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Pepper Jay
11-23-2010, 08:16 AM
Okay, so sometimes a novel will use, "What?" David said or "What?" said David.

Which is correct, or commonly used?

Thanks

thothguard51
11-23-2010, 08:20 AM
I too have seen both and have been told by a playwrite that "said David" is better when in POV. Not sure I agree...

I think its more a readers preference to what they are used to, or how closely they pay attention...

Susan Littlefield
11-23-2010, 08:24 AM
Hi Pepper Jay,

I think it's David said is more commonly used. However, I don't think either way is correct or incorrect. I've seen it both ways.

Usually correct sentence structure with "said" would be, "What," David said or "Let's go," David said. Thus, with the above sentences, a dialogue tag might work better since it is a question.

Sarah Madara
11-23-2010, 08:25 AM
I am not aware of either being incorrect, but I see the "David said" construction much more often.

benbradley
11-23-2010, 08:26 AM
I'd go with the second in this particular example, because the first reads too much like something clearly not intended: "What David said."

Silver King
11-23-2010, 08:39 AM
Okay, so sometimes a novel will use, "What?" David said or "What?" said David...
You forgot to include: David said, "What?" :)

hillaryjacques
11-23-2010, 08:42 AM
David said is the more common, and less distracting to the reader. This post isn't necessarily an answer to your question, but it explains dialogue "taglines" in a way that I found informative:

http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2007/05/he-said-she-shouted-loudly.html

Pepper Jay
11-23-2010, 08:43 AM
You forgot to include: David said, "What?" :)

Oh Yes! :D
Thanks guys

Fruitbat
11-23-2010, 09:23 AM
Okay, so sometimes a novel will use, "What?" David said or "What?" said David.

Which is correct, or commonly used?

Thanks

I wouldn't use "said David" because it doesn't sound natural, I've never heard anyone say it in real life. Why call undue attention to a dialogue tag.

fredXgeorge
11-23-2010, 10:24 AM
Just had a bit of a look through some work and I'd write it "What?" David said so obviously that's natural to me.

Sarah Madara
11-23-2010, 10:41 AM
You forgot to include: David said, "What?" :)

If you're trying to write natural speech - like a character telling a story - that's the one to use. I've never heard a speaker put the attribution after the quote. It's one of those things that's peculiar to the written word.

blacbird
11-23-2010, 10:44 AM
It's not a matter of "correct". Either is. As a reader, I prefer the "David said" construction most of the time. The reverse tends, for me, to sound pretentious and/or archaic.

A.C.
11-23-2010, 01:24 PM
The Writing Circle by Corinne Demas uses "said David" and it was beyond annoying to me.

"David said" is better and more natural sounding in my opinion.

Sentosa
11-23-2010, 01:28 PM
If I must use a tag I use "David said".

However, occasionally, for variety, I use "said David".

Just another of my little quirks.:tongue

seun
11-23-2010, 02:03 PM
As with so many other issues, be consistent. Pick either said David or David said and stick to just one.

Izz
11-23-2010, 02:17 PM
I reckon it all depends on the rhythm of the sentence. Most of the time i think 'David said' reads better, but sometimes 'said David' does.

*shrugs* whatever works, works.

Bufty
11-23-2010, 04:18 PM
I just pulled two novels off my shelf -one used one method and the other used the other. Didn't adversely affect my enjoyment of either novel one whit.

If - when the manuscript is ready to be published - the house prefers 'said David' instead of 'David said' or vice versa it's dead easy to change and it's not really an issue worth losing any sleep over.

Jean
11-23-2010, 04:31 PM
Why my book collection loaded with "said + name". "name + said" is more common? What have I got myself through.

Fruitbat
11-23-2010, 04:41 PM
Why my book collection loaded with "said + name". "name + said" is more common? What have I got myself through.

Are you in the US?

WalkingContradiction
11-23-2010, 05:12 PM
Is consistency really important here? I use both, judging by the sound of it each situation.

For instance, if you have many people in one conversation, and David has the last word, 'said David' seems definitely more appropriate to me.

Fruitbat
11-23-2010, 05:31 PM
I'm wondering if there's a difference in US vs. European preferred usage on it. ?

seun
11-23-2010, 05:42 PM
Is consistency really important here? I use both, judging by the sound of it each situation.

For instance, if you have many people in one conversation, and David has the last word, 'said David' seems definitely more appropriate to me.

