TIPSY Today™ Blog with Rogena & Colleen | A Footprint of RMJ Editing & Manuscript Service, Colleen Snibson Editing, and Two Red Pens Editing
I have a sentence—or is it a question?—where I need to know how to punctuate said sentence.
We have received our first Anything GRAMMAR question! And it's a great one.
Question from Darla:
If it's possible to do correctly, how do I punctuate a sentence where there's a question in the middle of the dialogue but the entire sentence isn't a question?
Here's the example:
"What can I say? Life is good ladies. And with one less fisherman, (or is it fisherwoman?), in the pond, I'm sure my fishing will improve greatly. So, here's to you and Amara, Thalia."
Or should I just find a totally different way to write what I'm trying to convey?
Answer from TIPSY Today—Anything GRAMMAR:
Thank you, Darla, for asking such a great question! So let's look at this closely.
First, you want a comma after the word good and before ladies. You need it to set off the name (ladies.)
It would be like this:
What can I say? Life is good, ladies.
The name of the person (or, in this case, the term 'ladies') addressed in a sentence is called the vocative case.
The next sentence would best be written like this:
And with one less fisherman—or is it fisherwoman?—in the pond, I'm sure my fishing will improve greatly. So, here's to you and Amara.
Personally, I would use the em dashes before and after the question in the middle. In addition, to offset it further, I would use italics. Doesn't that look nice? I would not use parenthesis in a novel (or rarely, at least.)
Notice, also, I removed "Thalia" at the end of your sentence. Using the name as an identifier here isn't necessary for the reader to know who the person is speaking to—assuming this since I don't know how the scene is set up.
So the end result would look like this:
"What can I say? Life is good, ladies. And with one less fisherman--or is it fisherwoman?—in the pond, I'm sure my fishing will improve greatly. So, here's to you and Amara."
I hope this helps!!
SPECIAL NOTE: Darla Baker is an author who is releasing her debut novel in June 2016. Follow her character's blog here: http://stonesoupcommunity.com/ask-thalia/. Thalia Chase is a fictional sex therapist in Nancy, KY from the series of upcoming novels by Darla Baker.
**Note: If the em dashes appear here as two dashes (--), it's due to the inconsistency of the blog software, unfortunately.
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