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Differentiate between a place name and dialogue.

Crumbly Writer

I'm curious how other writers would phrase this sentence:

Al surveyed the local coffee shop Betty indicated, 'Beans of a Feather'. "OK," he said as they exited the car …

Previously, I used "Beans of a Feather", but decided it looked too much like spoken dialogue, so I changed it to single quotes (or visa versa for our Oz members).

Do we (as a group) think the difference doesn't make a difference, that it's essential to differentiate them, or is there a formal style which should always be used in these circumstances?

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

I wouldn't put in any kind of italics. Wouldn't you say:

Al surveyed the local coffee shop.
Al surveyed Starbucks.
Al surveyed Starbucks, the local coffee shop.
Al surveyed the local coffee shop, Starbucks.

You didn't ask, but I'd put "that" in front of "Betty."

In dialogue, I'd spell out "Okay."

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Do we (as a group) think the difference doesn't make a difference


I don't think it makes a difference. I would say that it is clear enough from the context that Beans of a Feather is the name of a coffee shop without any kind of punctuation or typographic emphasis.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I wouldn't put in any kind of italics. Wouldn't you say:

Al surveyed the local coffee shop.
Al surveyed Starbucks.

The use of commonly known trademarks is different than an unknown shop. Most everyone knows what "McDonalds" is, even if not quite so many knows what IHOP stands for. Still, you italicize books, theater shows and (apparently) military ships, but not commercial shops.

Ernest Bywater

I use single apostrophes and will also often make it italics the same way as I would a book title etc. But if extremely common I'd do neither.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I use single apostrophes and will also often make it italics the same way as I would a book title etc. But if extremely common I'd do neither.

That was my thinking, and my same thinking about military ships. If it's a common name that might be easily confused, you need some way to differentiate them, the same way books, plays, movies and TV shows do. However, quote marks and italics seems like overkill. If you added bolding and/or colors, you'd have the holy trifecta (or quad-fecta). You only need to differentiate a common name, not set it aflutter with neon lights.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

If it's a common name that might be easily confused


Okay, but do you really think that there is any significant chance of confusion from Beans of a Feather after specifically mentioning a coffee shop?

Personally, I think the odds of confusion in the case you started this thread with are approximately zero.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Personally, I think the odds of confusion in the case you started this thread with are approximately zero.

It's the same with my ship name, the Blissful Destruction. It wasn't that I had no options, but I was intrigued by what the accepted wisdom was on the topic. I didn't think the various Style Guides really had any meaningful answers for corporate names (other than capitalizing them), so I was fishing for some alternative ideas.

But either way, my story is solid either way, so it's not a question of a do-or-die response.

robberhands

... the usual disclaimer

Ross at Plat

@Crumbly Writer

Do we (as a group) think the difference doesn't make a difference, that it's essential to differentiate them, or is there a formal style which should always be used in these circumstances?


I would just use title case for the name of the coffee shop

I see no reason to consider any sort of quotes; it's just a proper noun.

Also with your particular sentence, I see no reason to consider recasting it to prevent a potential ambiguity.

REP

@Crumbly Writer

I would write it:

Al surveyed the local coffee shop, Beans of a Feather, that Betty had indicated. "OK," he said as they exited the car …

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