1. babybubbles
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    babybubbles New Member

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    punctuation - dialogue

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by babybubbles, Jan 6, 2010.

    Hi

    Can anyone tell me what the rules are in the following examples? When do I use a comma, and do I use a period even if it's not a sentence?

    comma or no comma?
    "Right," he said(,) raising a brow
    "Really," she asked(,) her voice barely a whisper

    full stop/period?
    "Pretty cool(.)"
    He flinched and said, "No(.)"

    Many thanks,

    s.
     
  2. Destin
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    Destin Senior Member

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    Everything you have posted looks correct except the lack of periods at the ends of the comma sentences which I expect you omitted intentionally.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    "Right," he said, raising a brow.
    "Really?" she asked, her voice barely a whisper.
    "Pretty cool."
    He flinched and said, "No."

    He said, she said - Mechanics of Dialogue
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    cog is right on all counts, except for that missing period after 'brow'...
     
  5. Destin
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    Destin Senior Member

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    I'm fairly certain -

    "Really?" she asked, her voice barely a whisper.

    she should be She.

    - as well.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No, she asked is a tag on the preceding dialogue piece, not a new sentence. Therefore, it does not get capitalized.
     
  7. Destin
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    Destin Senior Member

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    Hm. Silly mistake on my part. So if it was a seperate sentence it would start with a capital. If it's a dialogue tag then it does not. Example:

    "Do you know where the cheese is?" he asked.

    "Do you know where the cheese is?" The glow of the refrigerator washed over Cogito's face.

    Correct?
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Perzackly.
     
  9. babybubbles
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    babybubbles New Member

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    Thanks for your time!
    s.
     
  10. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, but be careful--because of the question mark, in a sentence like:
    "Do you know where the cheese is?" he asked.
    the check on Word corrects 'he' to 'He'.
    Same when you have exclamation marks. Stupid dumb machine.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The machine cannot parse the semantics.

    "Do you know where the cheese is?" he asked.
    "Do you know where the cheese is?" He fainted.

    Each sentence contains a quoted question followed by a pronoun and a verb. Without knowledge of the meaning of te sentence, all Word can do is make sure you take a look at the construct.

    "Do you know where the cheese is?" He asked for some wine, too.

    Same pronoun, same verb, but it's no longer a dialogue tag.

    Natural languages are what are known as contect-sensitive grammars. It's impossible to create a completely general parser. Many words take on different parts of speech wit different dictionary definitions, so you cannot parse the sentences without understanding the actual meaning. There is the classic:

    Time flies like an arrow. (flies is a verb, like is a preposition)
    Fruit flies like a banana. (flies is a noun, like is a verb)

    Don't expect Word, or any grammar analyzer, to know grammar better than you do. Expect it to point out some of the places that warrant a closer look, and recognize that it will miss some too.
     
  12. babybubbles
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    babybubbles New Member

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    Thank you!

    I understand why there’s a comma in both these cases, and from this (addition not necessary for sentence + separation of two full sentences) I gather that there should be commas in the following:

    …he said, not too gently.
    …she said, but he had already left the room.
    …he said, before he had a chance to think.
    …he said, she owed it to herself

    And no commas in these sentences:

    …she said more to herself than to Matilda.
    …he said as he peeled her arms from his neck.
    …she said when she stood before him.
    …she said but resorted to letting it go.
    …he said with as much cool as he could muster
    …he said before thinking.
    …he said that I owe it to myself.

    Am I correct?

    Many thanks, s.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...he said, she owed it to herself[/QUOTE]

    comma there makes no sense

    …he said as he peeled her arms from his neck.
    …she said when she stood before him.
    …she said but resorted to letting it go.
    …he said with as much cool as he could muster
    …he said before thinking.

    needs a comma after 'said' for all of those...
     
  14. babybubbles
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    babybubbles New Member

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    I understand the first but have a few questions regarding the other corrections you made:

    …she said but resorted to letting it go.
    but resorted to letting it go. - this is not a complete sentence, why would one put a comma here?

    …he said with as much cool as he could muster - here I thought 'with' is like 'to' in 'he said to her', hence no comma. Can you explain why that is wrong?

    …he said before thinking. - same as last example

    Is there a site that you can recommend where comma rules are explained in full with examples? I really have to work on my punctuation.

    Many thanks, s.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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