Author Topic: Punctuation problem  (Read 6109 times)

Offline bob414bob

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Punctuation problem
« on: August 11, 2007, 06:37:01 PM »
Hi,
    I'm trying to write the following sentence, but I'm not sure how to punctuate it.  :-[

Have we displeased the gods, Eysha thought.

Should I have a question mark after gods, or even at all.
Please help, I've thought about for so long that my brain has fused. I keep going round in circles and can't think straight anymore.  :(

Offline BrigidMary

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Re: Punctuation problem
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2007, 08:22:32 PM »
Have we displeased the gods? Eysha thought.
Brigid Kemmerer
Author of <b><i>Storm: The Elemental Series</i></b>, coming April 24, 2012 from K Teen (Kensington Books)

Offline Mark H

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Re: Punctuation problem
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2007, 06:19:31 AM »
My grammar, punctuation, and spelling are rubbish, so I have been doing a bit of reading up.

One source I found said, treat thoughts as you would speech, but without the quotation marks.

I donít know if that is right but it gave me a simple rule I could work with.

Mark
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Offline Nick

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Re: Punctuation problem
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2007, 06:44:36 AM »
There is no one correct answer to this. Personally I would tend to go with your version:

Have we displeased the gods, Eysha thought.

BrigidMary's suggestion has some merit. However, you can get into problems if your novel includes lots of thoughts (as it probably will). You don't want to have half your novel in italics and the other half in normal type. I would only use this method in a short story (and probably not even then).

Some writers would put a question mark after gods:

Have we displeased the gods? Eysha thought.

However, putting a question mark in mid-sentence looks odd, and in this case there is a risk that the reader will think that 'Eysha thought' marks the start of a new sentence. Again, it's not wrong, but I wouldn't write it that way myself.

One thing that would be definitely wrong, though, is putting a question mark at the end of the sentence.

Have we displeased the gods, Eysha thought?

This sentence is not a question, so it cannot end with a question mark.

Hope that helps a bit anyway!

Nick  :)
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Re: Punctuation problem
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2007, 08:12:14 AM »
Bob,

In the US, we still use italics for thoughts. Though as Nick mentioned, wouldn't want to go over board with it. I tend to use it if the "person" is having a serious conversation with herself, and skip it for "lighter" thoughts.

Also, in the US we would likely put a question mark behind "gods."

One caution is if one is simply using the italic function rather than an italicized font, it will be lost if the doc is put in pdf format.

Nadine

Offline bob414bob

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Re: Punctuation problem
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2007, 09:31:23 AM »
Thanks guys. I'm going with, Have we displeased the gods, Eysha thought. It looked wrong with the question mark after gods, as Nick said, it looked like 'Eysha thought' was a whole new sentence.

Offline Arnie Birk

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Re: Punctuation problem
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2007, 02:58:21 PM »
Most of the time, when you encounter a problem like that, you'd be better off rewriting the darn ting. Besides the sentence already looks to me like a bit more telling than showing, or what do you think? You may try something like:

     Eysha stared at the lead-coloured clouds that seemed to gather from all directions: Had they displeased the Gods?

You may not need the colon in there, but I would suggest it anyway.

Regards,
Arnie
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