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In a passage of narration, how would one punctuate the following sentence? Italics or quotation marks?

The boy walks across the living room as words like weapons, barricades and deployments pass in whispers between his father and his father's first lieutenant.

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  • I don't even understand what you are trying to say with that sentence. I think you first need an actual sentence with a actual theme/point, before padding it with all that fancy pancy allusions and imagery,
    – ashleylee
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 22:10
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    @ashleylee That’s just one rough sentence in a passage of narration. I guess what I’m basically asking is how one would punctuate the words weapons, barricades and deployments as, although they are spoken, they are not specifically attributed to any one individual. Should they be italicized or put in quotation marks? Should they begin with a capital letter etc? Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 22:17
  • There are no quote marks or italics because this is not dialogue No one is actually speaking (though you talk about speaking).
    – Cyn
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 22:40
  • I think either is probably fine, as long as you're consistent throughout the piece of writing, but personally I'd go for italics Commented Jun 29, 2020 at 22:40

1 Answer 1

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Answer: Punctuation is fun. It's up to you. See how much latitude you have?

Fun fact: typesetters, hundreds of years back, insisted on equal pay for punctuation as for letters/characters.

The boy walks. Across the living room, as words like weapons, barricades and deployments, pass in whispers between his father and his father's first lieutenant.

"The boy walks across the living room as words." Like weapons, barricades and deployments. "Pass in," whispers between his father and his father's first lieutenant.

The boy walks across the living room as words, like weapons, barricades. "And deployments pass in!" whispers between his father and his father's first lieutenant.

The boy walks across the living room as words, like weapons, barricades, and deployments pass. In whispers, between, think his father and his father's first lieutenant.

Secondary and more serious answer: I think you don't want either of the options you mentioned.

Edit:

Aha. The editor will decide because it will depend on their individual standards but:

The boy walks across the living room as the whispered words weapons, barricades, deployments, pass between his father and his father's first lieutenant.

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    a noble and valiant effort!!! But I don't think that sentence could be salvaged.. It should be scrapped and reimagined
    – ashleylee
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 22:16

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