Why? Not being snarky. I'm honestly curious.

jaksen
11-23-2010, 05:45 PM
omg something else to worry about...

I think it depends on the dialogue in question and the 'flow' of the story. Whatever sounds or reads better. I looked through my own stories and I use 'David said' most of the time, but when I need emphasis on something, especially at the end of a conversation, I use 'said David.'

I do all this subliminally btw. Thanks for pointing out something else I have to worry/think about.

WalkingContradiction
11-23-2010, 07:12 PM
Why? Not being snarky. I'm honestly curious.

This:

I looked through my own stories and I use 'David said' most of the time, but when I need emphasis on something, especially at the end of a conversation, I use 'said David.'

seun
11-23-2010, 07:35 PM
It must be me but I can't see how it adds any emphasis. In any case, I don't think it's a big deal to use either.

amergina
11-23-2010, 07:51 PM
I use "David said." I'm in the US

I believe "said David" may be more common in the UK.

Either is fine, as long as you're consistent.

Jamesaritchie
11-23-2010, 07:55 PM
I see "said David" often in children's books, but it's pretty darned rare in adult fiction, at least in the U.S. Both are correct, but "said David" distracts me, largely because I do see it so often in children's books.

jaksen
11-23-2010, 08:13 PM
Well if you put them in a sentence like these:

"He hates ice cream," I said.

"He hates ice cream," said I.

I can see the difference more clearly, I think. The second one sounds like I'm reading part of a poem by Lewis Carroll. :D

AEFerreira
11-23-2010, 08:28 PM
I think it depends on the dialogue in question and the 'flow' of the story. Whatever sounds or reads better. I looked through my own stories and I use 'David said' most of the time, but when I need emphasis on something, especially at the end of a conversation, I use 'said David.'

I do all this subliminally btw


I do the same thing. Depends on what feels right for that moment in the story. I think it is mostly intuitive, at least in the first draft.

I've read novels that do it all ways and it has never bothered me. I think I remember Lord of the Rings using the "'Quote,' said David." construction frequently, and it fit the rhythm of the story. Pillars of the Earth had a lot of "Said David: "Quote."' and it worked well there.

dawinsor
11-23-2010, 08:36 PM
I usually write the speaker's name first. However, one thing that can affect this is the length of the speaker's "name." That is, if you're using a long identifier, putting it first can make the subject and verb feel too far apart. For example:

"Don't sit there," the man on the left said.

"Don't sit there," said the man on the left.

To me, the second one sounds better. "The man on the left" has more room at the end of the sentence.

Southpaw
11-23-2010, 09:29 PM
I'm sitting in on this conversation. And yes I did just open my current read and is read So-and-so said. Then I looked though my own and I tend to do it just the have both. Iím going to search them all out and read them to see if there was a reason for doing it Ė like it reads better or something. Now Iím all curious.

dangerousbill
11-23-2010, 10:06 PM
It doesn't matter. It really doesn't.

FennelGiraffe
11-23-2010, 11:38 PM
Well if you put them in a sentence like these:

"He hates ice cream," I said.

"He hates ice cream," said I.

I can see the difference more clearly, I think. The second one sounds like I'm reading part of a poem by Lewis Carroll. :D

Yes, 'said <pronoun>' is tooth-achingly precious.

But I use both ways with proper names or other nouns; it's all about the rhythm and pace of the specific sentence.

agentpaper
11-24-2010, 12:06 AM
In Self-editing for Fiction Writers they say NOT to use "'quote,' said David" because it's the old way of doing it and makes you look inexperienced. I have no idea if that's true or not, but I generally say, "'Quote,' David said" so I never payed much attention to that "rule" anyway.

Jamesaritchie
11-24-2010, 01:37 AM
In Self-editing for Fiction Writers they say NOT to use "'quote,' said David" because it's the old way of doing it and makes you look inexperienced. I have no idea if that's true or not, but I generally say, "'Quote,' David said" so I never payed much attention to that "rule" anyway.

I do think there's a measure of truth to it. The smart thing to do anything is the ways it's done most often in published novels. Just because "said David" is technically correct doesn't mean it doesn't make your teeth hurt, and it's simply not worth taking the chance that an agent or editor already has sore teeth.

maestrowork
11-24-2010, 02:40 AM
It's a matter of preference. Technically speaking, if it's an inversion, it should be "said he." But both are correct.

