Write grammatically correct dialogue


I could feel the thrum of the bass speakers all through my body. When I spoke, I couldn’t even hear my own voice.
‘I am going to the bar,’ I shouted into the noise. ‘I intend to purchase a drink.’ Moopie didn’t stop dancing, but nodded, flicking sweat off her face.
‘That is a good idea,’ she said. ‘To change the subject – do you happen to know the name of the gentleman who was dancing with us?’
‘I am sorry,’ I said. ‘I am having a certain amount of difficulty hearing you.’
‘I was enquiring as to whether you knew the name of the gentleman who was recently dancing with us,’ yelled Moopie, leaning towards me. I hesitated for a moment. I knew who she meant, but I didn’t feel like talking about him, much less to him.
‘I do not know to whom you are referring,’ I said.

26 comments:

  1. That's quality stuff, right there.

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  2. Dunno what's funnier: This post, or the fact that every lit and writing teacher I've ever had *demanded* that we write this way despite every novel ever written to the contrary.

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  3. I don't get it what's so wrong about setting the story(*) in contemporary England?

    *) or as you call them, lorries

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  4. As far as I know, "towards" is not a word. Well done otherwise :)

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  5. British English, innit.

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  6. Well, this has led me towards (sic) reading the entry for toward/towards in the New Oxford American Dictionary, which has the following “word note” box:

    "It might seem pedantic to point out that toward is the correct U.S. spelling and towards is British. On the other hand, so many writers at all levels seem ignorant of the difference that always using toward is a costless, unpretentious way to signal your fluency in American English. It's the same with gray (U.S.) and grey (Brit.), though many Americans have been using these two interchangeably for so long that some U.S. dictionaries now list grey as a passable variant. This is not likely to happen with toward/towards, though—at least not in our lifetimes.
    — DFW”

    Assuming that DFW is David Foster Wallace (rather than some airport in Dallas), that’s good enough for me. As this seems to be a “gray” area, I’ll stick with “towards” on my stubbornly UK-English-centric blog.

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  7. This is funny, but not because of grammatical correctness. The dialogue's no more "grammatically correct" than you'd expect to find in an ordinary novel. It's just in a more formal register, which isn't the same thing at all, although a lot of people seem to think it is.

    As I say though, this is funny.

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  8. plying the 'said' gambit i see... ;)

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  9. I don't know what would be worse, this or grammatically correct internal monologue.

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  10. Oh, *please* can we have grammatically correct internal monologue? If for no other reason than to bring out the grammar sticklers: I've missed them.

    I'd been thinking of suggesting some kind of stream of consciousness post, mainly because that's what most of my emails seem to be.

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  11. Can I cast my vote for the grammatically correct internal monologue? Please, please, please!

    Some of us aren't clever (meaning me). We can live vicariously through your blog!

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  12. Moopie didn’t stop dancing, but nodded, flicking sweat off her face.

    Moopie?* Was anyone else thrown for a loop by that? Seriously--Moopie?


    *Grignr?**


    **If anyone gets that, I will be very, very happy.

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  13. The Antipodean, who likes making people happy,Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Hienrichs, does it count if I recognise it because I read it the last time you mentioned it?

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  14. Hahaha! It would have been better if you wrote it like most people write; then again it would have made me cringe!

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  15. It does indeed, Antipodean. It's always nice to know when I've corrupted someone. *grin*

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  16. "I knew _whom_ she meant", surely? ("She meant _him_")

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  17. MTE, Andrew. It glares, it does.

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  18. It sounds akin to two sufferers of Asperger's conversing.

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  19. Eric Van Listbader writes like this. Naff.

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  20. I hate it when stuff like this happens in a book. Not quite to the extent that it happens here, but it's really jarring when a hardass mercenary who swears and uses all sorts of rough slang will suddenly ask "To whom should I give this?"

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  21. I dare you to read that paragraph without pictuing them with monocles.

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