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Farla

Farla's Guide to Basic Grammar:

IMPORTANT NOTE:

There are a lot of rules here, and I understand that if you're not used to them, following all of them is going to be hard. So don't.

Look through and pick one rule you weren't aware of. Practice it. Try to use it properly. When you finish a story, look through and double-check all instances to make sure it's right. Eventually, you'll find you don't have to think about it, and that when you double-check, you don't find mistakes. Then come back here, pick another rule, and do the same.

This is an ongoing guide and I don't want it cluttered with comments. If you want to comment or discuss this guide, feel free to do so in a separate thread.

1/15/2010 . Edited 1/18/2010 #1
Farla

Pronouns, Possessives and Contractions:

Pronouns are I/me, you, he/she/it/they. They take the place of a noun.

Possessives are a way of indicating a person/thing or pronoun owns something else.

With pronouns, you never use an apostrophe to indicate possession the way you do a standard noun. So you'd say its story not it's story, as it's means it is. This may seem odd.

This is because modern possessives are actually a contraction, which means two different words combined into one. Originally, instead of writing John's story you would write John, his story. Combine John and his and you get John's. Technically, you never use an apostrophe to indicate possession, you use an apostrophe to indicate you've combined the name with the possessive pronoun. This is why it's written hers, yours and its.

Similar reasoning is behind the distinction between who's and whose. Who's is a contraction of who is. Whose means possessed by who.

When you're not sure if you want to use an apostrophe, read it aloud to yourself as the full two words to make sure you have it right.

(Edit: There's apparently some uncertainty over if the "his" was the word or an identically pronounced word indicating genitive case, or possibly it was "es" sometimes being misspelled as "his" or something else entirely. The important part for you is that whatever the word was, it ended in an S and ended up being combined into the first word with an apostrophe to indicate the contraction, thus giving us the current format of added 's to a noun to get a possessive.)

-

You're going to read this. = You are going to read this. Right.

You're story is bad. = You are story is bad. Wrong.

-

They're heading to City Hall. = They are heading to City Hall. Right.

They're objections are invalid. = They are objections are invalid. Wrong.

-

In addition, if you want to indicate a possessive on a noun ending in s, the standard format is to end the word an apostrophe without a s at the end. It is also acceptable to put an apostrophe followed by an s. Never put an apostrophe before the noun's own s.

-

Jesus'. Right.

Jesus's. Right, but nonstandard.

Jesu's. Wrong. This means Jesu possesses.

-

To indicate a plural for a word ending in s, add an es at the end. Some English words use different plural endings based on which language we beat up for it, but you should ignore that, as English tends to get confused about which language was which. A good example is octopus. In Latin, the us ending is pluralized as i, and therefore it would be octopi, which is the standard ending used. However, octopus was a word Latin mugged Greek for, the meaning the actual plural form would be octopodes. You have probably never seen the word before because no one uses it.

Generally don't have to concern yourself with it because es will still be an accepted version and in most cases is the more common form.

You may have noticed that the word pokemon and various types of pokemon are often written the same regardless of if they're singular or plural. There are two reasons for this. One is the tendency to use the original languages' grammar (even, in this case, when the words were translated) and Japanese does not distinguish between plural and singular. The other is that English often doesn't properly pluralize new words until they've been in use for a time. A good example here would be ninja, which currently has both ninja and ninjas as its plural. This is best shown in Pokemon fanfic by the tendency for plural forms to be appear irregularly, with older and more common species getting plural forms and newer or rarer ones written the same as the singular. For example, pidgeys and taillow.

Note there are words like deer that follow the same pattern, so this doesn't just apply to loaned or invented words.

Summary:

Your means you possess something. You're means you are.

Its means it possesses something. It's means it is.

Hers and yours have no valid apostrophe form, they are always written as such.

Their means they possess something. They're means they are. There is a place that is not here.

Whose means possessed by who. Who's means who is.

Never put an apostrophe inside the base word. It's gyarados', not gyarado's.

The plural of a word ending in s is es.

If you're using plural pokemon names, it's gyaradoses. If you're not, make sure you're consistent about it.

-

If none of these look familiar, start at the top and work your way down once you've mastered each one.

1/15/2010 . Edited 2/7/2010 #2
Farla

Proper and Common Nouns:

A proper noun is the name of a person, place or thing. A common noun is what the person, place or thing is.

Central Park is the name of the place. A park is what the place is.

