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  1. John Carlo

    John Carlo Active Member

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    Cutting off dialogue

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by John Carlo, Dec 15, 2014.

    Okay, so here is my question. I'm cutting off at mid-sentence in dialogue. Here is what I have so far:

    "No. In fact..." Solomon took a deep breath to stall for time.

    Should I be using the em dash after "In fact" instead of ...? I chose ... to signify the character pausing for a moment (i.e. taking the deep breath to stall for time). Any hard rules here?
     
  2. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    An em dash is used.

    "No. In fact—" Solomon ...

    dash-
    em dash—

    There's also an en dash but I forgot the keyboard command at the moment. The names come from the width of the dash.

    An em dash means the dialogue was interrupted. That differs from trailing off or an incomplete quote, sentence or thought.
     
    BayView likes this.
  3. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree that if there was an interruption, it would be an m-dash. I'd only add that in the example given, I'm not sure Solomon WAS interrupted. If he faded off rather than stopping abruptly, then the ellipses would be appropriate. It depends on the effect you're going for.
     
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  4. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I agree, it does depend on what you are conveying.
     
  5. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Solomon has paused voluntarily, rather than being interrupted. Seems like a case for ellipses.
     
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  6. John Carlo

    John Carlo Active Member

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    Thank you, kind people. I employ the em dash frequently, but wasn't sure about this sentence. There was no interruption. Solomon stopped himself because he did not want to say what he needed to say. He was procrastinating.
     

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