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jjo826
02-07-2007, 09:16 PM
Hi-

I hope this is not a completely stupid question, but in a fiction novel when someone is a Doctor, or you are addressing them as Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss. do you need to spell out the words or are the abbreviations acceptable? I tried to remember how I've seen this in books, but I'm drawing a big ol blank.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Jen

Sandi LeFaucheur
02-08-2007, 02:25 AM
Just use the abbreviations. After all, how would one spell out Mrs. (well, other than Missus, as in the English sort-of nickname), Ms. (Mizz?). Miss doesn't have a period after it. (Actually, in England, Mrs, Mr, Dr don't have periods either.)

Jamesaritchie
02-08-2007, 03:17 AM
I spell out everything in dialogue on the theory that if it's impossible for a real person to say it, a character shouldn't say it, either. No one alive can say "10." What every last person on earth actually says is "ten."

And no one, anywhere, says "Mr." What every last one of us actually says is "Mister." Nor do we say "Mrs." If we did, it wouldn't sound anything like these three letters. We all say "Missis." Or "Missus." Both spellings are correct, but "Missus" is the most common.

What you do is up to you, but it throws me right out of a story when a character does something impossible, even if few others realize it is impossible.

maestrowork
02-08-2007, 03:21 AM
As long as you're consistent. Most common abbreviation is widely understood -- Dr., Mr., Mrs., St., etc. Your editor might think otherwise, but it's not a deal breaker. "Mister Roger" and "Missus Doubtfire" look clunky after a while.

jjo826
02-08-2007, 11:05 PM
Thanks for your help. Jen

Sandi LeFaucheur
02-09-2007, 02:55 PM
I spell out everything in dialogue on the theory that if it's impossible for a real person to say it, a character shouldn't say it, either. No one alive can say "10." What every last person on earth actually says is "ten."

And no one, anywhere, says "Mr." What every last one of us actually says is "Mister." Nor do we say "Mrs." If we did, it wouldn't sound anything like these three letters. We all say "Missis." Or "Missus." Both spellings are correct, but "Missus" is the most common.

What you do is up to you, but it throws me right out of a story when a character does something impossible, even if few others realize it is impossible.

So you'd write "Give the cakes to Missus Brown and Mizz Green," Mr. Black said. Odd. I can see, of course, "Hey, Mister!" he shouted. But writing them out when they're used as a form of address seems peculiar.

Actually, no-one can pronounce half the words in the English language as they're written. Should might, for instance, be written mite in dialogue?

Anonymous Traveler
02-09-2007, 06:48 PM
How does one identify a character's gender if they are addressed as Dr or Rev or similar?

Siddow
02-09-2007, 10:22 PM
How does one identify a character's gender if they are addressed as Dr or Rev or similar?

"Doctor Quicksilver leaned over to listen to my heartbeat. I'm sure it accelerated when I caught a glimpse inside her blouse."

"Reverand Durand always kept a flask of Jim Beam inside his desk."

Anonymous Traveler
02-09-2007, 10:28 PM
That'll work

absitinvidia
02-10-2007, 12:49 AM
Many publishers of fiction use the Chicago Manual of Style, which prefers the abbreviation when it's used with a name.

Thus:

"Doctor, I'm bleeding!"

"Dr. Red, I'm bleeding!"