Dialogue Tags

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Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2015 9:50 pm
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Wed Sep 18, 2019 7:11 pm Post

I'm in no way contradicting @brookter; but I have a different view. Note the semicolon between my clauses :-)

I'd edit this as:

"I’m on my way now," Lizzie said. "But make sure the door is locked and have your Beretta in hand ready to go."

The two clauses in:

"I’m on my way now, but make sure the door is locked and have your Beretta in hand ready to go."

can easily be separated, and because semicolons in dialogue are generally not a good look – I use them endlessly elsewhere – I prefer to separate them, as above.

That said, personally, I'd remove the "but". Hence:

"I’m on my way now," Lizzie said. "Make sure the door's locked. And have your Beretta ready to go."

There's immediacy in short sentences, which is what this sentence seems to require. (I removed the "in hand" mainly because it wrecks the rhythm (which I regard as important) – say both options aloud to hear the difference.)

ymmv, etc.

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Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:22 pm
Platform: Mac

Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:42 am Post

Oh, I don't think there's any doubt the sentence can be rewritten, and of course you're right that if you split it into two sentences, you punctuate it the way you suggest.

But that's a more a stylistic matter (which way do I split the quotation?) than a grammatical one (how do I punctuate it when I've chosen to split it *this* way?), which I gathered was the point of the question.

It's all good stuff, though. Thanks!