Concering sentence breakoffs

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Concering sentence breakoffs

Post by ebyss on Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:16 am

The reason I am asking this is because I have seen it both ways. Also, I was wondering if these types of sentences require punctuation.

"I like to pick--" Or is it "I like to pick-" Now which is it during a dialogue break off? Is it one hyphen or two hyphens, and do you put a period or question mark or whatever the sentence calls for.
ie:

"I like to pick-." Or "Do you like-?" Just as examples.

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Re: Concering sentence breakoffs

Post by NaClmine on Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:40 am

Go to the Reference Links section and click on the "En & Em Dash". There are three different "dashes" used in punctuation; the "em dash", the "en dash" and the dash (hyphen). They are not interchangeable. The double dash (as you used) is actually a substitution used in manuscripts for the EM dash. In print, the double dash would be replaced by the longer, single line.

As far as usage in dialog, the nature of the break dictates the use of the Em dash vs the ellipsis. For example, a hard break in speaking would use the em dash; something like the speaker getting bonked on the head by a baseball bat while speaking. A soft break during dialog, like the character hesitating to tell a boyfriend that she might be pregnant, would better use an ellipsis.

I'd suggest you study the em dash and the ellipsis as they are often used in similar grammatical neighborhoods.
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Re: Concering sentence breakoffs

Post by ebyss on Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:58 am

Yes, I looked on the references, but I did not see anything about break off in dialogues.

You did answer my question, so thanks again.

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Re: Concering sentence breakoffs

Post by NaClmine on Mon Mar 16, 2009 11:38 am

Sorry ebyss, I was only looking at the form of the dashes you used and I missed the second part of your question about the question mark. As far as using a question mark after an Em dash, if the sentence was not completed, then there would be no question mark. In essence, the em dash would be your final punctuation before the closing quote showing the abrupt break in dialog.

"No, John, please don't! Where do you think I got--"
Wham! A dull thud ended Randy's explanation.
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Re: Concering sentence breakoffs

Post by ebyss on Mon Mar 16, 2009 12:16 pm

Thank you once again. You are a great help.

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