If it is a proper noun, it is absolutely always capitalized. The name of a character should never appear in lower case form, nor the proper name of a particular location.

If it isn't a noun, it is absolutely never capitalized on its own.

Pokemon tends to be extremely confused on this point, both because people often use a pokemon's species as its given name, and because Nintendo is doing its best to ignore it. The debate over this is elsewhere. But proper nouns are names unique to individuals, common nouns are the generic form for all individuals of that sort, and things like verbs and interjections are never capitalized at all.

Thus the sentence This is my pikachu, Pikachu is correct. A pikachu is a common noun to refer to the little electric mouse, and Pikachu is the name that it goes by. This is my pikachu, pikachu would be wrong, as would This is my Pikachu, Pikachu.

As a side note, it is possible to use a format of my (proper noun), mostly in spoken dialogue. For example, This is my Fluffles. She's a hen. is correct, if a bit suspect. The important part is the capital letter to establish it's being used as the name of the thing in question.

The official scientific names of species follow different capitalization rules. If you plan to have scientists running about, check over those rules. This will otherwise never apply in your story. Words like pikachu and pidgey are clearly not the scientific classification.

Another subset is titles. A title should be viewed as a component of a name. A good rule of thumb is that if the word is going in front of a name, such as Professor Oak, it's a title. And just as someone named Benjamin may be called Ben without losing the capital B, you can use just the title under the same rules as the title plus name. "Hello, Professor Oak" and "Hello, Professor" are both correct. "Hello, professor" would be wrong, because it's being used as his name. However, if it's being used as a normal noun rather than a name, it's written with a lower case p. The professor walked across the room is correct, and The Professor walked across the room is wrong.

These rules go on to apply to words like Mother and Uncle. When they're used as names, they're capitalized, when they're used as normal nouns they're uncapitalized. When in doubt, try to replace the word with a name to see if the sentence makes sense.

Then a mother walked by is correct, because Then a Jane walked by would be wrong.

Then Mother walked by is correct, because Then Jane walked by would be right.

The Pokemon fandom has a particular issue that rarely crops up otherwise, where a given name refers to a group of people. The rules governing this are as follows:

If you're referring to a group of people with the same name, then the word is capitalized. There are a lot of Jacks in this room.

If you're referring to a group of people and use a particular name to cover them, the word is generally treated as a common noun. Where are the charleys? This makes it clear that you aren't talking about a group of people named Charley.

If you're referring to a group of people who all share a title which includes a name, then either may apply. Generally, this also shouldn't be capitalized, as pure titles normally aren't, but if people are particularly respectful of the title and people involved, it may be.

Therefore, grammar comes down mildly in favor of nurse joys but can be written Nurse Joys provided you're consistent about it. Note consistency here is on a story by story basis, as the two options may each be suited to particular types of story. If your story mostly treats the nurses as important people given a well-respected title, you may want to capitalize differently than if they're grown in vats as part of some long-term Team Rocket plot.

And remember that if you're using it as her name, it's capitalized even if you're not capitalizing the general term.

1/15/2010 . Edited 1/15/2010 #3
Farla

Miscellaneous Other Problems:

Then has to do with time. This happened, and then (at a later point in time), that happened. or We studied, then we took a test.

Than has to do with comparison. This is better than that. or First gen games are better than later generations.

If you want help remembering which is which, then has an e, like time. But honestly you're just going to have to memorize it. Sorry.

It's written okay. It is not an abbreviation for something else, nor is it pronounced ook, therefore it should never be written as OK, Ok, O.K. or ok.

Some sentences in English can't be written without contractions. We're a lazy people. If you're a native speaker, try reading a sentence aloud. You should automatically try to add contractions where they're necessary. If you're not a native speaker, find a beta reader to do the same. Remember that dialogue usually needs contractions, while narration only occasionally does.

Sometimes, a sentence will be technically correct but confusing. Don't cling to the fact it's technically correct, fix it. Grammar exists to help us communicate better. If it's not doing that, it's useless.

Remember, to post on this site you're accessing the internet. When you're not sure about a word, look it up. If you aren't certain how to spell a pokemon species, look it up. If you don't know some minor fact, look it up.

1/16/2010 . Edited 1/24/2010 #4
Farla

Dialogue:

This is the basic format of dialogue.

"Speech," she speech tag.

