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Quotes In Dialogue (1 Viewer)

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
I wondered what was the usual grammatical approach. Do you just leave out the quotes, because it's part of the dialogue, or do you add them in to show it's a quote from someone else within the dialogue?



“Okay.” Tommy removed the cap and handed it over. “I think I’ll go and help dad with the car. ‘Get a trade’, he used to say … that’s probably why he used to let me help.”

or


“Okay.” Tommy removed the cap and handed it over. “I think I’ll go and help dad with the car. Get a trade, he used to say … that’s probably why he used to let me help.”
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
Naaa, it would come across as unnatural and I don't think there's any ambiguity or chance of confusion there at all. :)

It was a bit ambiguous for me, but you may see the sentence in greater context. I think it’s natural enough to say “Dad always says...”. Of course it’s up to you.
 

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
It was a bit ambiguous for me, but you may see the sentence in greater context. I think it’s natural enough to say “Dad always says...”. Of course it’s up to you.

“Okay.” Tommy removed the cap and handed it over. “I think I’ll go and help dad with the car. ‘Get a trade’, he used to say … that’s probably why he used to let me help.” :)


 

Llyralen

Senior Member
“Okay.” Tommy removed the cap and handed it over. “I think I’ll go and help dad with the car. ‘Get a trade’, he used to say … that’s probably why he used to let me help.” :)



Take it or leave it, but I found the sentence a bit ambiguous.

Edit: Use of pronouns is something that I have to be vigilant about. It can make the difference between a smooth easy read where the reader can focus on the ideas or it can leave you wondering if you understood who the author meant. Of course it’s the dad, but my experience was that I was thinking “Does ‘he’ mean someone who is only known to mother and son? Did ‘he’ refer to Tommy... oh no it probably refers to dad... oh yup... probably dad... it’s got to be the dad.”

You don’t want all that going on in the mind of your reader. I should give you an example from my own writing of what not to do on this. But if only 25% of my mind is wondering while 75% asserts it must be the dad, then that is still distracting.


Take it or leave it. I respect writer’s choices.
 
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VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
“Okay.” Tommy removed the cap and handed it over. “I think I’ll go and help dad with the car. ‘Get a trade’, he used to say … that’s probably why he used to let me help.” :)

Capitalize "Dad" in Tommy's speech. That will help mark it out so there is less (or no) ambiguity with the pronoun.
 

Phil Istine

WF Veterans
The way I was originally taught was that quotes are within double quotation marks and a quotation inside that is enclosed in single quotation marks. This was about 50 years ago in the UK. I think there is some variation to this in US English, and things may have changed over time as well.
 

Matchu

Senior Member
Modern British is single ‘quotes.’ “Quotes” inside ‘quotes’ is double.

US convention is the other way around.

In the ‘game’ - usage of double quotes suggests an ‘aged CW at play’ or ‘American’ author OR ‘US audience.’
 

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
Modern British is single ‘quotes.’ “Quotes” inside ‘quotes’ is double.

US convention is the other way around.

In the ‘game’ - usage of double quotes suggests an ‘aged CW at play’ or ‘American’ author OR ‘US audience.’

So I'm basically using the American convention? I'm assuming though, either is correct nowadays? As long as they differentiate.
 

Matchu

Senior Member
If it were me...I’d give myself every chance and stick to RULES. I tried one piece where I began with US convention and language...turned UK halfway - but that kind of thing is too risky. You want your story to get beyond a slush reader toward a sub-editor - and if you’re tapping all 1970s style you might handicap your submission, if I can say that.

it’s almost inevitable your write will read as ‘English.’ Remember how Americans don’t say ‘shall’ and find ‘whilst’ offensive. It’s a minefield. [tap post, at work]
 

Matchu

Senior Member
U can have my old CW textbooks from the OU if you like?

[offer formally rescinded due to great fear of misincomprehension and confusion issue, no slight intended. By order]
 
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