that the em-dashes go inside the quotations for a dialogue interruption or an abrupt end to the dialogue. I just assumed they also go inside for a narrator interruption, but that's not correct.

    Examples from the aforementioned blog post:

    Abrupt end:
    “He loved y—“

    Dialogue interruption:
    “He loved you—”
    “As if I could believe that.”
    “—for such a long, long time.”

    Narrator interruption:
    “He loved you”—at least she thought he had—“but you never cared.”
     

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