Notice that the start of speech has a capital letter. This is because it marks the beginning of the sentence, and you always capitalize the beginning of a sentence. It ends in a comma. This is because it's not the end of the sentence, and you don't use a period before the end of the sentence. And because it's not the start of a sentence, she is in lower case. The complete sentence includes the words after the quotation marks, and only then does it end in a period.

Speech is the words coming out of the person's mouth. Stuff like (panted) is not being said, so it doesn't belong there - if a person's panting, you can indicate this with the sound they might make at that point, like huff or by adding that they're panting in the narration outside of the quotation marks..

A speech tag is a verb (ie, an action) that indicates someone's talking and the manner they're doing so. Just because something's a verb doesn't make it a speech tag: "Hello," she ran is wrong. Even verbs that involve sound aren't all speech tags. Ask yourself if you could say a given sentence while doing the verb in question. Also, there are some speech tags that don't involve sound, like asked.

Sample speech tags:

said

whispered

yelled

asked

replied

Just because something is a speech tag doesn't mean you can always use it in dialogue. For example, asked requires a question, and replied can only be used in response to something else. Whispered and yelled aren't interchangeable. The only one that can be used in any circumstance is said. Said should be the primary speech verb you use, because it means nothing more than "a person spoke". The rest are modifiers on this concept: replied means a person spoke in response to someone else, whispered means a person spoke quietly. If you don't mean to draw the reader's attention to that modifier, you should default to said.

You may have seen long lists of alternate speech tags containing less used words. Please do not use those for reference. Generally, the reason the word is rarely seen is because sentences that need it are rare, not because it's a deep secret horded by the literary community that will improve your story when used.

Of particular note in this case is the word stated. In short, do not use stated.

One very common mistake people make is the idea stated is the same as said. The list above contains very common speech tags that are appropriate for a lot of sentences. Stated is an extremely rare speech tag that should only appear under certain narrow circumstances. It's very close in meaning to declared, but has an even narrower range of use. Stated can be used for a short, matter-of-fact declaration, ie, a statement. You may notice you don't see it in writing very often - this is because it's rarely the right word and is currently falling out of use except when used with a modifier, as in stated flatly. The normal word is mostly found these days in nonfiction documents.

Generally, just use declared for sentences you're thinking of using stated for. Or said.

Summary:

"Hello," she said. Right.

"Hello." She said. Wrong.

"Hello." she said. Wrong.

"Hello," She said. Wrong.

"Hello" she said. Wrong.

You should use said most of the time.

When not using said, use common speech tags.

Only use rare speech tags if they fit the sentence and the distinction is important.

If you're not sure if a speech tag fits, look it up in a dictionary.

Don't use stated.

1/16/2010 #5
Farla

Verbs and Speech Tags:

There are also a number of verbs that are generally not speech tags at all, but occasionally can be used as one.

Laugh is a good example here. You can only use laugh with one or two word sentences.

"No," she laughed: okay. You can manage a short word like no in the middle of a laugh.

"That was a good joke," she laughed: not okay. You can't manage multiple syllables and full sentences in the middle of a laugh.

In most cases, you want to use said or another speech tag and add laughed as a second verb. But this can also have problems.

"That was a good joke," she said, and laughed.

Here, she's just said it's a good joke, and then laughed, something people rarely do. She either doesn't think it's a good joke and is forcing a laugh, or her statement and laugh are sarcastic, or she is a robot that has to complete the joke analysis before she can decide to laugh. You might also just use this with a more reserved character, who wouldn't burst out laughing immediately.

She laughed. "That was a good joke," she said.

You're more likely to have situations where a person laughs, then speaks. Note that laughed ends in a period - more on that in the next section.

You can also indicate that she's laughing the whole time.

"That was a good joke," she said, laughing.

Laughing, unlike laughed, has -ing at the end, which makes it an ongoing action. If the joke was funny and she's laughing over it before and after she speaks, this is how you'd refer to it.

Why is this important? Because all three things mean different actions. If she laughs once or if she's laughing the whole time will change different characters and different situations. You may even write a story where you want "That was a good joke," she said, and laughed. and when you do, you're going to want people to know that was what you meant, not just that she was laughing at a joke.

If you write sloppily, people will just assume odd wording is an error on your part. And if enough other people write sloppily, people will get used to assuming all odd wording is an error on everyone's part, even if you personally are more careful.

Summary:

Not all verbs, even sound verbs, are speech tags.

If you want to use a verb as a speech tag, make sure it's possible to say your sentence in that manner.

