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Spaulding

How do you do this simple little thing?

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This is where my grammarly-challenged smacks me in the face. 

 

Ever have a character walk by a billboard and read it? Or a package? A T-shirt or an apron? How do you fit what the words say into the paragraph?

 

I just want Spaulding (MC) to read Charlie's apron. Instead, I have to make it three paragraphs, but I'm pretty sure it can be done in two. Maybe even in one.

 

Here's what I have. Can you teach me how to do it the normal way, instead of my grammarly-challenged way?

 

Quick setup. Spaulding and friends were away for a few days, Charlie and some human scouts, (the stuffed animals have cub scouts too, so that's why "human" is an important distinction), are serving them a nice meal on wooden crates turned into tables. Crates that Charlie brought for them while they were away.

Quote

 

"Dinner is served." Charlie placed a plastic bowl on the table and ladled large globs of chunky-red rice in it. "Do you like the crates?"

 

A human cub scout set plates, utensils, and Dixie cups, blocking Spaulding's view. When he backed up, Spaulding read Charlie's apron.

 

"La cocina de Charlie!"

 

 

 

 

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Spaulding, I would honestly say that the way you've handled this is actually great. But, I will try to answer some of your questions. I'm pretty sure that others will provide better answers. 

14 minutes ago, Spaulding said:

Can you teach me how to do it the normal way

Sadly, this is where writing stumbles into the realm of art. There is no right or wrong way to do this. So, unfortunately, the question really is how do you want to handle it?

 

Having said that, I feel that there are two ways you can approach it: tell or show. The result will depend upon which of these you want to follow. 

 

20 minutes ago, Spaulding said:

I have to make it three paragraphs, but I'm pretty sure it can be done in two. Maybe even in one.

The way I'm reading it, the laying out of plates etc. is not actually setting up the apron. It's action that's setting up the lay-out of the table. 

23 minutes ago, Spaulding said:

When he backed up, Spaulding read Charlie's apron.

 

"La cocina de Charlie!"

My only comments here will be that "he" can be a bit ambiguous (is it Charlie, Spaulding or the human boy scout?), and that this is the first mention of the apron (in the extract you've shared, that is). What I would suggest is give a little more info about the apron (color, for example) and maybe what the letters/slogan looks like (curly, square, slanted, etc.)

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You could have something like, "Spaulding watched as Charlie ladled chunky red rice into bowls. Charlie's apron had " Cocina De Charlie" embroidered on the front." Something like that, anyway. Keeps it short, which is what I think you want.

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Charlie appeared from the kitchen bearing a plastic bowl and wearing an apron which said ""La cocina de Charlie!". "Dinner is served!" he said. Charlie placed the bowl on the table and ladled large globs of chunky-red rice in it. "Do you like the crates?"

 

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Or you could simply put a comma after "apron" and follow it with "La cocina de Charlie."

 

When he backed up, Spaulding read Charlie's apron, "La Cocina de Charlie."

 

And the period goes inside the closing quotation mark.

 

Having two sets of quotation marks, one reading the apron and the other announcing dinner, within the same paragraph creates confusion for the reader. At least, it did for me.

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So what is written on the apron is in quotes? (Very grammarly-challenged. :$) It doesn't need its own paragraph? And, it's good to keep it out of the same paragraph as Charlie speaking?

 

(And, yup. I did get the pronoun "he" was confusing. Weirdly, that is grammar I understand... except I don't notice it when I do it. o_O)

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2 hours ago, Spaulding said:

So what is written on the apron is in quotes? (Very grammarly-challenged. :$) It doesn't need its own paragraph?


Yes. No. ;)

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To be explicit, I'd probably do it one of two ways (and they're just preferences, really):

A: Charlie appeared from the kitchen bearing a plastic bowl and wearing an apron which said ""La cocina de Charlie!". "Dinner is served!" he said. Charlie placed the bowl on the table and ladled large globs of chunky-red rice in it. "Do you like the crates?"

B: Charlie appeared from the kitchen bearing a plastic bowl and wearing an apron which said ""La cocina de Charlie!". 

"Dinner is served!" he said. Charlie placed the bowl on the table and ladled large globs of chunky-red rice in it. "Do you like the crates?"

I lean toward the former myself as it's all stuff done and said by Charlie and it flows organicly as one paragraph to my eye.

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Just now, Johne said:

"La cocina de Charlie!".


If you're curious, I rendered this clause in this fashion because the exclamation point is the text of the shirt and the period goes outside the quotation marks in that scenario (indeed, the British punctuate with the punctuation marks outside quotation marks instead of inside).

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If I remember correctly, because a question mark is a final punctuation mark, even though it is inside the single quotation mark, the period is not needed. But a space between the single and the double quotation mark is now acceptable. Makes it easier for the reader.

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Well, if y'all are going to tackle the hard stuff for someone this grammarly-challenged, want to teach me how to write this sentence?

 

Quote

Phil wanted an answer to "Where is Jesus?", but no one understood the question.

