Q. Dear CMOS, I’m proofreading a reissue of a children’s mystery novel. The following appears in the original edition: “I said don’t move.” Is this styled and punctuated correctly? I feel I should recast it to “I said, ‘Don’t move.’ ” But something about the brevity of the command “don’t move” makes me waver and want to leave it as is (or find another punctuation style), treating the line as one might treat “I said no.” I can’t seem to wrap my head around this. Help! Many thanks.
A. Yes, the more simple punctuation is appropriate here. The strictly correct punctuation and capping might seem pedantic in that context.