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  #46  
Old Jun 18th, 2020, 01:56 PM
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Editors are an industry just like anything else... I wouldn't be too concerned about what guidelines they're using at any given point. It's not about freedom of speech, it's about trying to choose better words (or perceived as better words).

THEIR: Possessive of "they". They bought their new house just around the corner. (A friend of mine in elementary school pointed out "every their (/there/they're) has a 'the', but only people have eyes (i)" as a mnemonic device for remembering which is which.)
THERE: A relative place, like "here" (note similarity in spelling). Over there. Here and there.
THEY'RE: Contraction of "they are". The apostrophe is taking the place of the space and the letter a.

Definitely planning to cover that again in my next bit, but I keep running out of time to spend on this with life being hectic.

As for dialogue tags, there really isn't a better scenario that I'm aware of. Personally I use them at the end of the spoken words, but that's a preference, not (to my knowledge) a rule. If you do both, maybe just try to mix them up so you keep things interesting?
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  #47  
Old Jun 18th, 2020, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silk View Post
But onto the point at hand. For 99.99% of all my post's I use Ytter said, "I like chocolate milk." for conversations and only 0.01% times use "I like chocolate milk," said Ytter. Is there a time when one is better than the other?
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Originally Posted by Aethera View Post
As for dialogue tags, there really isn't a better scenario that I'm aware of. Personally I use them at the end of the spoken words, but that's a preference, not (to my knowledge) a rule. If you do both, maybe just try to mix them up so you keep things interesting?
I think Aethera's right on this one. There is no rule that I know or can find about this, but rather than rules, my advice (that I rarely follow for myself) is to think of purpose when you use tags:

Ytter interjected, "I like chocolate milk."
"We heard you the first four times," groaned Aethera.

In this example, I've turned myself into Ralph Wiggum, with the hope that every future sentence that starts with "Ytter [verbed]" is going to provoke annoyance in the reader. I put "groaned Aethera" after the quote as a kind of final emphasis on how annoying Ytter is being, but it could easily go the other way:

Aethera groaned. "We heard you the first four times."

It's largely a matter of preference. Incidentally, in this variant, I like the look of a period after "Aethera groaned" because it's a short and to-the-point statement on how annoying Ytter is being, but it could easily be a comma if you prefer. It depends on what kind of groaning you're going for.


"I like chocolate milk," offered Ytter.
"Strawberry's better," responded Silk.

This one is intended to feel more like two people in the store debating flavors. I put the tags after the dialogue for two reasons: First, the dialogue is short enough that people can read the whole sentence at a glance to get this:

Chocolate – Ytter
Strawberry – Silk

Second, I think what is being said is more interesting than the people saying it. The point of the flavor debate here is less about who's debating and more about which flavor is best, so having flavors before characters communicates that slightly more.

I also think either of these could work:

Ytter offered, "I like chocolate milk."
"Strawberry's better," responded Silk.

"I like chocolate milk," offered Ytter.
Silk responded, "Strawberry's better."

In each case, we've got some nice symmetry: Side A–Debate–Side B or Point A–Characters–Point B.

Finally, I might put tags before dialogue if this was the beginning of a long debate between a large number of characters. I won't write that out, because I think everyone has the point by now, but if you're introducing (or tracking) a big group's conversation, then who is doing the talking is often more important to clarity than what's being said.


Semi-related, I'm also going to throw in a link to a relevant post by Hanz titled Said is Dead, But how did they say it? - A Compiled list of Speech adjectives. If nothing else, it's a good reminder for me that it exists. Using said too much is a definite fault in my writing.
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Last edited by Ytterbium; Jun 18th, 2020 at 05:04 PM.
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  #48  
Old Jun 18th, 2020, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ytterbium View Post
Semi-related, I'm also going to throw in a link to a relevant post by Hanz titled Said is Dead, But how did they say it? - A Compiled list of Speech adjectives. If nothing else, it's a good reminder for me that it exists. Using said too much is a definite fault in my writing.
The only thing I don't like about that post is the implication that "he said" is wrong. If every time you have a dialogue tag, it's a different complicated, descriptive verb, that is just as awkward as using 'said' every time. Personally I think that if you need a dialogue tag, "he said" is fine. Maybe half the time you should try to switch it up, but if you're worried that your dialogue tags are too repetitive, the answer is usually to not use a tag, and write a whole sentence.
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  #49  
Old Jun 19th, 2020, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aethera View Post
The only thing I don't like about that post is the implication that "he said" is wrong. If every time you have a dialogue tag, it's a different complicated, descriptive verb, that is just as awkward as using 'said' every time. Personally I think that if you need a dialogue tag, "he said" is fine. Maybe half the time you should try to switch it up, but if you're worried that your dialogue tags are too repetitive, the answer is usually to not use a tag, and write a whole sentence.
... Aethera asseverated.
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  #50  
Old Jul 8th, 2020, 06:42 AM
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Question about whether two situations are Oxford commas, as I find myself naturally (pre-proof) using it less as time passes and would like to keep consistency:
1) a comma before an etc.
2) a comma before the last item in a list with a temporal sequence (i.e. 'Charlie did A, B, then C' vs 'Charlie did A, B then C)
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  #51  
Old Jul 8th, 2020, 02:39 PM
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To my recollection, the comma before et cetera is never omitted, but I'll have to look it up to find out.