If this is confusing you, just don't use a verb as a speech tag that you're unsure of. Pick a different speech tag to use and put the verb in the narration by itself, but pay attention to where you're putting the verb.

Minor changes can change the overall meaning

Farla wants to be able to write stuff like "That was a good joke," she said, and laughed. sometimes and have people know she means something different than just that a character both laughed and said a sentence. So please pay attention to what you write.

1/16/2010 #6
Farla

Other Verbs and Dialogue.

"Hello." She smiled.

If something isn't a speech tag, it's treated as a separate sentence. This means you end the dialogue with a period (because it's the end of that sentence) and then capitalize the next letter (because it's the start of that sentence).

This, not obscure speech tags, is the way you're supposed to break up the monotony of an endless string of he said/she said bit of dialogue.

Just because it's a separate sentence doesn't mean it's necessarily a separate paragraph. A very, very common error at this point is to misunderstand the rule about starting a new paragraph with a new speaker.

"Hello." She smiled. John smiled back.

"Hi," he said.

This is extremely confusing, and turns into an utter clusterfuck quite fast.

The rule about a new paragraph for a new speaker is just a specific example of the general rule that a new subject means a new paragraph. If you have one person speaking, then a different person's action should often go in a separate paragraph too. It should always go in a separate paragraph if the next paragraph involves them as the subject.

"Hello."

She smiled.

John smiled back.

"Hi," he said.

This is just as bad. Now, instead of it seeming like John is involved in her line of dialogue, or at least a separate character than the one speaking next, it's hard to easily link up actions with speakers at all. It's also bad paragraphing, just like it is if you write narration made up entirely of single line paragraphs.

"Hello." She smiled.

John smiled back. "Hi," he said.

This keeps all of John's actions together. You can think of the paragraphs as having the subject what this character did and what this other character did, because dialogue should be thought of as just a type of action characters can take.

You can put them in front of or after a line of dialogue or in the middle.

She smiled. "Hello. How are you?"

"Hello. How are you?" She smiled.

"Hello." She smiled. "How are you?"

Interrupting mid-sentence is trickier and will be covered in its own section.

Summary:

If something isn't a speech tag, you treat it and the dialogue as individual sentences, with standard sentence punctuation and capitalization.

Group a character's minor actions together with their dialogue, not that of a different character's or in a single short paragraph by itself.

Otherwise, verbs can be arranged as you like.

1/24/2010 #7
Farla

Other Punctuation:

"Speech!" she speech tag.

Here the dialogue has an ending punctuation on it in the form of an exclamation mark, as if it marks the end of the sentence. But she is still lower case.

Exclamation marks (and question marks) aren't necessarily the same as a period. It's possible to have them within a sentence, although in modern day writing it's rare. Here, the exclamation mark indicates that the preceding section is said loudly, while the following section is not.

"Speech," she speech tag!

This is clearly wrong, because it means the narration is being shouted just because the person is shouting.

"Speech!" She speech tag.

This is a more common error. When written like this, the capitalization indicates the two are separate sentences, so the given speech tag does not refer back to speech.

It's very important not to make this mistake, because there are going to be other times when you want to have a separate speech tag next to a line of dialogue.

"Stop!" She swore.

Here, she has shouted (something we know from the exclamation mark) and then swore. If it was written "Stop!" she swore then stop would have to be a swear.

Swore or cursed are probably where this will come up the most - either people are trying to avoid actually writing a swear, or they're of the camp that says such things work better as suggestions than explicit. But that's hardly the only use.

"Okay, I guess you have a right to know." She explained the situation.

Your characters (usually) won't be sharing a hive mind, so if something took place that only some of them know about, the other characters will need to be told about it before they know. However, the readers were there the whole time and generally don't want to keep hearing it over and over. At that point you want to just say that one character explained. But it's best to lead up to this naturally, often by starting off with a line of dialogue.

"What do you have there?" She screamed.

Another option is that you might want to write a section very tersely. Attention to detail is very important when you're using ? because that often will override a ! in a sentence instead of being written ?!, especially if, say, FFN decided to strip any excess punctuation this week.

Here, the meaning of the sentence is very different than "What do you have there?" she screamed. It's indicating she asked the question, and then screamed (presumably, she was shown it and it was something unpleasant).

Summary:

When using an exclamation mark, question mark, ellipsis or any other alternative punctuation to indicate how a sentence is said, you treat it as if it's a comma and don't capitalize the start of the narration.

"Hi!" she said. Right.

"Hi!" She said. Wrong.

