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In literature, when someone is thinking something to themselves...

(18 Posts)
joshandjamie Mon 04-Feb-13 09:33:07

should their thoughts go in speech marks? For example:

'He really is an ugly man,' Linda thought to herself. Or is it:
He really is an ugly man, Linda thought to herself.

starsandunicorns Mon 04-Feb-13 12:34:27

I use the second one as its internal monolog. The reader is shown that it is a inner thought by the next bit ie Linda thought to her self. smile

jaynebxl Tue 05-Feb-13 06:00:44

I would definitely use speech marks.

joshandjamie Tue 05-Feb-13 09:30:41

Hmm, two different opinions. So now I'm still unsure.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 05-Feb-13 09:32:24

Up to the writer. No speech marks would be more usual in texts other than children's books or quite basic narratives, I think.

somebloke123 Tue 05-Feb-13 11:31:25

Interesting question which had never occurred to me.

I think I would go for no speech marks, because although it is still worded in the third person, there is a sense in which Linda has effectively become the narrator as it comes from inside her head but without external expression.

If that makes sense.

AgentProvocateur Tue 05-Feb-13 11:40:31

I'd definitely use speech marks. Not much use to you, OP, are we?

CatelynStark Tue 05-Feb-13 11:44:13

I thought there would no quotation marks as it's reported speech.

As in, Johnny thought that he'd go to the cinema.
Rather than, Johnny said "I've been thinking about going to the cinema".

That's how I was taught it at school in 1754 smile

jaynebxl Tue 05-Feb-13 11:51:48

It's not reported speech. It's what she is directly thinking. If it was reported it would say Linda thought that he really was an ugly man. The way to tell is this - could you take the phrase and stick it in a speech bubble (or a thought bubble) and would it stand alone? So "He really is an ugly man" would stand alone and could be followed by Linda thought, Linda said, Linda shouted etc etc. "That he really was an ugly man" wouldn't stand alone so would not take speech marks because it is actually reported rather than direct.

Cheddars Tue 05-Feb-13 11:57:50

I would say not.
Also I would get rid of 'to herself'. You can generally only think to yourself smile

catladycourtney1 Sat 09-Feb-13 02:57:24

I've seen both, and also italics used to show the narrator's thoughts.

I would think that, if you're quoting someone's thoughts word-for-word, then speech marks are required, e.g. "He really is an ugly man," Linda thought to herself.

Whereas if you're just reporting someone's thoughts, you don't need speech marks, e.g. Linda thought to herself that he really was an ugly man.

Like actual speech, basically.

catladycourtney1 Sat 09-Feb-13 02:59:08

Although, it really doesn't look right with the speech marks. Maybe I'm wrong.

LadyWidmerpool Sat 09-Feb-13 03:02:35

It's a stylistic choice by the author.

Strix Fri 15-Feb-13 14:12:41

"when someone is thinking something to themselves..."

Really? Does he/she have a split personality? If not I think you meant "themself"...

jaynebxl Fri 15-Feb-13 14:17:26

Interesting. Not according to
It seems themself is quite a new invention and not widely accepted.

Strix Fri 15-Feb-13 14:41:44

It's fault of the singularisation of them/they.... (to which I am staunchly opposed)

I guess it should be himself/herself. Or one's self...

jaynebxl Fri 15-Feb-13 15:03:49

Ys I'm with you on that one Strix. I think it came about because of the move away from using one.

CocktailQueen Sat 02-Mar-13 19:44:53

I would either set thoughts in normal text or in italics. No speech marks either way - they are just for direct speech.

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