1. GB reader

    GB reader Contributor Contributor

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    Inner thoughts, syntax.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by GB reader, May 25, 2017.

    (Having read the thread on italics and thoughts, I will not use italics).

    As a non-native beginner my stress level drops as soon as I type a quote, now, someone is talking, it needn't be syntactically correct, only natural.

    How about thoughts, I'm sure I think at least as incorrect as a talk, probably even worse.

    But if we are not using italics then the text looks as narrative text and my reading-brain suddenly apply much stricter rules.

    Below is present, third. I use the pronoun to indicate that the last sentence is Sara thinking.

    *
    “I’ve seen you in school, what's your name?” he says.
    “Sara, Sara Remmert.”
    “So I was wrong, I guessed on Jenny.”
    Did I get that right? did he say he guessed? who is guessing names! blue, his eyes are blue.
    *

    So, that last sentence, question marks do I need them, should the next word be capitalized, are inner queries rhetorical? Can you use incorrectness to indicate thoughts?

    Go.
     
  2. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    “I’ve seen you in school, [comma splice... some people do use them in dialogue but beware some of us will still see it as a mistake] what's your name?” he says.
    “Sara, Sara Remmert.”
    “So I was wrong, [comma splice] I guessed on Jenny.” ['Guess on' isn't something I've ever heard someone say.]
    Did I get that right? did Did he say he guessed? who Who is guessing names! [I think "Who guesses names?" sounds more natural.] blue Blue, his eyes are blue.

    This reads more like a stream-of-consciousness style than 'just' thoughts. I don't read books in that style so if someone who does comes along and says different to me, listen to them instead! But from my position of ignorance I can't see why the rules of at least capitalisation wouldn't still apply.

    There are books that break fundamental grammar rules, and some of them have done very well indeed. Personally, I want to give readers as few reasons as possible to put down my book so I stick to standardised SPAG unless I have a really, really strong reason to do something different.
     
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  3. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    @Tenderiser has already corrected what I would have corrected. I've nothing to add there and agree with her in whole. As long as the internal thought is clearly that, internal thought, then I think idiomatic use of syntax is fine, but 1) it needs to be genuinely idiomatic. I know English is not your native language, so please do not feel remonstrated. I applaud anyone attempting to write in a language other than their mother tongue, but do be sure that the idioms are in fact natural idioms. The structure Who is guessing names? is not a natural structure to the English-speaking mind, as Tenderiser points out. Her offer of a rephrase is the more natural one for both Brits and Yanks. And 2) I completely agree with her that standard punctuation should be held to.
     
  4. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Is this story in first person?
     
  5. GB reader

    GB reader Contributor Contributor

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    Thank you Tenderiser.

    The guess on, I would have found.(it's word by word Swedish)
    The capitalized words after question marks I would probably have done as You show.

    But the comma splice(s)! I have been a lazy student. I have not thought about what you can get away with in dialouge and what You can't. I should be a ashamed. Sorry, won't happen again.

    Thank you Wreybies.

    I could have formulated my query as.

    In dialogue, within quotes, You can get away with incorrect language. Is this true for thoughts as well?

    But (impulsive as I am) I cut 7 sentences (that actually are 9) from something I am playing with.
    Showing the exact place were I got the question from.

    And I get a much better answer, it answers the question about thoughts, but also by tells me about problems I have that are not related to thought.
    Had I just given the formulated question I would't have gotten that.

    I will never be able to write proper English, I will try and fail and learn.
    I can learn so much even by making mistakes in English, as there are so many friendly people here that helps .
     
  6. GB reader

    GB reader Contributor Contributor

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    It's to be in third person, that way I can use unquoted I, me , my to show it's thoughts, not narrative.
     
  7. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    Call me old fashioned, but I use italics for inner thoughts in 3rd POV.
    That way it does not look like dialogue. (IDK, just an idea.) :)
     
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  8. Myrrdoch

    Myrrdoch Active Member

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    Yeah, italics helps set apart "quoted thought," if you will, from the more general musings of the POV text. I know you said you don't want to use them. Totally cool. But why not?
     
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  9. GB reader

    GB reader Contributor Contributor

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    I started to read the "Italics for thoughts?" sticky thread, there are more than 1000 posts in it.
    I started from the beginning, when I gave up after say 150 posts I thought the not italics had a small advantage.

    That may change.

     
  10. Myrrdoch

    Myrrdoch Active Member

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    Well, I'd do this, if I were you - write however you want to. Set it aside for a few days, then go back and reread it. If you've confused yourself, fix it. Then, have someone else read it. If they are confused, ask them why. If they give you a concern that you feel is merited, change it. If not, leave it. Just make sure that you are consistent with your choices. That is the most important thing, in my opinion.
     
  11. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    If you're changing pronouns, I think you need to set the text apart somehow. Personally, I'd use italics. But if you don't want to use them... use something else. Or else don't change the pronouns.

    Like, if you're clearly enough in the given character's POV (hard to tell this from such a brief snippet), you can stick to third pronouns and it will still be clear it's the character's verbatim thoughts. ("Inner thoughts" seems redundant, to me...)

    I’ve seen you in school. What's your name?” he says.
    “Sara. Sara Remmert.”
    “So I was wrong; I guessed on Jenny.”
    Did she get that right? Did he say he guessed? He'd tried to guess her name! Blue, his eyes are blue.​
     
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