The only time when I would use "said he" is when the construct fits better:

"I'm really tired," said he, who had walked all day.

AceTachyon
11-24-2010, 08:43 PM
Juliette Wade has a great post on this topic here (http://talktoyouniverse.blogspot.com/2010/06/is-it-said-david-or-david-said.html).

Chukkie
11-26-2010, 05:25 PM
I would suggest that you use both in order to create variety. Both are correct.

Zefiris
11-26-2010, 05:51 PM
I use said David

I'm glad this thread was posted actually because I've always been a little worried that I was getting it wrong!

Ferret
11-27-2010, 03:06 AM
I write middle grade. I just went to my bookshelf and grabbed six middle grade books by six different authors. I made sure to check only fairly recent books (last decade or two). Four used "said David" and the other two used "David said."

Drachma10
11-28-2010, 06:11 AM
In this case it would be David asked or asked David, but as mentioned, both work. David said is more common

Amadan
11-28-2010, 06:23 AM
In Self-editing for Fiction Writers they say NOT to use "'quote,' said David" because it's the old way of doing it and makes you look inexperienced.

This is what I have read also, in several places. And "said David" does tend to sound a little more stilted and old-fashioned. You don't see it as much in modern writing.

Juliette Wade has a great post on this topic here (http://talktoyouniverse.blogspot.com/2010/06/is-it-said-david-or-david-said.html).

Her point about meter is good (though I don't like her "said Tagret quickly" example at all). Sometimes it does just "feel" right to invert the tag and the subject, but you have to have a good ear for it.

Silver King
11-28-2010, 06:47 AM
In this case it would be David asked or asked David, but as mentioned, both work. David said is more common
The punctuation shows the character is asking a question, so it would seem redundant to use "asked" as a dialogue tag in this instance.

Drachma10
11-28-2010, 08:19 AM
The punctuation shows the character is asking a question, so it would seem redundant to use "asked" as a dialogue tag in this instance.

when would you use asked then?

Margarita Skies
11-28-2010, 09:54 PM
I don't know much about this, but I always use "David said." I've seen both "David said" and "said David" in several novels, but for some reason, I prefer "David said" because when you talk about something someone said in an everyday-life conversation, you don't usually said, "said she", you say, "she said". But then again that's my take. I don't know for sure.

Dave.C.Robinson
11-28-2010, 11:52 PM
Use whichever fits better.

More often than not, that will be "David said," but don't base the decision on either popularity or the desire for variety. Just use the one that works better in that particular case.

Jamesaritchie
11-29-2010, 12:01 AM
Use the one that's the in books you read from publishers you want to sell to. I almost never see "said David" in an adult book, and I don't see why a writer would take a chance. Saying it doesn't matter should be another way of saying there's no need to take a chance.

I simply see no reason at all to do anything that might distract an agent or an editor when there's a way of doing it that certainly will not distract them.

Jake.C
11-29-2010, 07:29 PM
This thread has really confused me.

Not only have I always preferred 'said David', but practically all of the books I have read (yes, adult books) use it much more often than the alternative, too.

True, I use both depending on which sounds better in each situation, but for the most part 'David said' seems awkward on my tongue, and I always assumed everyone else thought the same. To be honest, having looked through my MS I find that I generally manage to avoid using either. Most of my dialogue is clear without having to use dialogue tags at all. There are other ways of doing it, and they are usually more effective, I think.

Stephanie Mojica
11-29-2010, 07:48 PM
Hi,

As an experienced journalist, I was encouraged to use "said David" or "David said" depending upon the publication. Both are correct. For fiction and other types of creative writing, I think you have a lot more freedom and can decide which one to use. Just be consistent; don't switch back and forth.

Peace,
Stephanie

Angela James
11-29-2010, 07:48 PM
Questions like this are a good reason to see if you can cut the tag altogether or combine it with an action tag :P

As everyone else said, there is no correct way, only personal preference. "said David" is one of those things that gets to me as a reader (and an editor), because it reminds me of children's books, where the usage is very common. I have a 6y/o daughter and I always flash to Winnie the Pooh when I read that construction.

I suppose it could be pointed out, of the two ways, "said David" is the only construction I've seen people object to, so on the basis of most objectionable, rather than correct/incorrect, that would be the one that might turn someone off the writing, if you really were worried about that.