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Thread: " or '

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  1. #1
    Devin Jordan
    Guest

    " or '

    When you're doing dialouge, would you say
    "I watched her cross the street and called out to her 'goodbye'."
    or
    'I watched her cross the street and called out "goodbye".'

    Those arent very good sentances, but its just supposed to be somebody talking about something they said or someone else said. My mom said it was the second way, but I've always thought of it as the first..
    Just asking

  2. #2
    Devin Jordan
    Guest

    Re: " or '

    (I keep forgetting to check the box!! grr..)

  3. #3
    Rosemarie Skaine
    Guest

    Re: " or '

    Of the two choices you list, I would choose the first:

    "I watched her cross the street and called out to her 'goodbye'."

    BUT

    I would put the period this way --.'" --

    I realize there are other schools of thought, but this is the way I would do it for my publisher. Good luck, R

  4. #4
    Rose Irving
    Guest

    Re: " or '

    Rosemarie is correct about the period placement. It belongs inside of BOTH closing quotations.

    That being said, Devin, are you in the U.S.???
    It makes a difference in punctuating quotes.

  5. #5
    Travis Miles
    Guest

    Re: " or '


    It's better if you write it like this:

    "Goodbye," I called out, watching her cross the street.

  6. #6
    Denis Bonner
    Guest

    Re: " or '

    Devin,

    the second way is better as the 'to her' in the first example is unnecessary.

    Denis

  7. #7
    leslee
    Guest

    Re: " or '

    The second.

  8. #8
    Mya Bell
    Guest

    Re: " or '

    The following is pretty prevalent:

    George said, "I watched her cross the street and called out to her 'goodbye'."


    However, I would tend to favor:

    George said, "I watched her cross the street and called out to her 'goodbye.'"

    (with the assumption that "goodbye" was the end of the sentence/phrase when he originally said it to the woman crossing the street and, thus, if standing alone, would be terminated with ".")

    --- Mya Bell

  9. #9
    Mya Bell
    Guest

    Re: " or '

    I'm still kind of mulling this one over.

    Since I get the feeling you're asking about the quotes, not the wording (which isn't ideal), I won't suggest other ways to say it, but I'll add some words to make the context more clear.

    Looking at it this way, either position for the comma is conceivably correct, depending upon what went before.

    First option:

    Early that morning, George watched Sheila cross the street and called out to her, "Okay, goodbye, see you tomorrow."

    At lunch, George said to Tim, "I watched her cross the street and called out to her 'goodbye'."

    In this case, George is repeating a sentence fragment ("goodbye").


    Second option:

    Early that morning, George watched Sheila cross the street and called out to her, "Goodbye."

    At lunch, George said to Tim, "I watched her cross the street and called out to her 'Goodbye.'"

    In this case, George is repeating the entire sentence ("Goodbye.").

    That's my thinking up to now. I tried looking in a couple of style guides, but they tend to focus more on nonfiction writing, especially journalistic and academic styles when referring to single and double quotes. They didn't have a discussion or example of quotes inside quotes for fictional dialog.

    Anyway, hopefully that makes it clearer rather than muddier.

    --- Mya Bell

  10. #10
    Anthony Ravenscroft
    Guest

    Re: " or '

    It depends. Setting aside nuances of usage, the "British style" would be to have passages of dialogue in single-quotes, but to have words or phrases within a narrative portion that have been highlighted (like our ever-popular "air quotes") in doubles.

    In the British style, the next layer inward would be double quotes, & (god help us) anything that appeared within that layer would be single-quotes.

    The "American style" puts every outer layer -- whether dialogue or a repeated passage or a highlighted word or phrase -- in double-quotes.

    The most important thing, though, is consistency. If you're consistent throughout the entire piece, editors like you more.

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