In writing, how do you punctuate thoughts?

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  1. FaithDream profile image76
    FaithDreamposted 7 years ago

    In writing, how do you punctuate thoughts?

    Should the "narrator" put their character's thoughts in quotation marks similar to dialogue or leave it out? Just wondering what is the proper use of punctuation for writing out thoughts.

  2. jhlewis13 profile image59
    jhlewis13posted 7 years ago

    I have seen some narrators or authors put their character's thoughts in italics and without quotations. That way it is set apart from the dialogue and the reader can differentiate between inner thoughts and spoken words.

  3. rlaha profile image65
    rlahaposted 7 years ago

    I have seen authors put characters' thoughts in italics or in quotations. As long as you keep the format the same throughout the piece that you are writing, I do not think it matters too much.  Good luck!

  4. MatthewLeo1701 profile image80
    MatthewLeo1701posted 7 years ago

    Quotation marks are for dialogue that can be heard openly. If they character is voicing out loud, always use quotations. Italics should be used for a characters inner most thoughts of the moment only.

  5. rtaflooring profile image58
    rtaflooringposted 7 years ago

    Exactly the same way.. actually it's depends on how you explain your thoughts..

  6. leenamartha profile image37
    leenamarthaposted 7 years ago

    It's totally depends on your thought how you explain that.

  7. suzy-Moon profile image61
    suzy-Moonposted 7 years ago

    Narrators often change their fonts to italics and sometimes capitalize their inner thoughts as in here: "THIS IS IT, THIS IS WHAT I WAS WAITING FOR, were Sally's thought when she discovered her friends secrets."
    Have also noted the use of a colon (smile " As the rain washed his face , all he could think of  was this: it is this life or the next."

  8. ackman1465 profile image59
    ackman1465posted 7 years ago

    I just leave adequate blank space... and when the reader gets to that part, they can divine what I was thinking.   Like this:

    Whilest making my reply to FaithDream's hub, I couldn't help thinking:"   "     

    I had never had such thoughts before, and felt ashamed that I'd had them this time....

  9. BKHartman profile image61
    BKHartmanposted 7 years ago

    I use italics for my characters' thoughts.

  10. Diana Lee profile image80
    Diana Leeposted 7 years ago

    Not sure if this is standard practice or not. But unless I'm using first person which is the story tellers personal thoughts anyways, I may write,(She knows this or She thinks.....) right into the paragraph. When a character speaks I use quotation marks to separate dialogue from the written text. Some writer's separate each entry of dialogue with text while others separate dialogue with spaces between each like you would separate paragraphs without even noting who said what. This is a bit confusing to the reader and to the writer when reading it back. I always try to make it clear who is talking by putting text between the dialogue sentences. By doing this you can detail thoughts as well as what is actually said out loud.

  11. LaurenEC profile image61
    LaurenECposted 7 years ago

    I think that this comes up as an issue because there isn't one standard way that everybody uses (that I've come across, anyway). A few are more commonly used:

    1. Nothing. -- e.g. You never knew what people would come up with, Sam thought.

    2. Italics. -- Everything except the tag (Sam thought) italicized.

    3. Some other quotations substitute. -- This is most common in the fantasy or sci-fi genres when some sort of telepathy is being used. e.g. Using :: or [ ]  in place of quotes.

    Some people use quotations to show thoughts, but this can quickly become confusing unless you use something else in addition to differentiate them from spoken words. And, if you're just going to use something else anyway, then (my opinion) you might as well just use one of the other ways of showing them and leave off the quote marks.

    Also, I've used an example with tags, but the tags themselves don't have to be used either. It's pretty clear to the reader that in, "The options had been laid out. But how was she supposed to know what to do? She bit her lip," part of it is taking place in her head.

    Ultimately, it's up to you to decide how you want to show this since there's some flexibility. Regardless of what you pick, your readers will thank you if you make it clear when something is being thought v. spoken. Hope this helps!


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