1. MsScribble
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    MsScribble Member

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    Quick question re new pararaphs.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by MsScribble, Jul 26, 2013.

    For some reason, I find paragraphing difficult. Should I begin a new paragraph every time someone says something? I often let speech run within the sentence. Example:

    She stood, the interview clearly over. 'Now I'm going to have Mrs Lawson call you a taxi. The least I can do after calling you out on such a cold afternoon and interviewing you in damp clothes is to get you home quickly.'

    I will also put a question from person A and the answer from person B within the same sentence. Not often, only when its seems natural to. Is that a mistake?

    Also, telly is on. JR just told and unconscious/in hospital Bobby that he loved him. (He also said something like; 'I don't know who I am without you,' which I thought was a good line.) Isn't JR the bad guy? Or is he a bad guy with layers? I don't watch the show and only know he's the bad guy from the pilot last year.

    Cheers :)
     
  2. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    When a new person is speaking, there must be a new line/paragraph. Action carried out by the speaker can be in the same paragraph as the speech if it's related, or a new line, depending on what you're writing. Action carried out by someone other than the speaker should not be in the same paragraph as the speech.

    Here's a brief example:

    Mary asked, "How was work today?" She poured him a cup of coffee.
    "All right," he said with a sigh, dropping himself onto the couch. He took the steaming cup from Mary. "Cheers."
    ("Cheers" is in the same paragraph but thanks to the layout of the post, it looks like a new line. Ignore that!)

    ----

    Mary asked, "How was work today?"
    He poured himself a cup of coffee. "All right," he said with a sigh.
    "What's up?"
    "Ah, nothing."
     
  3. Steve Day
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    Steve Day Senior Member

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    Yes, new pp for each new speaker.

    Here is an example with three people talking. (each indent is a new pp)


    He smelled something burning and followed his nose to a wall tent with its flys raised and H. Squaretoe Sutler Co. Manassas VA on a sign. Two young women, one slim, the other not, both wearing long dresses, were fooling with a smoky fire. “Fan it with your skirts,” one said.
    “You fan it. I told you that wood was wet.”
    “Leave it for Bob to deal with. Nobody’s gonna eat that stuff until the hardcore people show up. They’ll eat anything.”
    “Fer shur. I wouldn’t doubt they’d pay extra for worm castles.”
    Mick wondered if Bob Barkley was H. Squaretoe.
    “One and the same”, the slim girl said. She checked out his uniform. “You know him?”
    “Met him not an hour ago. At the Depot. I’m what they call a foreign exchange student. From Georgia.”
    “We’re what they call camp followers.”
    “From Baker Springs.”
    “But we’re not fallen women.”
    “She’s Alice with an I, and I’m Alyce with a Y.”
    “I’m Mick, with a K.”
    “We don’t put out.”
    “Much.”
    “Not that a nice dinner and a concert couldn’t end up in some bone jumping.”
    “But it has to be more than a Big Mac and Netflix.”
    “Tickets to Lady Gaga in Harrisburg, I’d definitely put out.”
    “With her?”
    “Fer sure.”
    “But that don’t make us hookers.”

    Mick is introduced into the conversation, but not with a direct quote; that would slow down the flow and add extra words.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    Sometimes constant paragraph breaks can slow the narrative, and you can have a dialog without the quotation marks and the breaks.

    Bob said he was pretty sure they weren't going to show up, and Mary told him that was okay with her, they were his friends, not hers. Bob then started taking off his clothes, saying that they were only friends, and you're more than that. Mary laughed, but didn't stop him.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    steve...
    i'm curious... as an editor of very long standing, i've always known 'pp' to stand for 'pages' vs 'p' for a single page...

    so, when did it start standing for 'paragraph' [which makes no sense to me, since the word has only on 'p' in it]?

    and if it really does, can you please cite an authoritative source for it, so i can update my mental data bank?
     
  5. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    The only symbol on my keyboard which I THINK is the abbreviation for 'paragraph' is the one that looks like this: ¶

    I believe it's a proofreader's mark, and not really an abbreviation.

    I don't think there is actually an abbreviation for the word 'paragraph'. I looked in Webster's and couldn't find one. Why would there be? There isn't an abbreviation for 'sentence' or 'phrase' is there? However, I would welcome being corrected on this. It's an interesting idea.
     
  6. Steve Day
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    Steve Day Senior Member

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    jannert's correct: it is a "backward P", and usually deployed with a red/blue pencil. And my keyboard doesn't have one either/ or I don't know where it is. I also don't know where I picked up the 'pp'- but I've used it since the '60's.
     
  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Mine is hidden. I get it by pressing the alt key (option key if you've got a Mac) and the number 7 key at the same time. Lots of useful symbols are hidden, and can be accessed using the alt key and a number, instead of the shift key and a number.
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Hooray, thanks Jannert. Alt 7 does it on my keyboard as well. But I'm really thanking you because I never knew what that symbol meant when I 'reveal codes' on Word. I just ignored it. :p
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    then i suggest you give up the practice, since no pro in the writing/publishing biz is gonna know what the heck you mean...

    and yes, the backward 'p' with a double 'stem' is a proofreading/editing mark... it's what i've used since the '50s, when marking up a ms, which is why i had to question the 'pp'...
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    That's the problem with off-the-cuff abbreviations. At best, the reader can guess what the person who used them meant. At worst, the abbreviation already means something else that confuses the issue.

    Writing is communication. Made up words and abbreviations are not. Unfortunately, not everyone realizes this. So we have an incomprehensible cloud of business acronyms permeating business writing, and an even thicker swarm of lazy shorthand in text messages and f5orum posts.

    Everyone in a place like this understands the word "paragraph" -- at least to some degree.

    Say what you mean. Communicate.

    Be a writer.
     

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