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Grammar: Quotation Marks

My whole world has been turned upside down over the course of a few hours. Ever since I was a young twat, I have been reading and reading and reading, books large and small, fat and tall, full and thin. Never have I ever decided to analyze a fictional book for grammar until today. Never had I ever taken notice of the grammar usage in books, specifically the quotation marks around character dialogue.

My world has been flipped, the disaster triggered by a simple observation I made while re-reading the Fablehaven series, written by Brandon Mull. A very simple observation with very simple rules behind it that has a very simple explanation involving something I had always believed myself to be proficient in; grammar.

While many people will laugh in my face and tell me that I am a fool for not noticing sooner, I shall explain to you the epiphany I came to just yesterday. (Or was it the day before?) While reading books, I never thought to pay attention to the grammar that finished, or continued, a line of dialogue. The obvious things stuck out to me: the use of quotation marks, the creation of a new paragraph whenever a new character spoke, and even the importance of understanding exclamation marks and question marks. However, I suppose the simplest things would be the ones that slipped my notice. The commas! The capitalization! Despair is all that I can feel now that it has come to light in my mind. Here, I shall give a demonstration of something I may have written just a few days ago and believed to be alright

Dru grasped his friend’s wrist, forcing her to turn around and stare into his eyes. “Terry, please, come with me.” He said, placing his hands over hers with a plea in his eyes. “You’ll die if you go alone!”

Just looking at this now causes me pain. Oh, the humanity that I have been subject to for all these years! Now, to prove my point, I will rewrite the previous passage in a grammatically correct way, and allow you the laugh that many others will already have had just looking at the passage.

Dru grasped his friend’s wrist, forcing her to turn around and stare into his eyes, “Terry, please, come with me,” he said, placing his hands over hers with a plea in his eyes. “You’ll die if you go alone!”¬†

Do you see it now? That, which causes me so much pain, is what was held right in front of my face for all of these years–so close, yet so far. Never had the thought occurred to me that two quotes, two pieces of dialogue, or two fragments of a sentence, could be, nay, should be a part of the same sentence! What a fool I’ve been, how much pain I’ve caused–simply due to the one observation my brain was too foolish to come across. Commas! The curse brought about by the ancients on the English language.

Laugh all you’d like. I’ve already laughed my fill. Foolish self, duped by my own self-confidence. Let this be a lesson to all–YOU NEVER KNOW EVERYTHING!

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