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"____" or '_____' (1 Viewer)

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Guest1

Member
I cant seem to find the right answer. I do hope the people of this forum can help.
My writing is in the first person perspective.
When my MC or any other character speak I put " before and after " they have spoken.

My question is, how do i write some one speaking who is not the main character?

Like a voice from the radio?
Or a character over heard some one say something, but they don't know who said it.
these kind of scenarios, how do we write these down.
Do these have to have speech marks at either side for people we do not know about ?
Or can i make it italic, or an apostrophe? I'm just not good at this grammar.
Thank you in advance.
 

luckyscars

WF Veterans
I use italics if it’s a background voice, sometimes in speech marks sometimes not. No universal rules on this so long as you’re consistent.

I don’t recommend using “ and ‘ to differentiate as they are not distinctive to the human eye reading. Nobody much notices when something switches from “ to ‘
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I use italics if it’s a background voice, sometimes in speech marks sometimes not. No universal rules on this so long as you’re consistent.

So when you say a background voice, do you mean internal diaglogue?

I don’t recommend using “ and ‘ to differentiate as they are not distinctive to the human eye reading. Nobody much notices when something switches from “ to ‘

So you wouldn't use " for dialogue, and ' for internal dialogue?
 

MistWolf

Senior Member
American version-

" " for dialogue & quotes. Characters speaking is dialogue. Voices coming out of a radio is dialogue.

"June played me dirty. She waited until I fell asleep and stole the diamonds."

' ' for quotes within the dialogue
"That's when John said 'June played me dirty'. She stole the diamonds while he slept. That fool fell head over heels for that dame!"

Another example-
The room fell silent as the president's voice came over there radio. "Yesterday, December 7, 1941 a date which will live in infamy the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."

"Franklin Roosevelt, in his speech to Congress said 'Yesterday, December 7, 1941 a date which will live in infamy the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.' Can anyone in the class tell me what historical event this speech was about?"
 

luckyscars

WF Veterans
So when you say a background voice, do you mean internal diaglogue?

No, I mean literally 'background voice' as in things in the background (although could apply to int. monologue)

I walked up the stairs and saw Harry shaving in his bunk, the razorblade lapping at his larynx like a grooming cat. Behind him, a radio was playing, some news about the war, of course. General Eisenhower met with troops from the Second Army today...
"Hey Harry!" I shouted, giving him a wink when he turned in surprise, the blade catching the skin, slicing it.
...ahead of the invasion of Sicily.
Harry glared at me, blood staining foam. "Hell do you want?" he barked.
"Nothing," I said, grinning. Downstairs I could hear voices singing, the choir practicing Christmas carols. Guess they were planning on singing their way to Rome.
"The first No-o-el, the ang-els did sing..."
"See ya later, Harry," I said, chuckling as I closed the door. Damn, I thought, heading back down to the galley. Harry sure seems grouchy today.

So you wouldn't use " for dialogue, and ' for internal dialogue?

No, I wouldn't, and I'm not actually sure I've seen ' used for that purpose. Not saying it isn't, but I don't know that it's universally recognizable as meaning that. I don't see it.

I use ' for quote marks and dialogue-within-dialogue and that's it.

"That's strange," Peter said, squinting at the bus schedule. "There's a note here that says 'don't be late'. I wonder what it means?"
 
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Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
No, I mean literally 'background voice' as in things in the background (although could apply to int. monologue)

Sorry, I meant to say internal "monologue". (Is that even the right use of quotes?) I sometimes have internal dialogue...but that's another story...lol!!

There was a thread earlier about internal monologue, and some people said they use it for that. But I still struggle as to when internal thoughts become a internal monologue, and how to format it.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I use:
Double quotes ("...") for dialogue: "Hi Jane," Dick said.
Single quotes ('...') for various titles when first used: The 'Slip Interstellar Drive'. The 'Government Protective Services' building, or 'GPS'.

I keep font and emphasis changes to a minimum:
Courier font for written text my characters encounter: Dick frowned at Jane's note. Dick, this just isn't working out.
Italics for emphasis either in speech in thought: Jane sighed. Dick is such an asshole.

Read a lot, and copy what seems standard. If you need to deviate, then create your own standard and stick to it religiously.
 
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