1. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    little stuff I don't know...

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by jwatson, Aug 2, 2009.

    Okay, there are a few things I've never learned, and the first one is:
    The difference between ' ' and " "
    I use the ' ' but which one is the right one to use?
    If you are quoting something in something, like : ' He is a fanatic and hopes to have all men and women dead, and to rebuild, what he calls, ‘a new world’.’ ( is that done correctly? )

    Next, I know there's been a thread on this before, but when someone thinks, I know Cog said that it's not a rule to make it in italics, but I've seen it done and I am wondering whether it will be accepted. if not, do I put it in quotations if he is thinking? And weirdly enough, if someone else can hear his thoughts, would I put it quotations?

    Next:

    'Why now?' James asked. ( is there a difference between 'asked James' and ' James asked' ? )

    And one more thing:
    I'm writing in the past tense but I come across something like : He had been stalking the man for months, and now, the time was finally here.' ( the 'here' throws me off because I'm writing in past tense, so would it be, ' the time was finally there' :p I already think I know that ' here' is definitely correct, but I need to clear this up. )
    p.s the last thing was a horrible example but it's just that sometimes a word in its present tense confuses me because I'm writing in past tense. Thanks for bearing with me :)

    EDIT: i forgot one more thing, sorry. I've noticed that sometimes a character will ask a question, but the writer still will write, 'Why now?' said James. ( instead of asked James) is there some kind of rule regarding that or is it just 'said James' if it's like, for example, a rhetorical question?
    Thanks again
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The questions about quote marks and about unspoken dialogue are covered in He said, she said - Mechanics of Dialogue.
    The question about different verb tenses in a particular narrative voice is covered in What's Your Point (of View)?.

    There is no real difference between asked James and James asked, and either may appear either before or after the dialogue fragment. One may simply work best for the overall flow.

    As for your final question, said can nearly always be used for the verb in a dialogue tag, even for a question. But sometimes asked is just a better choice
     
  3. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    thank you once again
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the difference between '' and "":

    in the us, " " are used for all quotes and spoken dialog... and for words that are used out of context...

    ' ' are used ONLY for a quote within a quote...

    in uk usage, that's reversed...
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    However, th UK is increasingly moving to the US standard of " as the outermost quote mark and ' for embedded quotes.
     
  6. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    You don't have to put thoughts in italics. Some would say it is best not to do tha tin your manuscript. The publisher will decide if thoughts should be in italics.

    You don't write, "the time was finally there."

    The time is finally here would be present tense.

    You could write, "The time finally arrived.

    and now, it was time.
     

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