1. Victoria Griffin

    Victoria Griffin Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2015
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    25

    Style when referring to name, not person

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Victoria Griffin, Jul 19, 2015.

    I've got a grammar/style question. What would you do when referring to a name (such as Janie), rather than a person called Janie?

    My first instinct was quotation marks. i.e. "She doesn't like 'Janie.'"

    But italics may look better when used in dialogue.

    Or should I just leave the thing alone? It's clear from context that "Janie" is in reference to the name, not the character.

    Thank you all!
     
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,489
    Likes Received:
    5,674
    Location:
    California, US
    Might work best to put "a" in front of the name, to show that you mean the name doesn't fit:

    "She doesn't sound like a Janie." I suppose you could still italicize it or put it in quotes, but I think it works just as well without.
     
  3. Ben414

    Ben414 Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2013
    Messages:
    972
    Likes Received:
    785
    Unless it was extremely clear--such as if the preceding sentence was "Does she like her name?"--I would try to avoid potential confusion by saying "She doesn't like her name" or "She doesn't like the name 'Janie.'" If it's the former, I think either way is fine.
     
    Steerpike likes this.
  4. Snoreos

    Snoreos Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    3
    The problem with using italics is that it is sometimes used to put emphasis on a word. So in your case, putting 'Janie' in italics may just create the idea that the character is saying the word with hostility or disgust. I guess it has more to do with the reader. I know I would personally read it that way, anyway.

    I guess it's in the context, though. You could use quotation marks, but it would be safer to set it out as @Ben414 stated by putting 'the name' before it so that no confusion could occur.
     
    Steerpike likes this.
  5. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,489
    Likes Received:
    5,674
    Location:
    California, US
    I like both of the above answers. I misread the question entirely :)
     
  6. Victoria Griffin

    Victoria Griffin Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2015
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    25
    Thank you all for the help! I decided to go with quotation marks. Since the meaning is clear from context, but setting it off with "the name" sounded awkward in this particular case.
     

Share This Page