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Thread: Speech within speech

  1. #1
    Senior Member Gryphos's Avatar
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    Speech within speech

    We all know how to format dialogue – where the commas go, the appropriate case for 'said', etc. But I'm not entirely sure if the same rules apply to speech quoted within dialogue, like when a character is relaying what another character said.

    Would it be something like:
    "So that wasteman said, 'your shoes suck.'"
    or
    "So that wasteman said, 'your shoes suck'."
    or
    "So that wasteman said 'your shoes suck.'"
    or
    "So that wasteman said 'your shoes suck'."
    or something else entirely?

    It's just one of those things that's been bugging me forever.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Ireth's Avatar
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    My instincts tell me your first example is the right one.

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    Senior Member DragonOfTheAerie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gryphos View Post
    We all know how to format dialogue – where the commas go, the appropriate case for 'said', etc. But I'm not entirely sure if the same rules apply to speech quoted within dialogue, like when a character is relaying what another character said.

    Would it be something like:
    "So that wasteman said, 'your shoes suck.'"
    or
    "So that wasteman said, 'your shoes suck'."
    or
    "So that wasteman said 'your shoes suck.'"
    or
    "So that wasteman said 'your shoes suck'."
    or something else entirely?

    It's just one of those things that's been bugging me forever.
    Pretty sure it's the first one.
    i am a dragon with torn and broken wings,
    but i am still a dragon

  4. #4
    In the US the quotes go inside the comma.

    ((edit))

    Wow that was bad.

    In the US the comma goes inside the quotes.
    Last edited by Devor; 6-18-17 at 5:08 PM.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member CupofJoe's Avatar
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    I think it's this one
    "So that wasteman said 'your shoes suck'."
    but there again
    I also think it should be
    'So that wasteman said "your shoes suck".'
    [Maybe because my professional work in on-line and ' ' is thought clearer than " " on screens]
    I'd only add a comma if I wanted to emphasise a pause in what was being said.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Butterfly's Avatar
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    It's the second one (for American publishing).

    "So that wasteman said, 'your shoes suck'."

    Double speech marks outside the full sentence. The comma to break off to the quote from someone else, with a single quote mark to indicate the quote, and closing off. The full stop outside the quote because it is the end of the full sentence, and the closing speech marks from the person speaking.

    It you were publishing in Britain, then the speech marks/quote marks, would be inverted, to single and double rather than double to single.
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  7. Thanks Rkcapps, Gryphos, Steerpike thanked for this post
  8. #7
    Member Rkcapps's Avatar
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    Must say my instincts agree with Butterfly.

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