Friday, August 05, 2005

A Note on Gay Commas

Gay being, of course, the updated
term for inverted. All right, today's
lesson is in direct speech, dialogue,
quotation marks. Quotation marks
are loud and jabby and indicate
in a forceful way that a character
is talking:

"Let's wrestle naked on the beach," he said.
"Okay, my shirt tails are tucked out already."
They hurtled themselves through the surf
and no one lost an eye.

If I write the same thing without
quotation marks:

Let's wrestle naked on the beach, he said.
Okay, my shirt tails are tucked out already.
They hurtled themselves...

This has a quieter look on the page. It
reads more like observed or overheard
dialogue. It reads like a diary or notes.
It's almost whispered. There's an intimacy,
the reader is on the beach with the

This diary feel also pertains to the
apostrophe. I'm reading Truman
Capote's letters, and
he often omits apostrophes. It feels
casual, less published, more intimate.

I do hope youre all eating the
fresh ontario corn.


Anonymous caitlin said...

i'm all for using a combination of quotations with and without marks. including quotations marked with an opening dash.

- like this, she said.

grammar is for grammarians. in my mind, people who get annoyed by missing apostrophes (annoyed enough to write a letter of complaint) are akin to those who think that dialect should be edited into "proper" (upperclass brit) english for ease of reading.

1:21 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Do you also think that corn is only for the corny, Caitlin?" the nonBrit wondered aloud in MHardyWinter's blog.

3:49 p.m.  
Anonymous mediocoremax said...

I have some nice corn, right next to my house. You are very welcome to come and have some next time your in the Mt. Pleasant area. I like when the words, just 'come-out', the way, they do.

5:01 p.m.  
Anonymous caitlin said...

yup corn is for the corny just as horn is for the horny.

7:07 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is this fisticuffs over punctuation? Sir, you have broken my nose. Yet the apostrophe and colon remain intact.

12:01 p.m.  

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