Quotations and Dialogue
Q. What is the correct way to format this sentence? When she cried, “That’s not fair!,” he merely shrugged. Where would the comma go? Both inside and outside the quotation marks look wrong, as does omitting it altogether.
Q. I received the following instruction from a production editor regarding a manuscript I was assigned for copyediting: “Only one character speaks British English, and unless he’s in dialogue the spelling should be American.”
I’ve always been under the impression that house style rules and spelling style should be maintained even if a character is British in an American text. How should I approach this?
Q. How does one quote from an interview in which the interviewee uses the word “hashtag”? For example, “Anyone can do it, hashtag, write your own story,” with the hashtag being #WriteYourOwnStory.
Q. I’m writing a book about Civil War recipients of the Medal of Honor, about forty of whom had their narratives reproduced in two postwar books published before 1910. These narratives have also appeared in books that were published more recently and remain under copyright. Can I use the numerous accounts (quoted in the men’s own words) from the earlier editions without obtaining the reprint publisher’s permission?
Q. Would Chicago weigh in on whether a comma can be used to introduce a block quotation? The second example in CMOS 13.23 suggests that this is acceptable when the quotation continues from the paragraph that introduces it. But what about situations like the following?
According to commentator Jean Smith,
Life for many in the province has been increasingly difficult for nearly a decade . . .
This question has been debated in the forums for years, so we would all love to have some light shed on the subject!
Q. My author wants to know whether a comma is called for in constructions like the following, where a conjunction follows the dialogue tag but doesn’t introduce an independent clause: “It’s very clear,” she replied[,] and moved off to a nearby tree. I tend to think it’s needed but can’t articulate why. I also think it needs to be “she replied, and THEN moved off.” Can you help?
Q. I recently became aware that many sources insist one absolutely must use a comma after “said” to punctuate sentences like this one: She looked up and said, “Hi.” Is this really a universal rule? The more I look into it, the more I feel I’ve slipped into an alternate universe.
Q. I can’t get a consensus from fellow professional editors on how to punctuate the following sentence:
“So up there,” Joe pointed at the window, “that was you waving at me?”
Since there isn’t a dialogue tag, some say to use em dashes per CMOS 6.87.
However, I believe em dashes should be reserved for special emphasis, and pointing isn’t important. Changing the wording changes the author’s consistent writing style.
It’s obvious that Joe is speaking, so why would we need a dialogue tag as well as the action beat in order to use commas? Can’t we eliminate “said” if it’s clear who is speaking and only use the action beat?
Thank you very much for your help.
Q. CMOS 6.65: “A colon may also be used to introduce a quotation or a direct but unquoted question, especially where the introduction constitutes a grammatically complete sentence.” MUST a colon be used or is a period after the introductory sentence also correct?
Q. When a quotation is introduced with “According to So-and-So” or “As So-and-So said,” is the first word capitalized?