Is this a proper way to follow quotes?


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Thread: Is this a proper way to follow quotes?

  1. #1

    Is this a proper way to follow quotes?

    I noticed that I like to write like this, but I don't know how grammatically correct it is.

    "What do you mean?" came his uneasy reply.

    "Are you mad!?" was her wild response.

    "I don't know," were the only words she could offer him.

  2. #2
    I do it too. I've never believed it to be incorrect, but perhaps someone else can reply more confidently.
    "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

    "I do not over-intellectualize the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story." - Tom Clancy

  3. #3
    Looks fine to me as well.

    HC

  4. #4
    WF Veteran Riis Marshall's Avatar
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    Hello The

    It's not a question of grammar, it's a question of style or standard usage and in my experience you're doing just fine.

    All the best with your writing.

    Warmest regards
    Riis
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  5. #5
    Yair . . . Dunno folks, all three examples rattle my cage.

    In the first example the "c" in "came" should be a capital, it follows a query. (always capitalise after a ? or !)

    In the second, an exclamation mark and a query together. Really? . . . and the same deal, a capital on the "w" of "was"

    In the last I would have a period after "know", capitalize "were" and lose the "him" from the end of the sentence.

    But then again I never had no schooling and only know English as she is wrote. (big grin)

    Cheers.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by scrub puller View Post
    Yair . . . Dunno folks, all three examples rattle my cage.

    In the first example the "c" in "came" should be a capital, it follows a query. (always capitalise after a ? or !)

    In the second, an exclamation mark and a query together. Really? . . . and the same deal, a capital on the "w" of "was"

    In the last I would have a period after "know", capitalize "were" and lose the "him" from the end of the sentence.

    But then again I never had no schooling and only know English as she is wrote. (big grin)

    Cheers.
    They may rattle your cage, but every single "correction" you've offered is wrong.
    "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

    "I do not over-intellectualize the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story." - Tom Clancy

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by theoddone View Post
    I noticed that I like to write like this, but I don't know how grammatically correct it is.

    "What do you mean?" came his uneasy reply.

    "Are you mad!?" was her wild response.

    "I don't know," were the only words she could offer him.
    You are using the statements as dialogue tags so they are grammatically correct (all except the interobang [!?] an ugly and needless contrivance). My problem with this style choice (my opinion only) is that you are telling the reader something which they should already know. If you've written the events preceding these quotes well, then I should already know the first speaker is 'uneasy', that the second is 'wild' (a vague term), and end the final sentence with "I don't know." Don't offer any more words. The reader doesn't need to be spoon-fed these emotions, they are built into the situation.
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


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  8. #8
    Yair . . .

    Gamer_2k4 Thanks for the heads up.

    I have paid for some very expensive editing to be told the dot below the query and exclamation is to be regarded as a period and must be followed by a capital.

    Cheers.

  9. #9
    Normally, that's correct, but tags after quoted dialogue is the exception.
    John Oberon
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  10. #10
    Yair . . .

    John Oberon
    and others this an interesting conversation.

    As I have mentioned on other threads I never went to school and have no formal knowledge of English.

    When I started to write 'Westerns" nearly sixty years ago the manuscripts were unpunctuated and I hired a newspaper editor to teach me the basics and rules of punctuation.

    Over the years I have read millions of words and passages that "rattle my cage" because they are different to what I was shown but, for the most part the writer still expresses the meaning and intent of the passage of writing.

    I have assumed the alternative punctuation to be an "aberration" an "Americanism" or an affectation as displayed by writers such as that McCarthy bloke.

    In other words I believe that although there may be a "right way" and a "wrong way" to punctuate dialogue as long as the writer is consistent and the meaning is made clear minor deviations from the norm are inconsequential in fiction.

    From my reading of this helpful and friendly site it seems to me that folks agonise far to much over the technicalities of the writing rather than getting on with the words and the story.

    One of the other "quaint" (and still adhered to by me) rules imparted by that editor so long ago was that dialogue tags involving speech were punctuated differently.

    That is to say:- "Oh, look at that strange punctuation," she said, and shook her head.

    In this example the "said" could be "whispered" "murmured" "yelled" in fact any description of speech.

    But if she went:-"Oh, look at that strange punctuation," she giggled and shook her head.

    That last passage would be incorrect because she couldn't "giggle" a word.

    In fact I see this last aberration quite often and of course it makes no difference to the comprehensibility of the passage.

    I might add that having sold fifteen "Westerns", dozens of short stories and having had an agent accept a manuscript I have never been queried about my punctuation and my writing is usually about 80% dialogue which can be a problem in it's own right.


    I must add again that I really enjoy the feedback and general feel of this site although it is so big I have some issues with navigation and tracking comments.


    Cheers.

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