However, if you mean the next speech tag to not refer to the dialogue, you treat it like it's a separate verb, which means capitalizing the start of the narration and using a period in place of a comma.

"Okay!" She explained. Right.

"Okay." She explained. Right.

"Okay," she explained. Wrong.

"Okay!" she explained. Wrong.

"Okay," She explained. Wrong.

1/24/2010 . Edited 3/26/2010 #8
Farla

Other Arrangements:

Similar to regular verbs, the placement of a speech tag can vary.

She speech tag, "Speech."

Notice that speech here is capitalized, even though it's coming after the apparent start of the sentence. Dialogue is treated as a separate internal sentence. You always capitalize the start of dialogue sentences regardless of if they're part of a larger sentence.

And sometimes, you'll want to put the speech tag between dialogue.

"Speech. Speech." = "Speech," she speech tag. "Speech."

This is the most common format. Here, the speech tag was put after the first sentence of dialogue and ends in a period.

Many people want to put a comma at the end, rather than a period, but the only time you do this is if you have a second speech tag in the sentence that modifies the following dialogue sentence. This lets you indicate how the original dialogue was broken up.

"Hi. This is it."

"Hi," she said. "This is it."

"Hi," she said, then said, "This is it."

Summary:

Speech tags can go at the start or end of a sentence. If at the start, you end the narration in a comma and the dialogue in a period.

She said, "Hello." Right.

She said. "Hello." Wrong.

She said, "Hello," Wrong.

She said. "Hello," Wrong.

When put between two lines of dialogue, the first speech tag only refers to the first half and then ends in a period.

"Hi," she said. "This is it." Right.

"Hi," she said, "This is it." Wrong.

For the narration to end in a comma, you need a second speech tag referring to the next section of dialogue.

"Hi," she said, adding, "This is it." Right.

"Hi," she said, adding. "This is it." Wrong.

1/24/2010 #9
Farla

Interrupting a Sentence.

At times you may want to interrupt a sentence. In this case, a number of things change.

"Hi. This is it."

"Hi. This," she said, "is it."

This may seem to be violating the rule about always capitalizing the start of dialogue. But that isn't the actual rule - the rule is to always capitalize the start of a sentence of dialogue, even when it's within another sentence. In this case, the start of the sentence is this, not it.

However, sometimes you'll have sentences that could be combined or separate. For example, what if it was written "Hi, this is it." ?

The simple answer is that when it could go either way, assume the sentences are separate. The addition of a speech tag acts as an extended pause, and people will read it as two separate sentences unless that's explicitly impossible, as in the case of this is it. When in doubt, treat them as separate sentences. Splitting a sentence is something you should only do rarely.

In the rare event you have to interrupt a sentence with something that isn't a speech tag, the format is unfortunately not yet standardized properly (likely because it's so rarely used). This is how you should do it:

"Hello. How..." She paused. "...are you?"

Also acceptable are dashes for a sudden break.

"Hello. How -" She looked around. "- are you?"

Again, this is rare and really shouldn't be showing up much in your dialogue. People don't pause mid-sentence to perform some other action except under very rare circumstances, and if they're just pausing, punctuation in the dialogue should cover it. For the most part, you can get across a pause with just an ellipsis

"Hello. How...are you?"

or even an ellipsis and repeating part of the sentence

"Hello. How...how are you?"

Summary:

Speech tag interruptions have commas on either side.

"Hi. This," she said, "is it." Right.

"Hi. This," she said. "is it." Wrong.

"Hi. This," she said, "Is it." Wrong.

If any other verb is used, an ellipsis or dash should be on either chunk of dialogue. The narration capitalized and end in a period.

"Hello. How..." She paused. "...are you?" Right.

"Hello. How..." She paused, "...are you?" Wrong.

"Hello. How..." she paused, "...are you?" Wrong.

"Hello. How..." She paused. "...Are you?" Wrong.

"Hello. How -" She looked around. "- are you?" Right.

"Hello. How -" She looked around, "- are you?" Wrong.

"Hello. How -" she looked around, "- are you?" Wrong.

"Hello. How -" She looked around. "- Are you?" Wrong.

