44

In a technical manual or documentation or anything similar, you wouldn't put emotion into the text. The only reasons to use an exclamation point are to convey strong emotion or a serious warning. "Your password doesn't meet the criteria" isn't a dangerous situation. There's no need to use anything but a straightforward and calm voice. Just like you would ...


43

I'd argue that quotation marks like “ ” are the ordinary ones, and quotation marks like " " are the strange ones. :) But if you prefer typewriter-style quotation marks, that's fine. According to the OpenOffice wiki, you can change this behavior by opening the AutoCorrect options, clicking the “Localized Options” tab, and un-checking the “Replace” option in ...


31

It's totally fine. It expresses a combination of query and astonishment. There was even an attempt to combine the marks into one, called an interrobang, but it never caught on. Using "?!" is neither innovative nor idiosyncratic.


29

I think this is dependent on the convention in the country or location where you are publishing. In the U.S., it's double quotes, but in Britain, it's often single quotes. I believe France and Italy use guillemets. I've seen the dashes but I don't recall where they are used. The upshot is that, as JonStonecash wisely said, use whatever will be expected by ...


22

I myself have been criticised on at least one occasion for using too many semicolons in my writing. I hadn't noticed at the time, but I really was overusing them. It's one of the quirks of my writing style that I now try and consciously tone down, along with starting dialogue paragraphs with "the character did this" and my inability to go three pages without ...


22

No, you don't need an exclamation mark. Particularly in English. Nor ellipsis (...) or anything special. It's a simple statement in every sense. In fact, if it's displayed in a standalone box, you could even omit any stop rather than put something unnecessarily flamboyant!!! Warning! This is an example where it might be warranted, but a colon (:) is still ...


21

As a retired engineer, I habitually focus on the end result. While all of the choices are valid, I suspect that most readers will find all but the traditional double quotes to be jarring. If that is the result you are seeking, go for it. If you want the mechanics of dialogue to disappear then I would stick to said, asked, and double quotes. An exception ...


20

Some people have some sort of dislike for semicolons. See The Good, the Bad and the Semicolon. If you're not comfortable using semicolons at all, that's up to you. But if you do normally use semicolons, and are only not comfortable using them in dialogue, think of it this way: in dialogue, we use pauses. We do not give pauses names, we just stop for however ...


19

1) Use the ellispses and emphasis, and tighten up the spaces. This man, this...monster...has done something despicable. There's no typesetting reason to have spaces on both sides of those ellipses, particularly since you aren't removing words. Plus you're writing fiction, and the use of ellipses for removed text is only in non-fiction quotes. 2) Add a ...


18

The answer is quite subjective because the "em dashes" sometimes work really well in a sentence while sometimes they are just disruptive to the flow of the thing you attempt to say. The key part is trying not to overuse the effects you try to create. A reader will quickly be bored by the predictability of such effect. I have been accused — shock, ...


18

I've been told, by professional teachers of creative writing no less, that the correct number of exclamation marks to use in any finished piece of writing is zero; I've also read the works of Terry Pratchett and know that this is not necessarily the case. In many ways it depends more on the target audience and/or the tone of the piece than there actually ...


18

There are three rules for conversation: 1) Indicate through some mark of punctuation that someone is speaking aloud. This can be double quotes " , single quotes ' , dashes of varying lengths — , guillemets « , or whatever else typographic convention is in your area. 2) Make it clear who is speaking. This is usually through some kind of dialogue tag (he ...


17

This may not be a popular view, but as I see it, punctuation is about meaning, and only indirectly about sound. Speech includes a range of subtle variations in pitch, speed, volume, and pronunciation which all help to convey the intended meaning.  Writing doesn't have those — and no punctuation can represent them accurately.  So instead, punctuation has ...


16

If you're using commas where they shouldn't be, they should obviously be removed. One less common example of the misuse of a comma that might happen is comma splicing - using commas to join two independent clauses and create a run-on sentence. It happens like this, sometimes you miss it because it looks like an subordinate clause. However, sometimes all ...


15

How many commas is too many? When they're incorrectly used. There are four principal uses for a comma – As a listing comma in replace of words such as and, or etc. As a joining comma in joining two sentences together with and, or etc. As a gapping comma to show that words have been removed instead of repeated. As a bracketing (or isolating) comma to ...


15

In general, to convey poetic line breaks in "continuous text", replace the line break with a slash. "I've never seen a purple cow./I never hope to see one./But I can tell you anyhow,/I'd rather see than be one." I don't use Twitter so I can't say if this convention is commonly used there, but it's the normal convention in other contexts.


15

This is called the multi-paragraph quotation rule; see here: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/96608/why-does-the-multi-paragraph-quotation-rule-exist Also read the top accepted answer there, for an explanation as to why we do it that way (so we don't have to re-identify who is speaking for every new paragraph).


14

As with every element of style, it depends on context. In modern American fiction, semicolons are avoided; but trends do change, and old-fashioned modes of expression that were once considered effete affectations are coming back into fashion. Personally, I love semicolons and use them frequently, but only in non-fiction, when I'm conveying complex ...


14

Except in poetry, which retains its line breaks even when put on a single line, it doesn't make sense to retain a line end hyphen elsewhere on the line. It just wouldn't make sense and it would look weird. Chicago says this specifically on their website: A hard hyphen is one that is typed deliberately and that must remain whether the phrase falls at the ...


14

Don't make your program make a mountain out of a molehill If I see a program show an error message with an exclamation mark at the end, I am either going to assume that something is seriously wrong, or start doubting the honesty of the message. Ordinary "user did something the program doesn't handle" errors, like the one you are asking about, do not ...


13

I agree that flat-out banishment of any tool (adverbs, semicolons, etc.) is almost certainly wrong. Though many editors and agents will shake their heads if you use more than one or two semicolons in a novel. They are pretty far out of style. Looking at your examples is instructive, though. Semicolons seem particularly unnatural in dialogue. Nobody ...


13

You need to go to Tools - Autocorrect - Autocorrect Options - Localised Options. There you can pick the kind of double quotes and single quotes you like. (Source. Note the source tries to do the exact opposite - get the curly quotation marks. Shouldn't make a difference though.)


13

I just ran a search on all of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files for the '?!' mark. Why this series in particular? It's modern Stylistically, I expected to find '?!' there. I had it on my computer, so I could Ctrl+f Here are the results: in 17 books (15 novels + 2 short stories collections) the punctuation mark '?!' appears 11 times. What does it mean? Even in ...


12

"The point of a Horcrux is, as Professor Slughorn explained, to keep part of the self hidden and safe, not to fling it into somebody else's path and run the risk that they might destroy it — as indeed happened: That particular fragment of soul is no more; you saw to that." "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", J. K. Rowling "Lord Voldemort liked to ...


12

This totally isn't a question about the English language, but you could indent the continued parts like so: +----------------------------------------+ |Peter Turner | |code burner | |PHP, perl, python, object pascal, css, | | javascript, html, sql, yml, java, | | c++, c, tex, actionscript, bash ...


12

I disagree with the premise -- Mostly I disagree. I think this is a matter of opinion. I think like the use of a pet word, using the dash can be overdone, but the error is in using it to the point of irritation for the reader. Dashes and ellipsis indicate pauses for dramatic effect; or with a character thinking, a self-interruption to modify or amend ...


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