1. tonten
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    tonten Senior Member

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    Showing emphasis on a particular word in dialogue?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by tonten, Jan 11, 2010.

    I apologize first if I shouldn't have started this in another thread, but I thought this could be a completely topic.

    With the mention of singular quotations in another thread I just made, I was wondering, is it possible to use singular quotes to emphasis a word in the middle of a speech or dialogue.

    Example:

    "So how has 'president' been treating you?"

    I know it's gramatically incorrect to write that, but I can imagine someone talking like that. Can I use singular quotations to emphasis the word president or will it stand on its on without the quotes.

    Or is there a better way of doing it?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Emphasizing a word that would ordinarily not receive emphasis in a sentence is one of the proper uses of italics. This rule is not specific to dialogue, but more often than not takes place in a dialogue context.

    "What are you doing here?" Adrian asked.
     
  3. tonten
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    tonten Senior Member

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    So in my above example/sentence, I want to confirm italics would be way to do it?

    I'm just weary because I am trying to learn and correct my writing so it adheres to the standards of what you would see in a published novel.

    You've been a great help me with your answers over the months since I've joined this board. Thank-you Cogito!
     
  4. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Definitely italicize it.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Your example isn't clear enough to answer. There are cases where you would enclose something like that in quotes, too. Pretty much the places where a speaker would use "air quotes", just like I did in this sentence.

    That's right. I said, "Pretty much the places where a speaker would use 'air quotes'." That shows you how to use an embedded quote.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, the only proper use of single quotes is within a quote...
     
  7. Ecksvie
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    Ecksvie Member

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    Unless you're writing in British English ;)
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    true!... but even there, using the american rule is becoming more and more common...
     
  9. Delphinus
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    Delphinus Senior Member

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    Italics. In that case, it doesn't matter whether you use quote tags or italics.
     
  10. Ecksvie
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    Ecksvie Member

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    True, both methods are acceptable. It just drives me mad as a Brit when I have Americans review my work, and the first thing they say is that my quote marks are all wrong because they just have no idea.
     
  11. Delphinus
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    Delphinus Senior Member

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    Stylistic differences are annoying, yeah. Like the Oxford Comma, the much-maligned Oxford Comma, the comma I cling onto despite cries to the contrary by overzealous teachers, and the comma that gives the end of a list the suitable flourish - in my opinion.
     
  12. zaffy
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    zaffy Contributing Member

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    The reason why I do not use the Oxford comma is this ...
    Example,
    The cat and the dog and the donkey and the bird.
    Commas replace the 'and'.
    The cat, the dog, the donkey and the bird.
    The last and is left in, so why put a comma there too?
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Because it leaves an ambiguity - Are the donkey and the bird separate items in the list, or are they a compound item? In this particular instance, we can be pretty sure tey are separate items, but how about:

    Jaws, Oddjob, May Day, Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wynt: These are some of the more memorable assassins faced by James Bond over the years.

    Are Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wynt considered separate assassins, or a pair acting as one?
     

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