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Questions tagged [punctuation]

The correct and appropriate usage of punctuation.

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votes
2answers
63 views

Punctuation assistance with complicated list of titles during a formal greeting

I'm working on a scene in a high-fantasy setting where the main characters greet each other for the first time. Part of the greeting is also a definition of what each of the characters mean to each ...
4
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4answers
452 views

Is a new paragraph line needed in dialogue when a character responds with actions?

For example: "Move!" I immediately side stepped him. OR "Move!" I immediately side stepped him. I know a new line of paragraph is needed for each speaker, but does the same rule apply in this ...
10
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4answers
3k views

Proofreading a novel: is it okay to use a question mark with an exclamation mark - “?!”

Is it ever acceptable to use an exclamation mark following a question mark? I am proofreading a novel and have been instructed to make no stylistic changes, only errors that impede sense/clarity. The ...
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2answers
85 views

Proofreading a novel: when should exclamation marks be used? [duplicate]

I'm proofreading a novel - the brief has instructed that I do not make any stylistic changes, and correct only the obvious errors that impede sense/clarity. There are several places where I feel an ...
3
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2answers
1k views

What are the rules for punctuating a conversation?

Are there hard and fast rules for characters speaking to each other? As far as quotations, or without them? Are they hinged inside a paragraph or ruled to only be in a talking string?
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6answers
3k views

Should you only use colons and full stops in dialogues?

Should you only use colons and full stops in dialogues? I thought about using a semi-colon in one of my dialogues, but I had second thought about it, because when we talk, we don't really ...
2
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1answer
43 views

Specific MLA Question on In-Text Citation

How do I format an in-text citation in MLA format when the sentence ends as a parenthesis? For example: Stuart Appleby won three races in his career (but lost all others) (Fredricks 23). It looks ...
5
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1answer
45 views

Where should question marks be put in fragmented lines of poems?

For example, in the lines: Say what good really is a life, When so thoroughly deprived of joy Is my restless mind, Hurting constantly, in a dreadful strife? When it needs so many lies, ...
10
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2answers
1k views

Ending a line of dialogue with “?!”: Allowed or obnoxious?

A dialogue of mine contains the following sentence: "You fired all three of them?!" Trouble is, I'm not sure I've ever seen a novel that used a question mark and an exclamation point together - it'...
2
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3answers
364 views

Use of punctuation in song lyrics?

https://fireemblem.fandom.com/wiki/The_Edge_of_Dawn_(Seasons_of_Warfare) The following is the short version of "The Edge of Dawn". Reach for my hand, I'll soar away Into the dawn Oh,...
5
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2answers
101 views

Is it acceptable to punctuate and capitalize a dialogue tag like a separate sentence?

When a piece of writing has a quoted sentence followed by a dialogue tag, the sentence is usually ended with a comma (inside the quotation marks) and the dialogue tag is in sentence case, like this: ...
9
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2answers
238 views

Using ”as” after dialogue tags

Should a comma be used after a dialogue tag and before the word ”as”. For example: ”I don’t like this at all, ” he said, as the door closed behind them. Or ”I don’t like this at all, ” he said ...
3
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1answer
117 views

Are there stylistic overlaps between novels and comic books? [closed]

I am going to quote from a novel that in my opinion shows many stylistic overlaps of novels and comic books: The Rowan by Anne McCaffrey. I am holding that novel in my hand now. The use of a lot of ...
19
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3answers
4k views

Why am I getting a strange double quote (“) in Open Office instead of the ordinary one (")?

Why am I getting a strange double quote (“) in Open Office instead of the ordinary one (")? Every time I type the double quote, I get the weird version instead of the ordinary one. How do I get the ...
1
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2answers
115 views

Grammar of, in dialogue, someone quickly negating a previous word?

For example, let's say that someone says a word, but then immediately "corrects" it to a different word. Do you use a comma, an em dash, or what? In addition, if it's at the beginning of a ...
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5answers
4k views

When writing an error prompt, should we end the sentence with a exclamation mark or a dot?

