1. FANTASCI
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    FANTASCI New Member

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    usage question

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by FANTASCI, Jan 30, 2013.

    What is the correct way to write this sentence?

    "Good luck, I'll message you on Facebook as soon as we find Colt's parents!" Lacy yelled out the window of the tour bus.

    Or does it have to be

    "Good luck, I'll message you on Facebook as soon as we find Colt's parents," Lacy yelled out the window of the tour bus.

    I was just wondering if I use an exclamation point in the quotation marks is that the absolute end of that sentence?
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If you use the exclamation point, it goes inside the quotation marks. It doesn't really end the sentence outside the quotation marks. BTW, there should be a period after "luck." "Good luck" is a sentence by itself, separate from the rest of the quote.

    I think an extended dialogue tag of the kind you use is a somewhat weak way to end this sentence. I'd probably rephrase this as:

    "Good luck!" Lacy yelled out the window of the tour bus. "I'll message you on Facebook as soon as we find Colt's parents!"
     
  3. pocketsoul1127
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    pocketsoul1127 New Member

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    I'd have to agree with minstrel on this one. Using an extended dialogue tag at the end of the sentence detracts from the urgency inherent in the words.

    As for the exclamation point going in or outside the quotation marks--it actually depends what country you're in. In American, the exclamation goes inside. If you're in the UK, it goes outside. Just a little tidbit of interesting information.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i agree about the ! being moved... but your dialog tag is poorly done... the 'yelled' part belongs before the dialog, if all that descriptive stuff remains...

    here are your viable options, imo:

    or
    note inclusion of the missing comma after 'Facebook'...
     
  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'd leave out the comma after Facebook, maia. It does nothing to clarify the meaning of the sentence, and it slows down a sentence that clearly, in the context provided, needs speed and urgency.
     
  6. cswillson
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    cswillson Member

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    If you use exclamations you don't have to be redundant and add 'yelled'. That's pretty much the use for exclamations, nowadays.

    Not knowing the lead-in to this scene, I have to assume the two conversants know one another, in which case the dialog would be much briefer, considering the bus seems to be moving away.

    Lucy waved from the window, "Good luck! I'll FaceBook you when we find his parents!"
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i agree the comma is optional... and can probably be done without there...

    but i disagree with leaving out 'yelled' since only the first two words should have the ! and the entire run of dialog is being yelled, not just those two words...

    and writing 'waved' before the dialog doesn't = a dialog tag, since one can't 'wave' words unless it's made clear she's signing instead of speaking...
     
  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think having both the exclamation and "yelled" works best. It's okay if it's redundant. On the other hand, it's funny-looking if written like the OP's second example. Finishing "Colt's parents" with a comma (as in the example) or a period leads me to think it's being said in a normal tone of voice, so when I get to the word "yelled" it's a bit startling and pulls me out of the story a little.
     
  9. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Be careful about "redundant". What is redundant in conveying the pure meaning may well not be redundant in involving the reader in the mood. All too often I see novice writing that is drab and lifeless because they have removed as "redundant" that which is really essential.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Know the difference between emphasis and dead horse abuse.
     
  11. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Definitely. That usually takes years of experience, though, not the rote application of supposed rules.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The "rote application of supposed rules" is the set of training wheels that help keep writers develop the skills they need before they are ready to shed those training wheels.

    No one needs to tell the experienced writers they can discard certain rules and guidelines. They've already figured it out. The guidelines are there for those who have yet to understand what is too much or not enough.

    No offense to those asking, but the fact that a question is raised indicates a desire for guidance. There are few here who are as adamant as I am about directing writers to rely on their own imagination and resources, but that doesn't mean tossing them to the wolves. Guidelines like "avoid redundancy" will serve them well unto the point they know when redundancy - deliberate redundancy - can be used for positive effect.
     
  13. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, really, they're not. Training wheels keep the learner upright. Some of these supposed rules keep the learner leaning so far over they're likely to scrape an ear on the ground. If a "rule" pushes in one direction only (unless the direction is "good") then it's nothing like training wheels at all.
    If it's "used for positive effect" then it's not redundant is it? That's the real trouble with the rule: it offers no actual guidance whatsoever. If you can recognise what's redundant and what isn't, you don't need the rule. If you can't recognise what's redundant and what isn't then the rule is of no help and will just push you to keep cutting stuff out, whether that's a good thing or not. It's a rule that starts out well, but doesn't know when to stop. It's probably responsible for some of the most insipid prose I've had the misfortune to read, but misleads the writer into thinking that that is the way they should be writing.
     
  14. Darkhorse
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    Darkhorse Member

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    What are the "rote applications of supposed rules"? Is this a term you coined, or do these rules actually exist? Cheers.
     
  15. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    I agree with you. Rules can't compete with instinct. A writer doesn't need to know what is right - he needs to know what feels right. This can only come about by a lifetime of reading, reading and reading.
    You can know every rule in the book and still not be able to convey thoughts, feelings, fear, love, etc. to your reader.
    Basic rules, maybe, are necessary. But rules in general, I feel, do become restrictive. A bit like making sure you don't exceed the speed limit - it gets to more important to watch the speedo than the road. Likewise in writing, keep your eye on the road - with just a glance at the rules every now and then, when necessary.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Where does instinct come from? Until you have some experience, instinct has no basis. Guidelines assist the inexperienced writer in acquiring the necessary experience.
     
  17. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    Guidelines don't mean rigid rules. Rigid rules make for rigid writing.

    Instinct does come from experience, but that experience won't be found by learning rules and sticking to them like glue. Language is fluid and when the rules are bent to accommodate it, it flows much more smoothly.
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Whether a rule is rigid is largely how it is expressed, and how it is perceived. That does not alter the validity or wisdom of the recommendation. And I disagree. A new writer DOES need guidelines. The choices are simply too numerous to manage for someone who is starting out cold. That's why most writers starting out look for forums such as this. They are looking for advice, guidance, recommendations.

    It's all well and good to protest that this rule or that isn't universal. It's invariably true. But it is no help whatsoever to the person who really has no idea what the consequences of each decision are.

    In many cases, it's nothing short of pedantic. Some people argue against recommendations merely to assert superior knowledge, and don't give a crap about whether they are actually helping someone. And no, I am not directing this at anyone specific at the moment.
     
  19. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, it most certainly does not! You are getting confused between punctuation for dialogue and punctuating quotations.
     
  20. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    I don't think there's any question that basic rules are important. But I think what we are talking about are the more advanced rules of grammar - many of which have so many exceptions that they become a hindrance rather than a help.

    The point I'm trying to make is that to concentrate too much on rigid rules can be restrictive to creative writing.

    When is a 'new' writer actually new? You wouldn't pick up a paintbrush at 35 and expect to create a saleable painting based on the fact that you used to colour well at school. Yet so many would-be writers pick up a pen and expect a novel to flow from its tip. If they have never had an interest in reading, which many admit to, or have never written anything other than a shopping list, all the rules in the world won't help.

    If you can't write a sentence that makes sense, if you can't get the phrasing right, if you can't engage the interest of the reader, if you can't see confusion where it occurs, you are never going to make a writer. These things not learned by learning the rules, they are a result of years of reading and writing.
     

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