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Old 05-29-2020, 11:05 AM   #11
dpaterso
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Default Re: Can brief, inconsequential dialogue be put into action?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crayon View Post
dpaterso - How the heck are you able to recall an example such as that?
Beginner's luck!

Quote:
It's interesting to see that William Goldman couldn't always punctuate correctly.
Given the era, I'd say there's a high possibility that's a transcript, someone else retyped it.

Quote:
Someone should re-imagine Woodward and Bernstein as avenging superheroes in this Trumpian era.
Bob Woodward's still doing his best to expose incompetence and corruption in the White House.
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Old 05-29-2020, 03:03 PM   #12
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Default Re: Can brief, inconsequential dialogue be put into action?

Quote:
LIBRARIAN
You want all the material requested
by the White House?

PULL BACK TO REVEAL

WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN standing there. The nod. One of them
maybe says "yessir," the other maybe "please." The LIBRARIAN
moves out of his office into a corridor. They go with him.
No one else is around. The LIBRARIAN looks at them, quickly--

LIBRARIAN
All White House transactions are
confidential.
Hmm ... I don't see any punctuation problems here. The comma before *quickly* is not necessary, but I would not quarrel over it.

*The nod* is probably supposed to be *They nod*.

The quotes "yessir" and "please" are not direct quotations of someone speaking and do not require an introductory comma or colon.

The use of the comma and period inside the final quotation mark ("yessir," and "period."), even when the quoted material is only a portion of the sentence, is the American standard. Personally, I do not like it, but that is the way it is. The British standard is to type "yessir", and "period". (assuming that you use American double quotes).

I do not see any other possible issues.
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Old 05-31-2020, 01:25 PM   #13
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Default Re: Can brief, inconsequential dialogue be put into action?

ComicBent - My comment on punctuation was only regarding that comma and that period being inside the closing quotation marks. I was not aware that that's the American standard. It's certainly a curious one. Objectively, it makes no sense.

I suppose that the comma before *quickly--*, unless it's got there erroneously, is so that the *quickly--* applies to the delivery of the dialogue with the *look*, rather than to the speed of the *look*. The double-hyphen right after *quickly* also suggests the same.
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Old 05-31-2020, 02:12 PM   #14
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Default Re: Can brief, inconsequential dialogue be put into action?

Quote:
My comment on punctuation was only regarding that comma and that period being inside the closing quotation marks. I was not aware that that's the American standard. It's certainly a curious one.
Yeah, that is what I thought you meant.

You are correct that it is a peculiar standard. I do not like it, and I avoid it by either italicizing individual words instead of putting them into quotes, or by following the British or other European practices (with an explanatory note about what I am doing).

Consequently, for the standard American:

That famous word was "rosebud."

I might write any of the following:

That famous word was rosebud.

That famous word was «rosebud». (French)

That famous word was »rosebud«. (German)
That famous word was „rosebud“. (German)

In the nonfiction book that I am currently writing, I use the French quotes and keep the periods and commas outside the quotation marks in such circumstances.

The simplest answer to the problem would be for me to use the British system of putting periods and commas outside the quotes when the quote is only a part of the whole sentence. But I prefer not to use the British system because people who know the American system would think that I am ignorant of the correct.

A great many years ago I taught English at the university level. My students invariably were puzzled by the American standard, and some even tried to argue with me by pointing out that the quote was only part of the sentence and that it made no sense to put punctuation inside that final quotation mark. But that is just how it is.
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Old 05-31-2020, 04:42 PM   #15
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Default Re: Can brief, inconsequential dialogue be put into action?

ComicBent - Thanks for the clarification. My apologies to Mr Goldman.

I'm wondering if the American standard means that there could be times when it's unclear if a complete or partial sentence is being quoted, eg:

[American standard] Officer Doolally pulled out his gun and said: "I'm gonna shoot you dead, Miss Poppycock." Then he smirked, slowly raised the gun and said: "And there ain't a goddam thing that anyone can." Thank heavens, his threat was cut short as a paddle steamer fell on him.

[British standard] Officer Doolally pulled out his gun and said: "I'm gonna shoot you dead, Miss Poppycock,". Then he smirked, slowly raised the gun and said: "and there ain't a goddam thing that anyone can". Thank heavens, his threat was cut short as a paddle steamer fell on him.
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Old 06-01-2020, 12:50 PM   #16
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Default Re: Can brief, inconsequential dialogue be put into action?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ComicBent View Post
Dialogue is dialogue. It is formatted as such.
This is correct. Remember actors are paid MORE if they have speaking roles, even if it's two words.