When writing an error prompt, should we end the sentence with a exclamation mark or a dot? I am writing an application for iPhone and I have some error prompt in my application like "Your password ...
2
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2answers
87 views

Are there specific rules about caesura that restrict us where we can place them?

A caesura is a slight pause that's important in poetry, because for example alexandrines require a caesura in the middle. But the question is where can we put them. I know that we tend to put them ...
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1answer
34 views

End punctuation when using quotation marks [duplicate]

When do you put the end punctuation of a sentence inside or outside of quotation marks including the last word of the sentence?
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4answers
139 views

How would you write dialog in a 1st person story?

I'm a novice writer working on my first book. I've made the story 1st person from the perspective of the main character. The way I've been writing dialog goes as such: C1: "So, where are you guys ...
-1
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1answer
44 views

Punctuating narration [closed]

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 ...
3
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1answer
81 views

Can you use a semicolon to connect fragments that are one item in a vertical list?

I'm trying to write a numbered vertical list. The items are not complete sentences. Can you use a semicolon to connect two fragments that are one item? Receive guests; entertain guests Or, should ...
6
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2answers
1k views

Correct punctuation for showing a character's confusion

I'm trying to show that the narration (third person limited) is being interrupted by the character's thought process, and I'm not sure what punctuation is best for this situation. So far, I've tried ...
5
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5answers
119 views

Elongated vowel sounds

When we speak sometimes we draw out certain sounds for emphasis. We also see this technique in song, for both emphasis as well as expanding the meter to make the words fit a certain rhythm. One way ...
8
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10answers
3k views

The difference between dialogue marks

Most authors use dialogue in writing, especially when writing fiction. Now, if I remember my first grade primary school correctly, dialogue can be directly separated from narration in a number of ways....
3
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1answer
61 views

Punctuating text messages with speaker tags in running copy

Punctuation (and spelling and capitalization) in text messages is different from punctuation in other forms of written communication (emails, memos, standard prose). In particular, punctuation, or ...
0
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1answer
55 views

What punctuation would you invent to solve your issues? [closed]

What punctuation is missing from English that might solve your writing issues? People may be able to come up with established ones that meet your criteria, such as the /s to indicate "that last ...
1
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1answer
118 views

How to write a sentence with the '=' symbol in it?

Does the following line sound okay when read out? We choose the index n=5. If not, how can I restructure it to make it a good readable sentence still with the '=' symbol? I am trying to follow ...
2
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2answers
121 views

Ellipses in the middle of a paragraph?

Words words words. ...Words words words words. Would having an ellipses right after a period like this be correct? If not, how would I incorporate them in? Would it be more like this?: Words words ...
2
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1answer
44 views

What are the rules for beginning a block quotation halfway into a quoted sentence?

I'm interested in the rules set by the Chicago Manual of Style. If I take a block quotation that starts with the following sentence: "To simplify: math and geometry are such and such" And if I ...
9
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2answers
2k views

When quoting, must I also copy hyphens used to divide words that continue on the next line?

I want to quote a text in which re of the word relationships is on one line while lationships is on the next, and a hyphen follows re (re-) to indicate that the word continues on the next line. When I ...
3
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1answer
55 views

Is it good formatting to bookend quotations with a comma when they occur in the middle of narration?

Consider the sample sentence below from a novel. As he stared at it, Emma announced “Its blackberry cake! It’s the best cake you’ll ever taste. Honest!” And with that, she stuffed in another big ...
5
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1answer
56 views

en dash with space for non-integer?

I have a simple question. What's the correct writing style? 1.1–8.4% or 1.1 – 8.4% Without space around an en dash looks much better for my eyes. But I read somewhere that if it is a decimal number (...
6
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4answers
201 views

'Ellipsis' - what do they convey and how to use them aptly in a Novel?

In the writing practises guides, it is usually mentioned that use of ellipsis is a bad practice. But I have come across certain usages in professional writing. To give an example; In the novel Eat ...
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3answers
253 views

End-of-line hyphenation - how should it be used?

