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chance
01-12-2007, 01:05 AM
"Well, how do you feel about eggplant?" he asked.

"It's really not my business," Ed replied. "I try to keep those things to myself."

"What was she thinking?" he muttered under his breath.

Here is my problem, are the tags and punctuation correct? I get confused as to quotation marks and when to use the comma and the period.

In the first sentence should he be capitalized?

In the second sentence should it be a period after the sentence and then again after Ed replied?

In the third should he be capitalized?

Azure Skye
01-12-2007, 02:29 AM
It looks right to me, unless I've been doing it wrong as well.

Judg
01-12-2007, 03:03 AM
"Well, how do you feel about eggplant?" he asked.

"It's really not my business," Ed replied. "I try to keep those things to myself."

"What was she thinking?" he muttered under his breath.

Here is my problem, are the tags and punctuation correct? I get confused as to quotation marks and when to use the comma and the period.

In the first sentence should he be capitalized?

In the second sentence should it be a period after the sentence and then again after Ed replied?

In the third should he be capitalized?
You got it right every single time. The tag is not considered a sentence on its own, so you don't capitalize it unless it's at the beginning. The same rationale is why you don't use a period in sentence two, the sentence isn't over until the tag is.

Carmy
01-12-2007, 07:28 AM
You got them all right. Top of the class for you.

Pamster
01-15-2007, 01:19 AM
Glad you posted this too, and that I have been doing it right. :)

readlorey
01-16-2007, 05:51 AM
This is funny, not funny ha ha, but funny ironic. I was having trouble with the comma and or period with quotations in some of my dialogue. I looked in here earlier, but didn't see anything to do with punctuation (obviously didn't look well enough). Now for the ironic bit.

I posted a new thread in FAQ wanting to know if there was anything about punctuation in the forums. I mean, this one is titled grammar and puncutation is not grammar so it didn't occur to me to look further.

*thonk* <---slap forehead

Can I say, "DOH!"

Heh, I forgot the part about finding my solution. I, er, pulled out my Shrunk and White and found the correct way, which is now part of this thread. See? Funny ironic!

Maryn
01-16-2007, 06:05 PM
A small notation: My best (and harshest) critique-er has noted that when the dialogue ends with a question mark, the word asked creates a redundancy. This, he says, is the perfect place for an action or description in place of a tag, to let the reader know not only who asked but a little about them.

"Well, how do you feel about eggplant?" He lifted a ladle of the red sauce and inhaled, his brown eyes closed.

"Well, how do you feel about eggplant?" He only liked it the way Grandma Rinaldi made it, and she'd been gone thirty years.

"Well, how do you feel about eggplant?" Were his eyes wet from chopping the onion?

Maryn, who learns a lot from critique

jsh
01-16-2007, 07:09 PM
"Well, how do you feel about eggplant?" He lifted a ladle of the red sauce and inhaled, his brown eyes closed.

Dumb question: If he is talking to her, but she takes action, should one give him a dialogue tag or start a new sentence for her action or neither?

"Well, how do you feel about the eggplant?" he said. She leaned over his shoulder to get a look; he felt her hair brush his cheek.

"Looks good."

Or

"Well, how do you feel about the eggplant?"

She leaned over his shoulder to get a look; he felt her hair brush his cheek. "Looks good."

Or something else?

Curiously,
jsh

Azure Skye
01-16-2007, 11:00 PM
Dumb question: If he is talking to her, but she takes action, should one give him a dialogue tag or start a new sentence for her action or neither?

"Well, how do you feel about the eggplant?" he said. She leaned over his shoulder to get a look; he felt her hair brush his cheek.

"Looks good."

Or

"Well, how do you feel about the eggplant?"

She leaned over his shoulder to get a look; he felt her hair brush his cheek. "Looks good."

Or something else?

Curiously,
jsh

I've been wondering about this too.

Curiously-er,
AS

Maryn
01-17-2007, 02:50 AM
What I do--not that my practice is the be-all and end-all--is separate dialogue by one character from actions by or including another character. In this case, his words would not appear in the same paragraph as her action or reaction, and vice versa.

What I might do, given this example, is something like this:

"Well, how do you feel about the eggplant?" Would his home-cooking impress her?

She leaned over his shoulder to get a look; her hair brushed his cheek.

She tucked her hair behind her ear. "Looks good."

Not perfect, but no dialogue tags, elimination of the "filtering" of he felt (of course he did, if he's the POV character, right?), and no confusion about who was saying which lines, even by an inattentive reader.

Maryn, who just hopes to have inattentive readers some day

jsh
01-18-2007, 07:46 PM
What I do...is separate dialogue by one character from actions by or including another character.... What I might do, given this example....
Cool. Thank you.


...elimination of the "filtering" of he felt (of course he did, if he's the POV character, right?)....
And I don't need to tell that when her hair brushes his cheek, it's significant, since I'm including it in the story. Is that correct? Otherwise, I'd cut it, right?

Maryn
01-19-2007, 12:44 AM
As a long-haired person in good standing, I'm aghast at the thought of cutting it.

Oh, you meant cutting the line? I knew that. I rather liked it. In fact, I liked the message that her hair touching his cheek carried, a certain closeness. How each person reacts can give great subtext without you having to say it flat out, don't you think?

Or it can just get in the sauce, like mine would.

Maryn, hair down to there

jsh
01-19-2007, 01:23 AM
Oh, you meant cutting the line? I knew that. ^_^


I rather liked it. In fact, I liked the message that her hair touching his cheek carried, a certain closeness. How each person reacts can give great subtext without you having to say it flat out, don't you think?. Yes. I was thinking that saying that he felt her hair brush his cheek might be needed to communicate that closeness—actually, in my mind I was thinking of him having a crush on her, but the rest of the story would make that clear—but it sounds like just having the hair brush, as you wrote it, gives that message just fine.

My original approach would have been overkill, just as Garfield's statements are overkill and the writing is much better without it.

(To see the Garfield, the following is an off-site forum. I think the thread is family friendly, but I've not read it closely for profanities:
http:// www . truthandbeautybombs.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=4997)

I like learning new things. Thanks!

BogWitch64
01-23-2007, 08:44 AM
"Well, how do you feel about eggplant?" he asked.

"It's really not my business," Ed replied. "I try to keep those things to myself."

"What was she thinking?" he muttered under his breath. (how else does one mutter??)

This is a good opportunity to bring up, 'said bookisms'. This is something that I learned during a week-long workshop I attended this past fall--a pitfall most of us seemed to have stumbled into. The dreaded 'said bookisms.'
We were taught (aka: it was drilled into our heads until we bled from our ears) to never use anything other than 'said' and the occasional 'ask' for dialogue tags. Said and ask disappear as tags (check out whatever book you are reading now--you'll see.) Never, EVER use 'he hissed' or 'she spat,' or other such tags. Not only are they overused (from an editor's perspective) but physically impossible. "Don't do that," she hissed. NO "Don't do that." She hissed. OK. One cannot hiss as she is speaking...or spit, for that matter.
You might think it's not a big deal but, after listening to several editors and authors discuss it at length over the course of a week, one gets the impression that it is a big deal to them. Considering they are the ones in charge of buying our work, I've decided to listen to them.
Also, always separate action from dialogue with a period, exclamation point or question mark. "Don't do that," she yanked her hand from his. BAD! "Don't do that." She yanked her hand from his. GOOD.
Some that were given an "Ok but ONLY once in a while."
gasp, whisper, mutter--and other such words. A big HOWEVER, they all still voted upon getting these actions across in the dialogue itself rather than using any of them in the tag.
Just passing it along.