1/24/2010 #10
Farla

If you don't know how to spell various pokemon species, here's a list. Copy it into whatever program you use and add everything to the dictionary.

bulbasaur

ivysaur

venusaur

charmander

charmeleon

charizard

squirtle

wartortle

blastoise

caterpie

metapod

butterfree

weedle

kakuna

beedrill

pidgey

pidgeotto

pidgeot

rattata

raticate

spearow

fearow

ekans

arbok

pikachu

raichu

sandshrew

sandslash

nidoran

nidorina

nidoqueen

nidorino

nidoking

clefairy

clefable

vulpix

ninetales

jigglypuff

wigglytuff

zubat

golbat

oddish

gloom

vileplume

paras

parasect

venonat

venomoth

diglett

dugtrio

meowth

persian

psyduck

golduck

mankey

primeape

growlithe

arcanine

poliwag

poliwhirl

poliwrath

abra

kadabra

alakazam

machop

machoke

machamp

bellsprout

weepinbell

victreebel

tentacool

tentacruel

geodude

graveler

golem

ponyta

rapidash

slowpoke

slowbro

magnemite

magneton

farfetch'd

doduo

dodrio

seel

dewgong

grimer

muk

shellder

cloyster

gastly

haunter

gengar

onix

drowzee

hypno

krabby

kingler

voltorb

electrode

exeggcute

exeggutor

cubone

marowak

hitmonlee

hitmonchan

lickitung

koffing

weezing

rhyhorn

rhydon

chansey

tangela

kangaskhan

horsea

seadra

goldeen

seaking

staryu

starmie

mr. mime

scyther

jynx

electabuzz

magmar

pinsir

tauros

magikarp

gyarados

lapras

ditto

eevee

vaporeon

jolteon

flareon

porygon

omanyte

omastar

kabuto

kabutops

aerodactyl

snorlax

articuno

zapdos

moltres

dratini

dragonair

dragonite

mewtwo

mew

chikorita

bayleef

meganium

cyndaquil

quilava

typhlosion

totodile

croconaw

feraligatr

sentret

furret

hoothoot

noctowl

ledyba

ledian

spinarak

ariados

crobat

chinchou

lanturn

pichu

cleffa

igglybuff

togepi

togetic

natu

xatu

mareep

flaaffy

ampharos

bellossom

marill

azumarill

sudowoodo

politoed

hoppip

skiploom

jumpluff

aipom

sunkern

sunflora

yanma

wooper

quagsire

espeon

umbreon

murkrow

slowking

misdreavus

unown

wobbuffet

girafarig

pineco

forretress

dunsparce

gligar

steelix

snubbull

granbull

qwilfish

scizor

shuckle

heracross

sneasel

teddiursa

ursaring

slugma

magcargo

swinub

piloswine

corsola

remoraid

octillery

delibird

mantine

skarmory

houndour

houndoom

kingdra

phanpy

donphan

porygon2

stantler

smeargle

tyrogue

hitmontop

smoochum

elekid

magby

miltank

blissey

raikou

entei

suicune

larvitar

pupitar

tyranitar

lugia

ho-oh

celebi

treecko

grovyle

sceptile

torchic

combusken

blaziken

mudkip

marshtomp

swampert

poochyena

mightyena

zigzagoon

linoone

wurmple

silcoon

beautifly

cascoon

dustox

lotad

lombre

ludicolo

seedot

nuzleaf

shiftry

taillow

swellow

wingull

pelipper

ralts

kirlia

gardevoir

surskit

masquerain

shroomish

breloom

slakoth

vigoroth

slaking

nincada

ninjask

shedinja

whismur

loudred

exploud

makuhita

hariyama

azurill

nosepass

skitty

delcatty

sableye

mawile

aron

lairon

aggron

meditite

medicham

electrike

manectric

plusle

minun

volbeat

illumise

roselia

gulpin

swalot

carvanha

sharpedo

wailmer

wailord

numel

camerupt

torkoal

spoink

grumpig

spinda

trapinch

vibrava

flygon

cacnea

cacturne

swablu

altaria

zangoose

seviper

lunatone

solrock

barboach

whiscash

corphish

crawdaunt

baltoy

claydol

lileep

cradily

anorith

armaldo

feebas

milotic

castform

kecleon

shuppet

banette

duskull

dusclops

tropius

chimecho

absol

wynaut

snorunt

glalie

spheal

sealeo

walrein

clamperl

huntail

gorebyss

relicanth

luvdisc

bagon

shelgon

salamence

beldum

metang

metagross

regirock

regice

registeel

latias

latios

kyogre

groudon

rayquaza

jirachi

deoxys

turtwig

grotle

torterra

chimchar

monferno

infernape

piplup

prinplup

empoleon

starly

staravia

staraptor

bidoof

bibarel

kricketot

kricketune

shinx

luxio

luxray

budew

roserade

cranidos

rampardos

shieldon

bastiodon

burmy

wormadam

mothim

combee

vespiquen

pachirisu

buizel

floatzel

cherubi

cherrim

shellos

gastrodon

ambipom

drifloon

drifblim

buneary

lopunny

mismagius

honchkrow

glameow

purugly

chingling

stunky

skuntank

bronzor

bronzong

bonsly

mime jr.

