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Old 03-09-2006, 01:57 AM
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Dialogue Question


This is a problem I've been wondering about for a few days.

What is the proper way to write dialogue when the character is putting emphasis on certain words in their speech? Do you put it in caps or slant it, or what?

Thanks!

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Old 03-09-2006, 04:28 AM
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Well, in traditional print, bold, caps, italics (the professional term for "slant") appear to be frowned on. When they are employed, they aren't always employed the way I find logical: for example, the word before the one I'd consider naturally emphasized being bolded or put into italics.

Online, I've tried a variety of things. Italics, I find, don't work very well, since italics, the same way as serif fonts, were developed for "on paper" reading and don't work as well on screen, because screens are based on pixel display, not ink flow.

So, my personal solutions - which I have refrained from using here but guess will from now on - have been either bold (I do wish there was something like a medium or semi bold;the current bold attribute produces a more heavy text than I really like) or CAPS or, in extreme cases BOLDED CAPS - with the last really being similar to one of those heavy duty road work jack hammers.

They kind of tool you'd use when you really, really have to drive the message home - and suspect that anything less than "hit 'em over the head multiple times" won't work. Not really one of my favourites; I prefer more subtle approaches.

Anyhow, that's just what I do - I, to, am curious about others approaches.
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Old 03-09-2006, 06:13 AM
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I think italics is the standard for emphasizing a word in dialogue.
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Old 03-09-2006, 08:53 AM
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what i do and i might be wrong if my character wants to make something stand out then i will pause the dialog like this. "No....... then start back up to focus on the second and more important part.
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Old 03-09-2006, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by kellykat60409
what i do and i might be wrong if my character wants to make something stand out then i will pause the dialog like this. "No....... then start back up to focus on the second and more important part.
I'm not sure I know what you mean. Using more than three periods is generally incorrect. The traditional three dots is called an ellipsis, and it is meant to indicate a part of a quotation that has been cut out but is understood ("she looked ... sad", where the ellipsis refers to extra but unneeded words like "she looked especially, terribly sad"). An ellipsis can also be used to indicate a pause in a person's speech. Another use is to show a sentence is trailing off and ending in some kind of silence, whether spooky or awkward or whatnot. "I told you not to do that..."

Bottom line, an ellipsis is not meant to have more than three dots and it is also not meant to make something "stand out". You should use italics, bold, or underline (preferably italics since that is somewhat standard) if you're going for emphasis.
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Old 04-25-2006, 07:11 AM
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What I think is the most effective is using italics. When I read something with italics, I know that the word is then overemphasized. (Is that a word?)
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Old 04-26-2006, 09:16 AM
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italics are good.

In books where people think in italics, I've seen them put the word in nomal font to make it stand out... it looks weird...

Generally, it depends on how I want the word emphasized. If it's louder, caps. If it's sarcastic or something, in italics.
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