 

When I talk, I often put questions in the middle of the sentence. When I write, I have no clue how to punctuate, so go through conniptions to avoid doing it. It's annoying, but not something I can google, simply because I don't know what would capture the question to ask it.

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Could you do something like, "Where is Jesus?" Phil asked, but nobody understood the question.

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22 hours ago, Zee said:

Could you do something like, "Where is Jesus?" Phil asked, but nobody understood the question.

That's what I do, but I keep thinking if it's a complete sentence when I say it, it's a complete sentence when I write it. My problem is not knowing how to punctuate it.

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Phil wanted an answer to "Where is Jesus?", but no one understood the question.

 

This is from "TheEditorsBlog.net." It's not exactly the same construction, but it is a question followed by more sentence. It's the same pattern.

 

Questions in dialogue, with dialogue tag
Question mark is inside quotation marks. There is no comma. The tag doesn’t begin with a cap since it’s part of the same sentence, even though there’s a question mark in the middle of the sentence.

Use this same construction for the exclamation point.

“He loved you?” she asked, the loathing clear in her voice and posture.

“He loved you!” she said, pointing a finger at Sally.

 

CMOS (16th ed.) addresses the issue in section 6.119.

“When a question mark or exclamation point appears at the end of a quotation where a comma would normally appear, the comma is omitted . . .”

 

Back to me:

Only if a question mark or exclamation point is part of a title being quoted would the comma follow the QM or the EP. In the question we are answering, no comma after the question.

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On 9/9/2019 at 4:53 PM, carolinamtne said:

Phil wanted an answer to "Where is Jesus?", but no one understood the question.

 

This is from "TheEditorsBlog.net." It's not exactly the same construction, but it is a question followed by more sentence. It's the same pattern.

 

Questions in dialogue, with dialogue tag
Question mark is inside quotation marks. There is no comma. The tag doesn’t begin with a cap since it’s part of the same sentence, even though there’s a question mark in the middle of the sentence.

Use this same construction for the exclamation point.

“He loved you?” she asked, the loathing clear in her voice and posture.

“He loved you!” she said, pointing a finger at Sally.

 

CMOS (16th ed.) addresses the issue in section 6.119.

“When a question mark or exclamation point appears at the end of a quotation where a comma would normally appear, the comma is omitted . . .”

 

Back to me:

Only if a question mark or exclamation point is part of a title being quoted would the comma follow the QM or the EP. In the question we are answering, no comma after the question.

I'm good when it comes to dialogue when it comes in the beginning or the end of a sentence. It's in the middle I don't get.

 

How about something like this?

Quote

George said, "The starter is bad," but the mechanic gave him another battery for his car.

And I keep thinking I might be giving the right punctuation, but this is one spot I don't ever recall being taught how to do it right.

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Treat the quotation in the middle as an explanatory phrase in the middle of the sentence by putting a comma on each end, unless the quotation ends in a question mark or an exclamation mark (now called "point").

 

George said, "The starter is bad," but the mechanic gave him another battery for his car.

George questioned, "Is the battery bad?" but the mechanic charged him for another battery anyway.

George shouted, "But the battery is not bad!" but the mechanic just shrugged and handed him the bill.

 

Isn't punctuation fun?!

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3 hours ago, carolinamtne said:

George shouted, "But the battery is not bad!" but the mechanic just shrugged and handed him the bill.

Ohh ... I don't like this mechanic :( 

 

And yes, punctuation is fun :) 

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22 hours ago, carolinamtne said:

Treat the quotation in the middle as an explanatory phrase in the middle of the sentence by putting a comma on each end, unless the quotation ends in a question mark or an exclamation mark (now called "point").

 

George said, "The starter is bad," but the mechanic gave him another battery for his car.

George questioned, "Is the battery bad?" but the mechanic charged him for another battery anyway.

George shouted, "But the battery is not bad!" but the mechanic just shrugged and handed him the bill.

 

Isn't punctuation fun?!

NO! :$ 

 

I know there was a time when there was no punctuation. I want to go back to those times, except I couldn't write in that language. xD

 

(But I am beginning to get it.)

Edited by Spaulding
Sent, before finished.

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20 hours ago, carolinamtne said:

eveninenglishwithnopunctuationorspacesitcouldbehardtounderstandidontwanttogobacktothosetimes.

 

cmplctthmttrbntncldngnvwls

Sadly, I understood that easier. But then there is Letseatgrandma. xD

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18 hours ago, carolinamtne said:

I don't even remember what this was supposed to say.

I got "complicating the matter by not including any vowels." Close? xD

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"Dinner's served. You like the crates?" Charlie slapped a huge glob of red rice into the plastic bowl, splashing some onto his apron. One grain made a perfect bull's-eye in the 'o' in "La Cocina de Charlie."

 

Avoid the problem, altogether...

Edited by Wes B
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3 hours ago, Spaulding said:

"complicating the matter by not including any vowels."

Yes, that was it. When I reread what I wrote above, it came back to me.

 

2 hours ago, Wes B said:

Avoid the problem, altogether.

That works for me!

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