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Thread: Punctuation nightmare

  1. #1
    figuring it all out
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    Punctuation nightmare

    I've searched for an answer but came up empty-handed. Could someone please help with the following lines of dialogue?

    He made a joke to ease the tension. “What about ugly?” Seeing her confusion, he explained, “You said the good and the bad. There was a movie, ‘The Good, the Bad, and’—”

    “The ugly,” she finished with a grin.

    The problem is with the last line. Should the ugly have single quotes around it? Technically speaking, it's part of the title. And should ugly be capitalized for the same reason?

    I have to stop writing myself into corners! Thanks for any suggestions.

  2. #2
    Catching some rays. SuperModerator alleycat's Avatar
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    I would use italics for the movie title and not quotation marks.

    I'm not sure, but I think I would capitalize Ugly since the second person is finishing the title (but probably not in italics).

    There was a movie, The Good, the Bad, and—”

    “The Ugly,” she finished with a grin.



  3. #3
    I fight like a dairy farmer Corussa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by evangaline View Post
    I've searched for an answer but came up empty-handed. Could someone please help with the following lines of dialogue?
    My answer would be: italics, no quotes (as it's a film title). Which should make it clearer, avoiding a heap of quotes.

    I'd also capitalise 'ugly' since, as you say, she's giving it as part of the film title.

    So:

    He made a joke to ease the tension. “What about ugly?” Seeing her confusion, he explained, “You said the good and the bad. There was a movie, The Good, the Bad and—”

    The Ugly,” she finished with a grin.
    Hope that helps.
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  4. #4
    USA: 239 years & a day Chase's Avatar
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    I agree with the cat, except (as Corussa observed) also italicize The Ugly. It completes the move title:

    There was a movie, The Good, the Bad, and—”

    The Ugly,” she finished with a grin.
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    Last edited by Chase; 12-06-2012 at 12:48 AM. Reason: Wasn't all that funny.

  5. #5
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    Thank you all so much! I really appreciate your expertise!

  6. #6
    Health writer
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    Why is "the" in "the Bad" not capitalized?

  7. #7
    ...it's anything but. AW Moderator amergina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boron View Post
    Why is "the" in "the Bad" not capitalized?
    Because conjunctions and small words in titles aren't capitalized.

    The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

    Miracle on 34th Street

    Raiders of the Lost Ark

    But the title got broken up into the dialogue and first words in dialogue are capitalized, hence "The Ugly"

    Though I suppose it could also be:

    There was a movie, The Good, the Bad, and—”

    “—the Ugly,” she finished with a grin.
    Which would preserve the lack of capitalization.
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