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  1. mrieder79

    mrieder79 Probably not a ground squirrel

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    How do I punctuate a look that conveys a phrase?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by mrieder79, Apr 6, 2016.

    This first one seems pretty straightforward. I think I have it right:

    She gave him a look that said, "In your dreams, wierdo."

    But this one I am less certain of:

    Jackie gave Fran a "You've got to be kidding me" look.
     
  2. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I think I'd use single quotes or dashes in the second one:

    Jackie gave Fran a you've-got-to-be-kidding-me look.
    Jackie gave Fran a 'you've got to be kidding me' look.​

    You're using it as an adjectival clause, not really as spoken word.

    In the first one it's OK as is because it is mimicked speech, not an adjective:

    She gave him a look that said, "In your dreams, wierdo."

    **Warning, I have no real expertise in grammar. :p
     
    Oscar Leigh and Wayjor Frippery like this.
  3. Callista Reina

    Callista Reina Member

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    I am not positive, but I feel like italicizing "you've got to be kidding me" would work. Since they aren't actually spoken words, I am not sure if quotations are appropriate, but authors use italics a lot to convey characters thoughts or other unspoken sentiments fairly often. Maybe checking out a grammar site, like Purdue Owl, might be helpful.
     
  4. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Active Member

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    Yeah, I'd second this.

    Jackie gave Fran a you've got to be kidding me look.

    Of course, in this case I'd probably just say "Jackie gave Fran a disbelieving look."
     
  5. KokoN

    KokoN Active Member

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    I think technically there should be dashes in between them, because "You've got to be kidding" is an adjective in your sentence (in that it describes a noun, the look he gave). However, when I'm writing I usually just punctuate with whatever I think looks, feels, and sounds the best to me. That's where creative license comes in. :)
     
  6. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    No, if you italicize the words they will look like unspoken thoughts in which case the whole sentence would need to be italicized if the narrator were thinking aloud. But it's narration not thoughts.

    You italicize names, something you want to emphasize, stuff like that, and some of us italicize inner monologue (thoughts). You don't want to use italics all willy nilly. It's bad enough people argue over italicizing thoughts.

    There's a reason to be consistent with grammar, it's so the reader knows how to read the passage.
     
  7. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Contributing Member Contributor

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    For what it's worth I believe that the super-run-on-hyphen style is correct. I don't like it either, I don't think it looks good but that's what you're supposed to use. And as Ginger says, it really doesn't matter what we like or think it should be it's more important to be consistent with grammar.
     
  8. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Naturally, I'd personally use a colon.

    She gave him a look that said: in your dreams, weirdo!
     
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  9. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    The colon works as well. And so would single quotes in the first sentence, the more I think about it.

    She gave him a look that said, 'In your dreams, wierdo.'

    By the way it's weirdo, not wierdo. I missed that in the first go round. :)
     
  10. A man called Valance

    A man called Valance Contributing Member

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    All these suggestions look fine to me, mrieder79. Course you could always wriggle round it by saying Jackie gave Fran an incredulous look.
     

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