1. Abraham First

    Abraham First Member

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    Punctuation Single or double quotation mark?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Abraham First, Feb 20, 2017.

    I am still not sure about which to use. The case is when my character is narrating the story and he is telling (reader) what other people saying (exact quoting).

    Example: some from a paragraph.

    I kept explaining to the officer when I was interrogated, I said (here is ' or " ?)She is my friend, I was trying to get something inside that bag. It belongs to me. Actually, she stole it from me few days ago. She is the thief!(here is ' or " ?) But the officer didn't believe me and -instead- he said (here is ' or " ?)That girl, she said she doesn't know you at all. How could you claim her to be your friend?(here is ' or " ?)
    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    The (short) story is about a man who is locked up behind a bar. Alone, while he wait for someone to bail him, he recalls the events that led him into getting locked up.

    The idea of the story is an unreliable narrator, and the 90% of the story will be the main character telling the events past before he was locked up behind a bar. The key plot is, actually, sentences from conversations that he is telling the reader.

    So since those above example are not conversation (since he is alone and no one else around him) and there will be more and more of those in the story, back to the question, which one should I use? single or double quotation?
     
  2. izzybot

    izzybot (unspecified) Contributor

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    Assuming American English rules, I'd use either single quotes or italics. Not sure if BrE would be more likely to use doubles (probably?). I'd lean towards the italics though, myself, but I also use italics for thoughts and I know that's somewhat contentious.
     
  3. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    Why don't you use reported speech...

    ...although, since it's the MC talking to himself, I'm not sure that would work.

    But are you really having the MC, alone, going around having conversations with himself?
     
  4. Abraham First

    Abraham First Member

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    Actually the exact sentences of the conversation is the key points of the story to build up to the twist at the end where someone bail him out.

    I forgot to mention that the story is written in present tense. So he is not having conversation with himself. Those above were conversation he had with a police before he is locked up behind the bar. He is recalling the past actually, yes in his mind. You know like, how sometimes we were somewhere in a wrong place and we began to recall on 'how did I end up here'.
     
  5. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Single quote marks are more common in UK publishing, and double are nearly always used in US.

    I don't think it matters whether the speech is happening in the moment or not--you should use whichever you use for normal speech, or rephrase the paragraph so it isn't a direct quote.
     
  6. Abraham First

    Abraham First Member

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    how about what izzybot said? can I use italic too?
     
  7. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    I think italics would work, yes. I don't know what the CMoS would have to say about it, but ain't no manual the boss of me.
     
  8. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Contributor

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    Is the whole book written in first person, and the parts that aren't dialogue quotes the narrative? If so, just treat it like normal dialogue and use double quotes (assuming you're in the US). If the MC is telling the story to someone and the entire narrative isn't him telling this story, use single quotes.

    "So I told him this and that, and then he said 'I don't like you very much.'" Roger said, then sat on the chair and pouted.
     
  9. Abraham First

    Abraham First Member

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    I think I got what I wanted. Thanks, guys.
     

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