End-of-line hyphenation is the process of breaking words between lines to create more consistency across a text block. (source) A long word is broken across a line-break by means of a hyphen. It helps ...
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1answer
53 views

Quick punctuation request on a sentence containing a list with a colon per listed item

This is being used within a blog article, however, I want to primp it up for use in a more public and professional platform. My intrigue pertains to grammar and punctuation of the listed items in the ...
2
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1answer
55 views

When should we use an ellipsis in a poem instead of a comma or a dot?

The quote come from the poem Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley: I met a traveller from an antique land, Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. . . . Near ...
4
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1answer
101 views

Semicolon or better prose?

Word's grammar check tells me the second sentence below requires a semicolon rather than a comma “If you don’t accept your physical limitations, you will burn out.” Elena was analytical again, the ...
5
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5answers
250 views

Are too many exclamations wrong?

Exclamations, I feel, are a good way to describe tone without actually writing the tone. But most of the time I end up (as per reviewers) with too many of exclamations. Many also say that too many ...
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2answers
50 views

What are good guidelines and practices for word emphasis? [closed]

I struggle on what to highlight, and when to use quote marks. I also exaggerate specific words. Example: Please Sign-out and Click "Delete my sign-in info" before logging back in. Please provide ...
1
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3answers
141 views

Why don't writers add commas to lengthy sentences, to make them far more readable?

Prof. Brooks Landon, U. Iowa, Ph.D. U. Texas at Austin. Building Great Sentences: How to Write the Kinds of Sentences You Love to Read (Great Courses) (2013). p. 124.         ...
3
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1answer
113 views

Writing a dialogue with a lot of ellipses

Is there a way to do this properly? Roxas... I need you... to do me a favor. All those hearts that I've captured... Kingdom Hearts... Set them free. This is from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and I ...
1
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1answer
53 views

Confused about when to treat something as a dialogue tag

Background: I'm helping a friend edit their fiction. I'm frequently left confused on anything related to dialogue tags. “Yes, but I mean no,” Steve stumbles over his words. “Not the come home ...
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2answers
113 views

How to punctuate dialogue tags with action descriptions

Someone told me that it's incorrect or outdated punctuation to put a comma after "said" in dialogue tags such as the following (from an old book we're reprinting): “I shouldn’t wonder if you could ...
1
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1answer
33 views

Dots in lists with mixed-width items

It is common to omit end-dots in lists with very short items: Shop list: * Milk * Bread * Probably eggs It is common to use end-dots in lists with long descriptive items: Things which should be ...
3
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1answer
65 views

How to refer to complex job titles in cover letters?

Sometimes job listings use slashes and hyphens in the title of the job to specify specialties or other job characteristics. For instance, here are two listings on stack exchange: Data Scientist - ...
0
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1answer
145 views

Punctuating dialogue that is interrupted by thoughts/internal monologue rather than action?

So I've got a bit: Alta blinked. She pushed on, smiling, “—the argument. When the argument succeeds, which I still don’t fully deem, even after that—it looks to me like you’ve still got to do all ...
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7answers
3k views

Is it okay to use a lot of exclamation marks?

I've noticed that I use a lot of exclamation marks when my characters are talking. They appear a lot in action scenes. Is there any rule of thumb when using exclamation marks?
5
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2answers
125 views

Parentheses in scientific writing

I occasionally use parentheses in scientific writing when a piece of information is related to a previous statement but not to the central story. Is it bad style in scientific writing to use ...
3
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1answer
136 views

Punctuation when using inline dialogue

I am a bit crazy about punctuation and I have a question that I'm struggling to find a consensus on. For dialogue (especially in fiction), I always use the standard format: "I told you I wanted ...
2
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1answer
88 views

Should 'Oz' be in Quotation Marks if not Quoting Him? APA Format

I am mentioning "Oz" from the "Wizard of Oz" in my APA formatted paper. I'm not quoting him but just making a reference to his all knowingness. Do I put Oz in quotation marks or just leave it ...