happiny

chatot

spiritomb

gible

gabite

garchomp

munchlax

riolu

lucario

hippopotas

hippowdon

skorupi

drapion

croagunk

toxicroak

carnivine

finneon

lumineon

mantyke

snover

abomasnow

weavile

magnezone

lickilicky

rhyperior

tangrowth

electivire

magmortar

togekiss

yanmega

leafeon

glaceon

gliscor

mamoswine

porygon-z

gallade

probopass

dusknoir

froslass

rotom

uxie

mesprit

azelf

dialga

palkia

heatran

regigigas

giratina

cresselia

phione

manaphy

darkrai

shaymin

arceus

4/22/2010 . Edited 3/9/2011 #11
Sessalisk

Sorry to reply to such an old post, but one thing caught my eye, and no one seems to have commented on it.

If any other verb is used, an ellipsis or dash should be on either chunk of dialogue. The narration capitalized and end in a period.

"Hello. How..." She paused. "...are you?" Right.

"Hello. How..." She paused, "...are you?" Wrong.

"Hello. How..." she paused, "...are you?" Wrong.

"Hello. How..." She paused. "...Are you?" Wrong.

"Hello. How -" She looked around. "- are you?" Right.

"Hello. How -" She looked around, "- are you?" Wrong.

"Hello. How -" she looked around, "- are you?" Wrong.

"Hello. How -" She looked around. "- Are you?" Wrong.

I've actually seen a couple of style guides which suggest that the em dash should be on the outside of the quotation marks rather than on the inside when you're interrupting the dialogue with an action and then picking it up again, and also, that the action should be treated as part of the ongoing sentence, ie. no capitalization at the start (with the obvious exception of a proper noun) or punctuation at the end. It seems a little counter-intuitive, even to me, though. Normally when you interrupt dialogue, the em dash goes inside the quotation marks, but to make a specific exception for when it's going to be picked up again after an action is kind of odd.

To be a little less obtuse, and give an actual example, it should be:

"Hello. How" - she looked around - "are you?"

Links to prove I'm not just pulling this out of my butt. lol:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xemG7BLk2rvAmQCREIaj5wX2ubv mVt7WziEvh7xXV9g/edit#heading=h.ch6t0m4mmwy

Otherwise, this whole thing seems pretty spot on. I'm glad there's a guide for proper dialogue punctuation here.

8/21/2012 #12
Farla

Style guides disagree because this is one of the areas that isn't nailed down yet. I don't see the other way done in the writing I come across, and more importantly, it's not consistent with the rest of how things work (and as the fucking Pokemon/pokemon thing shows, that kind of thing bleeds out and makes for related grammar screwups), so I'm going with treating dashes like every other punctuation.

8/21/2012 #13
Sessalisk

Yeah, the way you have in the guide is a lot more intuitive to me as well, and it's what I've been using up until this point. (The person who's helping me edit right now makes very precise and accurate comments about grammar and punctuation. He even took issue with the fact that I keep using hyphens in the place of em dashes, but never bothered to comment on the whole interrupted dialogue thing.)

Personally, I've been keeping an eye out for it in published fiction, now that I'm aware of the rule. (It's like when you just learn a new word and you start noticing that word everywhere, since you're paying attention to it! So neat!) I spotted one example in George R. R. Martin's A Feast For Crows, in one of Asha's chapters (I'm pretty sure, at least), and I think in China Miéville's Iron Council, and could look for it, if pressed, but in those doorstoppers it'd be kind of a hassle (besides, I lent my copy of Iron Council to a friend). Honestly, it's so rare that it hardly ever comes up anyway, and most people can easily just write around it by waiting until the end of a sentence to interrupt dialogue with an action rather than doing it in the middle.

8/21/2012 #14
Farla

My brother's got the pdfs of all those books, so I can do a search. I'd be depressed if that's where the pendulum's swung, though, it looks wrong and I just know it'll lead to more punctuation outside of quotation marks since people are bad enough about that already.

