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Quotes Or Speech Marks? (1 Viewer)

TheMightyAz

Senior Member
Or is this down to the writer? I feel as if quote marks are correct because it's Arthur interpreting what she meant and not a direct statement from Sarah. Am I right?

She continued rubbing. “Oh, nothing.” She said the words as-a-matter-of-factly; so distanced from her demeanour that it was clear she really meant ‘I’m pissed off.’
 

indianroads

Staff member
Board Moderator
Italics might work instead of the single quotes because the reader is in the character's head, and he/she is thinking with emphasis.
 

Phil Istine

Staff member
Global Moderator
I hadn't considered italics. I use italics for thought though and it isn't really a thought but rather an impression.

So is she speaking the words or isn't she? Following up with "She said the words ..." tells me that she spoke, but your subsequent post indicates she didn't.
 

vranger

Staff member
Global Moderator
Or is this down to the writer? I feel as if quote marks are correct because it's Arthur interpreting what she meant and not a direct statement from Sarah. Am I right?

Single quotation marks work fine for that. You don't get a definite rule for this. Rather than mandated style, this depends on the author's choice of style. The only important rule is once you decide on a style like that--it be consistent throughout the work, and the style of quote opening a sentence or phrase also close it. You COULD also use a double quotation mark there, just be consistent. If it's any help, I ONLY use the double quotation mark for spoken dialogue.
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
She continued rubbing. “Oh, nothing.” She said the words as-a-matter-of-factly; so distanced from her demeanour that it was clear she really meant ‘I’m pissed off.’
Double for out loud, single in her head strikes me as fine, but I had other issues. Try this,

She continued rubbing.
“Oh, nothing”, she said, as a matter of fact. It distanced her from her demeanour that made it clear she really meant ‘I’m pissed off.’

The capitalised "She said" is distracting, you have to read the rest of the sentence to see why it isn't the expected 'she said' , and "A matter of factly" ??.
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
I reworked that a couple of times and felt vaguely dissatisfied. Thinking about it as I went about things it occurred to me that the actual state of affairs is that she is pissed off, but you have to go through everything else to get to that. How about inverting it.

Her demeanour made it clear she was actually pissed off, but she said "Oh nothing" in a matter of fact way, distancing herself from it.
 

TheMightyAz

Senior Member
So is she speaking the words or isn't she? Following up with "She said the words ..." tells me that she spoke, but your subsequent post indicates she didn't.

Here demeanour clearly suggested she was pissed off. It's not a thought and not speech.
 

TheMightyAz

Senior Member
I reworked that a couple of times and felt vaguely dissatisfied. Thinking about it as I went about things it occurred to me that the actual state of affairs is that she is pissed off, but you have to go through everything else to get to that. How about inverting it.

Her demeanour made it clear she was actually pissed off, but she said "Oh nothing" in a matter of fact way, distancing herself from it.

I'd have to rearrange a couple of sentences prior to this so I could flow into that smoothly but I could do that, yeah.
 

TheMightyAz

Senior Member
Single quotation marks work fine for that. You don't get a definite rule for this. Rather than mandated style, this depends on the author's choice of style. The only important rule is once you decide on a style like that--it be consistent throughout the work, and the style of quote opening a sentence or phrase also close it. You COULD also use a double quotation mark there, just be consistent. If it's any help, I ONLY use the double quotation mark for spoken dialogue.

Pretty much what I figured. I'm going to reconsider though. I think perhaps it's a little awkward the way it's written.

Here's the full context:

“Are you going to be long?” Sarah asked as she wiped the worktop down with a damp cloth. “I thought we might go for a drink this afternoon if that’s alright with you.”

The question and the offer felt like a test. “Perhaps tonight.” Arthur said and came up behind Sarah. His head rocked on her shoulder, her back tensing into him. “What’s the matter, love?”

She continued rubbing. “Oh, nothing.” She said the words as-a-matter-of-factly; so distanced from her demeanour that it was clear she really meant ‘I’m pissed off.’

“I have to do this, darling.” He steered her around tenderly and cupped her cheeks. Tears were in her eyes. “Oh, love, come here.” He hugged her tight. “She’s just a memory, nothing more. What do you think I’m going to do, run off with a ghost? Who’s going to hand me my arse on a plate then? If it wasn’t for you I’d be a complete tit.”

“I’m not doing a very good job.” She said and wiped her eyes.

And the scene ends on an echo:

Even before his eyes adjusted in the gloom, he could sense Heather’s scrutiny as he approached. For a while, he just watched and she watched him, her eyes still mirrors of a single moment, when the world went dark. He squatted down and slowly edged inside her, adopting her pose as best he could. As he did so, the pain clawed at him, head pounding, but he fought it. When he could take it no more, he let go. All the torment, torture, agony spilled from him as he, the embodiment of Heather, grieved.
 
Last edited:

Taylor

Friends of WF
For me, the quotation marks work. But I find the sentence a little redundant. Either of these might work:

[FONT=&Verdana]She continued rubbing. “Oh, nothing.” She said the words so matter-of-factly, it was clear she really meant, ‘I’m pissed off.’

[/FONT]
She continued rubbing. “Oh, nothing.” She said the words so distanced from her demeanour, it was clear she really meant, ‘I’m pissed off.’
 

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