1. nativesodlier
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    nativesodlier Member

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    Punctuation in dialouge

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by nativesodlier, Mar 14, 2012.

    Hey guys,

    So I know the basics but I have a few questions. I will put both the punctuations separated with "/" where i think it should go in the spot in question. and give a reason for my confusion. thanks for your help.

    I'll just start with an example.

    Ex: the bartender glanced at the man,/. "Couldn't handle it, took off."
    ~I know you put a "," when you begin with "he said" or the sort, but do you still do it when its just an action that doesn't lead into the dialogue?

    Ex: "'Daddy, daddy./,"' The mans voice took on a childlike shrill,/. "why do we have to leave?"
    ~same question, but this involves dialogue before and after. and its describing the dialogue but not a he said she said type thing. (this is also dialogue of someone else dialogue)

    I guess my main question is if its an action that follows how do you do it?

    oh and on a side note.
    Ex:his mouth forms the word, "poof".
    ~do i need that ,? or a period in the ""?

    Thank you for any tips and help
     
  2. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are a few ways to do this that I know of.

    "Daddy, Daddy." The man's voice took on a childlike shrill. "Why do we have to leave?"
    "Daddy, Daddy"--the man's voice took on a childlike shrill--"why do we have to leave?"
    "Daddy, Daddy," the man's voice took on a childlike shrill, "why do we have to leave?"

    I'm not sure what you mean by 'took on a childlike shrill'. 'Shrill' is not a noun, it's an adjective.

    To use 'poof', it would be something like:
    The man made a sound like 'poof'. (Sounds a bit risque, though!) But US English may be different for this, as I know punctuation is usually (always?) inside the inverted commas.
     
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    An action or "beat" preceding dialog takes a period. A dialog tag takes a comma:

    Beat: The bartender glanced at the man. "Couldn't handle it, took off."
    Tag: The bartender glanced at the man and said, "Couldn't handle it, took off."

    Beat:" Daddy, daddy." The man's voice took on a childlike note. "Why do we have to leave?"
    Tag: Daddy, daddy," said the man, his voice taking on a childlike note, "why do we have to leave?"
    Combination: Daddy, daddy," said the man, his voice taking on a childlike note. "Why do we have to leave?"

    ChickenFreak
     
  4. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    IMO, he's using 'Daddy' like a name, so it needs a capital letter.
     
  5. nativesodlier
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    nativesodlier Member

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    Thank you for the feedback. @madhoca: shrill can be used as a verb as well. Just verified with dictionary.
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    shrill can be used as a noun according to the OED, and uses 'the rising shrill of women's voices' as the example.
     
  7. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    True--but you are not using it as a verb here. You are trying to use it as a noun, which, though possible as Elgaisma says, is not a very common or contemporary style.
     
  8. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    It reads perfectly well to me as a noun in the original sentence.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Please read He said, she said - Mechanics of Dialogue.

    Your first example should be:

    The bartender glanced at the man. "Couldn't handle it, took off."

    The bolded part is a beat, not a dialogue tag. It is a separate sentence.

    Your second example:

    "'Daddy, Daddy."' The mans voice took on a childlike shrill. "Why do we have to leave?"

    Again, the bolded portion is a beat, and is a separate sentence from the surrounding dialogue elements.

    As for the phrasing, well that's outside the scope of the question. :)
     
  10. nativesodlier
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    nativesodlier Member

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    Ah, a helpful link. Thank you. And yes, for some reason I wrote verb instead of noun. Oops. Thanks guys!
     

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