1. asset
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    asset New Member

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    introducing direct speech - colon use?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by asset, Oct 17, 2010.

    I'm struggling to find a definitive answer to this one. I want to write an introductory sentence/clause introducing the general theme of a quote, followed by the quote itself, but unsure what punctuation to put before the direct speech.

    Is a colon right? For example -

    Travelling alone can be rewarding, as Lucy explains: "I loved meeting new people and seeing new places."

    Or should it be:

    Travelling alone can be rewarding, as Lucy explains. "I loved meeting new people and seeing new places."

    Or:
    Travelling alone can be rewarding, as Lucy explains. "I loved meeting new people and seeing new places," she said.

    Trying to avoid having to add 'she said' if possible. Does anyone advice on which of the first two options (ie colon or full stop) is preferable?

    Thanks in advance for your help with this
     
  2. KenV54
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    KenV54 New Member

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    I agree completely about avoiding the "she said."

    Otherwise, there is probably no definitive answer. It is more of a stylistic question than one of correct grammar.

    I'm in favor of using the colon because it's both economical and crystal clear.
     
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I dislike the colon. Another possibility could be:

    Travelling alone can be rewarding. Lucy explains, "I loved meeting new people and seeing new places."
     
  4. KenV54
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    KenV54 New Member

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    Duplicate post unintended
     
  5. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    A personal choice, as Ken and CF have indicated. There's maybe a bigger issue here though: you raise the expectation that the rewards of solitary travel will be exposed and then kind of let us down. You cannot change the quotation, perhaps, but you can certainly adapt the introductory element so the reader doesn't feel heart shattering disappointment.
     
  6. asset
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    asset New Member

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    Thanks all. Yes, it was a poor example as you say! It was a general query and I thought up the example quickly (and aware of its limitations)

    CF - why do you dislike the colon?
     
  7. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Or, as journalists often do--
    Travelling alone can be rewarding. As Lucy explains, "I loved meeting new people and seeing new places."

    Colons are falling out of fashion, that's all.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ken and mad have shown how to solve this dilemma... either way works better than what you had...
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Colons are only falling out of fashion because kids aren't taught to use them properly, which means that few adults know how to use them, so they don't, so nobody sees them in day-to-day reading, so nobody learns to use them ...

    It's one of those vicious circle things, and is part of our grand devolution back to the swamp.
     
  10. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's a flow thing, and it may be just me. To me, a colon breaks the flow of reading and thought. Sometimes that's a good thing, because you want the reader to mentally pause and prepare for what you're about to say, but in this case, breaking the flow seems unnecessary.

    So I'd be fine with something like

    John Smith made the definitive observation on the social impact of green widgets:

    followed by a block quote of something that at least somebody thinks is profound. But for a simple quote attribution, to me it's overkill. Plus, if it's used frequently, the piece would start to give me a screenplay feel.

    I should note that I'm a big fan of the semicolon, so I may have nonstandard preferences in punctuation. :)

    ChickenFreak
     
  11. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ken's suggestion was the original option 1. I agree that both that and mad's suggestion are fine.
     

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