8/21/2012 #15
Sessalisk

Oh goodness, I know. I know a writer in another fandom, takes criticism very well and tries his darndest to make his stuff better based on the feedback we're giving him, a nice, polite fellow all things considered. The dialogue stuff always trips him up, though. Particularly, starting with narrative and then leading into dialogue, and he keeps dropping his commas. It's so frustrating when you've spent a couple of hours helping someone go through the errors, and even though they're slowly getting better and trying really hard to follow your advice, they keep making the same mistakes.

Sometimes, even if people are used to seeing things done right, they don't really pick it up until they make a conscious effort, I suppose. And even then, it probably takes practice to get into the habit.

8/21/2012 . Edited 8/22/2012 #16
Farla

I find it really all comes down to understanding what's going on and why it's a decision. Until that gets through, they'll keep messing up because it's like writing a language you don't speak, you don't have any frame of reference for what it's supposed to actually accomplish.

8/21/2012 #17
Sessalisk

I think that sometimes it's also that people are aware of why a mistake is wrong, what the correct way to do it would be, and are trying very hard not to do it anymore, but they haven't quite gotten themselves out of the bad habit yet. Kinda like potty training a kid who hasn't quite mastered the ability of not shitting his pants, except with slightly less shit. Another writer I know, his stories had absolutely awful formatting when he first showed them to me. The dialogue was punctuated like he'd filled a shotgun with commas and aimed it at the story at random; he kept using semicolons where a comma should be; I had no idea how to directly address his lack of direct address punctuation; and there were more comma splices than you could shake a flaming goat cock at. He was admirably diligent at improving his writing, however, and even though he picked up the dialogue mistakes a lot quicker than other people, he had trouble with the comma splices for the longest time. It just took a little more effort to hammer out that particular issue, and now that it's all done and over with, he can write very serviceable prose. (No offense meant by any of this, if you're reading it, James! This is all about that hack writer who can only be known as past you. You can punch future me in the face for it, if you'd like.)

Personally, I had a lot of trouble figuring out how to space dialogue correctly. The person who was helping me told me that he'd never seen anyone who wrote dialogue like that in his life (not a compliment, lol), and wondered where I'd even picked it up from. lol. It took him almost two weeks to get me to realise what I was doing wrong. I feel really stupid about it now, but I've been passing on the knowledge like a venereal disease, in the hopes that other people will do the same (give each other venereal disease, I mean, not feel stupid. I mean... Nevermind.).

8/21/2012 #18
Sessalisk

Aha. I actually went and re-read A Feast for Crows to find the exact passage:

"Often. And this"—Petyr gestured at the parchment—"is the proof of it." (221)

It's actually one of Sansa's chapters rather than Asha's, but it came right before the The Kraken's Daughter chapter, which is probably what got me mixed up.

I was also looking through Iron Council, and found this:

"It's nothing to me," said Curdin. "Be as rude as you want. But I tell you the truth, Jack"they were alone and he corrected himself"I tell you the truth, Ori. I'm worried. Seems to me you're going down a certain road. All your plays and puppets…" (91)

Recently I was reading through another book called Wolf and Iron. Not a very good book, but I found another one:

"Easy, I suppose. There had to have been more than a hundred of them. They let the wagon get right into the middle of where they were waiting, before they came out of the trees. It was just luck I was back, further than usual, heading in Missy"—she glanced for only a second at Jeebee—"you don't know her. We traded for her after you left us. She wasn't full-trained to staying with the wagon and so she'd stray—" (380)

Like I said before, it's pretty rare as a type of dialogue punctuation, so it's probably easier just to avoid using it.

9/2/2012 #19
aura of lucario

You are wrong. If you ever go to Pokemon.com you will see that they capitalize the species name as well as Pokemon such as dawn's Piplup.

Also if your going to bitch about every Pokemon story you read. Don't read them at all!!!!!!

1/26/2014 #20
Farla
You are wrong. If you ever go to Pokemon.com you will see that they capitalize the species name as well as Pokemon such as dawn's Piplup.

Also if your going to bitch about every Pokemon story you read. Don't read them at all!!!!!!

You know, I was going to yell at you for posting here instead of any of the other garbage threads designed to absorb this sort of thing, but then I realized you hadn't even capitalized Dawn's name. So let this stand forever. Stupid people, I give you your king.

1/29/2014 . Edited 1/29/2014 #21
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