I wanted to hear him say "Welcome,.."

llynellen

New Member
English-USA
I have a question regarding quotation marks v.s. italics. Which should be used when the quote is imagined and did not actually occur? Here is a an example:
I wanted to hear him say "Welcome, I'm glad you could make it." If I had been greeted this way, I would have said "Thank you for the invitation." Instead, he didn't even look at my face and slurred his words saying "It's about time."
The "Welcome..." and "Thank you..." portions are not exactly quotations. They are imaginary conversations. So, is it more appropriate to put these words in italics, or leave them in quotation marks? Could the same rules apply to sentences beginning with; I thought I heard him say, or I imagined him saying. I know I could rewrite the sentence to read: I wanted to hear him say he was glad to see me. But, that is not the solution I'm looking for. All help appreciated. Thanks
 
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  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    This is more style than grammar, so I don't know if your question or my response will survive moderator scrutiny. But I had to decide on this myself when I was editing a book a couple of years ago. I decided to drop the quotation marks and use italics for speech that wasn't spoken but only imagined. I do, however, put a comma after "say": I wanted to hear him say, Welcome, I'm glad you could make it.

    Note that this was a personal decision that doesn't follow any rule I know of -- but you can do most anything as long as you're consistent and the reader can follow your conventions. Welcome to the forum. :)
     
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    Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I will concur with Copyright. It is a matter of style selection which dictates how you want to handle it. The important concern is being consistent. Otherwise, you will have a befuddled proofreader. I do prefer to use italics to convey speech such as a monologue which is imagined. I did make one exception in a scene where a couple were parked in a lovers' lane and he was trying to carrry on a seduction in a rumble seat. It worked as italics because the scene lasted six pages and a pair of eavesdropper kids were having a conversation about it, in quotes as it occurred.
     

    llynellen

    New Member
    English-USA
    Thank you very much. My first reaction was to go with quotation marks, if either were acceptable, because my personal feeling is that italics soften voice. The scene in my writing piece was one of strong conflict. However, there was one two word phrase that could only be italics, so I went with italics all around. I'm very glad you are out there and willing to assist. I don't know what I can do in exchange... bake cookies?
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Mine accepts cookies, but only semi-sweet, chocolate-chip.

    Regarding style points, I understand what you're saying about the softer look of italics, but I was swayed by wanting something visually different for speech that was imagined rather than spoken. I thought having quote marks for both would make it just a little more difficult for the reader.
     
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