I am a fan of Oxford commas myself. I'm not quite certain what you're asking with #2, though, Auron. I don't recall any difference between conjunctions in an extended list. Typically when using 'then' to join sentences there is no comma required unless you use 'and then', in which case you would include a comma between your complete clauses. I believe this would apply to an extended list as well, but I am not positive.

I do actually have a new Chicago Manual shipping to me shortly, so I ought to be able to look it up in an actual book instead of hoping the online site has the answer easily available.
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  #52  
Old Jul 9th, 2020, 01:58 AM
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Poor wording on my part. I was asking about something like a list of performed actions where time is indicated within the sentence itself (such as a set of instructions not in list format). It's a weird edge case, as I know breaking it up into individual sentences tends to be a more elegant solution anyways. However, it cropped up for me in one post and I wasn't sure if it was a strictly needed comma, so I dropped one in. I can link the actual post if it would help.
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  #53  
Old Jul 10th, 2020, 03:30 PM
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The word then counts as a conjunction, just like and, but, and or. I vote to include the Oxford comma.

Not that I have a history of bias toward it in this thread or anything.
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  #54  
Old Nov 29th, 2020, 09:36 AM
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It looks like the last post in this thread was awhile ago but I have a question for the writers. I'm a freelance writer and I constantly get told by editors that I don't use hyphens when I should. Can anyone recommend a way to get better at this? I've been more mindful of it but I think it is a blind spot that I have or something. Anyone have a similar problem or run across this before?
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  #55  
Old Nov 29th, 2020, 10:55 AM
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That's quite odd. I mean, there are situations where using a hyphen is required or advisable, but these are usually pretty obvious. For example, the meaning of "I resent the e-mail" is ambiguous, whereas "I re-sent the e-mail" is clear. Also, they are considered the norm for two-word modifiers that come before a noun, as per the example in this sentence. But in most cases, in fiction at least, to hyphenate or not is a stylistic choice.

Could you perhaps give us some context?

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  #56  
Old Nov 29th, 2020, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Attitude View Post
It looks like the last post in this thread was awhile ago but I have a question for the writers. I'm a freelance writer and I constantly get told by editors that I don't use hyphens when I should. Can anyone recommend a way to get better at this? I've been more mindful of it but I think it is a blind spot that I have or something. Anyone have a similar problem or run across this before?
Yeah, the thread got a little stagnant when 2020 got away from me, but more is still planned! What sorts of things do you write, Attitude?

As for hyphens, it depends on what sorts of uses you currently use it for, and what you don't. Compound adjectives like "spur-of-the-moment swim" are hyphenated before the noun for clarity but usually not afterward—"decided to swim on the spur of the moment" is not, as that's a prepositional clause not a compound adjective. As Menzo pointed out, sometimes it's handy to make it clear where different meanings are possible, though I often find that I simply reword those phrases so there is no confusion whatsoever.

Oh hey! I can actually get some use out of my bookend Chicago Manual here. (It's still so new because I rarely use it for anything other than a brief confirmation I'm doing it right.) I've got categories that go on and on, but a lot of it falls into the hyphenated before/open after category.

Last edited by Aethera; Nov 29th, 2020 at 11:27 AM.
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  #57  
Old Nov 29th, 2020, 03:53 PM
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I do a variety of things. Alot of blog articles, some B2B product reviews, website content, etc. Lately I've been working with a blogger and his editor mentioned it to me in an email. I do my writing in Word and it catches it sometimes but apparently not all the time. It just got under my skin because I hate that I'm still having a problem with it years later. I think I'll go back over my copy of the last couple of blog posts I've done and compare them to the final versions.

BTW, I hope your NaNoWriMo is going well. I've been toying with the idea of getting into creative writing and I might do it next year.
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  #58  
Old Jan 25th, 2021, 12:04 AM
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This is off topic, but...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ytterbium View Post
Tampa Bay beat Kansas City 1000.
I called it! (At least the teams. We'll have to wait two weeks to see whether I got the score right.)

Go Bucs.
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