1. MrWrite
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    MrWrite Member

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    Quick question...

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by MrWrite, Oct 27, 2009.

    Okay, I have a question that I hope someone can answer for me. I am on the first chapter of my book and I was having a little trouble with the grammar.

    Basically, in the first chapter, part of it reads:

    The old lady has mentioned that her name is Mrs. Rigby in the last thing she said, then it goes on to say ... said the old lady after the closing quote. Should this be (said Mrs. Rigby) or shall I stay with the old lady.

    The old lady plays quite a big part in the story! Hope I've explained this well :S
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no, you shouldn't repeat her name... 'the old lady' is clear enough and even gives the reader some clue to her age...

    but your last sentence is a mess, with that ? stuck in the middle of it... and 'curiously asked herself' makes no sense...
     
  3. tonten
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    tonten Senior Member

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    Oooo I noticed a sentence in your sample that I normally have problems with.

    "May I ask where this house is exactly?" said Paige’s mother.

    Can we actually use said here or should the speech tag always be "asked, questioned, etc" when you have a question mark?
     
  4. dgraham
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    dgraham Senior Member

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    tonten, I dunno what others would say, but it reads OK to me...

    OP, I agree with maia, especially about the "curiously"... If you replace the question mark with a comma maybe it would read better. What are the standards on writing a characters self-query like that?

    Also, OP, just FYI, this isn't a grammar question, it's a style question. Where you put your commas and punctuation isn't really grammar (except for where it delineates the beginning/end of a sentence) it's just style. Also important, but different.
     
  5. LingGrad
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    LingGrad Member

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    The sentence itself is not a grammatical necessity and we should deal instead in clauses and particularly their subordination (etc.), at which point punctuation may well become more of a grammatical question than a stylistic one.
     
  6. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Old lady works. I have to admit, though, when I first read the what she was saying, I thought she meant the lady at the house was named Mrs. Rigby.

    You could always reverse it.

    Paige thought curiously, where else was such a wicked old lady going to go?

    But then curiously is renudant.
     
  7. MrWrite
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    MrWrite Member

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    Thanks everyone for all of your comments. Much appreciated. I have worked a bit on the lines now and they now read like:

    Any improvements?
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    tacking on 'curiously' is silly, since dialog's obviously a question, having a ? after it...

    makes much better sense to use 'asked' for the dialog tag of that question and separate it from the rest of her dialog, with 'a bit of business' as we say in the script-writing world...
     

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