In lieu of speaking parts, you can have a character give a look in place of dialogue. You could have him throw a "I'm sorry" look, or a "WTF?" that's different than saying out loud, "I'm sorry" or literally "what the ****?"
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Old 06-02-2020, 02:53 PM   #17
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Default Re: Can brief, inconsequential dialogue be put into action?

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(British standard) Officer Doolally pulled out his gun and said: "I'm gonna shoot you dead, Miss Poppycock,". Then he smirked, slowly raised the gun and said: "and there ain't a goddam thing that anyone can". Thank heavens, his threat was cut short as a paddle steamer fell on him.
I think you let a comma get wild here. I don't think you meant to have a comma after Poppycock.

In any case, the British standard, as far as I know, is to use quotes in a logical way. If the final word is quoted (for humorous effect, or whatever), the full stop or comma goes after the final quotation mark, as in:

I'm gonna shoot you dead. I'll bet you don't find that "funny", now do you?
She had the funny last name "Poppycock".

In the USA, the (illogical) standard would be:

I'm gonna shoot you dead. I'll bet you don't find that "funny," now do you?
She had the funny last name "Poppycock."

However, the British standard (again, as far as I know) puts an entire quotation inside the quotes as in this quote in a novel:

Beto said, "I'll bet you don't find that funny."

Beto said, "I'll bet you don't find that 'funny'."

Of course, the British tradition has been to use a single quotation mark ' for the initial quote, and a double quotation mark " for the secondary quote. Just the opposite of what we do in America. I do not know if this tradition still holds. If so, then the actual practice would look like this:

Beto said, 'I'll bet you don't find that funny.'

Beto said, 'I'll bet you don't find that "funny".'
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Old 06-04-2020, 08:58 AM   #18
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Default Re: Can brief, inconsequential dialogue be put into action?

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Originally Posted by ComicBent View Post
I think you let a comma get wild here. I don't think you meant to have a comma after Poppycock.
ComicBent - I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "you let a comma get wild" - but I'll say 'no', because that comma is very intentional.

As I said above: "I'm wondering if the American standard means that there could be times when it's unclear if a complete or partial sentence is being quoted,". The comma after "Miss Poppycock" is one of two such times that I painfully contrived as examples in that passage.

Officer Doolally actually said: "I'm gonna shoot you dead, Miss Poppycock, and there ain't a goddam thing that anyone can". However, when a quote is just a fragment of what was said, then the American standard can make it wrongly appear as though a complete sentence is being quoted. Also, the American standard can make it wrongly appear as though someone finished the sentence that they were going to say before being killed by a paddle steamer with a perversely vertical trajectory.

Ignoring the single or double quotation mark traditions, as many writers do - if the paddle steamer had not put a premature stop to Officer Doolally's sentence, then I think (perhaps incorrectly?) that the British standard would properly report his complete sentence thus:

Officer Doolally said: "I'm gonna shoot you dead, Miss Poppycock, and there ain't a goddam thing that anyone can do to stop me.".

That's one period inside the closing quotation mark to show that the quotation is a complete sentence, and another period after the closing quotation mark to end the reporter's sentence.
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Last edited by Crayon : 06-04-2020 at 11:39 AM. Reason: add paragraphs 4, 5 and 6
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Old 06-04-2020, 12:55 PM   #19
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Default Re: Can brief, inconsequential dialogue be put into action?

Quote:
Officer Doolally said: "I'm gonna shoot you dead, Miss Poppycock, and there ain't a goddam thing that anyone can do to stop me.".
Proper punctuation is simply:
Officer Doolally said: "I'm gonna shoot you dead, Miss Poppycock, and there ain't a goddam thing that anyone can do to stop me."
The final period in the quote functions as the end of the whole unit.
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Old 06-05-2020, 10:04 AM   #20
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Default Re: Can brief, inconsequential dialogue be put into action?

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Originally Posted by ComicBent View Post
Proper punctuation is simply:
Officer Doolally said: "I'm gonna shoot you dead, Miss Poppycock, and there ain't a goddam thing that anyone can do to stop me."
The final period in the quote functions as the end of the whole unit.
Yes, I understand how that's simply the proper American standard, and that the period inside the closing quotation mark functions as the end of both the quotation and its containing sentence.

However, a final single period (either inside or outside the closing quotation mark) means that a reader cannot know whether or not the words being quoted are the complete sentence that was originally spoken. But, clearly, that's not generally considered to be a problem.

I'm fairly sure that I've sometimes seen punctuation such as this:
Officer Doolally said: "Now, Miss Poppycock, you shall die.".
And this:
Officer Doolally said: "Now, Miss Poppycock,".
That seems like a better method. And it allows for clarity such as this:
Officer Doolally said: "Now, Miss Poppycock, ...".
And this:
Officer Doolally said: "Now, Miss Pop". But, before he could finish, a paddle steamer struck him.
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