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I have a paragraph of dialog which technically continues into the next paragraph, but I want to interject a "she continued" almost immediately into the second paragraph. So should I close the quote on the first paragraph, or leave it open?

E.g.,

"Well," Antimony began, taking a deep, thoughtful breath, and
stepping a little closer. "If you fill the 5 pound sack, and
then empty it into a 3 pound sack, you'll have 2 pounds
left over. Then you can empty the 3 pound sack back into
your barrel, and transfer the two pounds of lentils into the
three pound sack."

"Then," she continued, "you can fill the 5 pound sack again..."

It continues from there, but the question is about the closing quote at the end of the first paragraph. I know that normally when dialog continues across paragraphs, it is left open at the end of each paragraph (except of course the last one), because the closing quote implies that the following quote will be another person. But in this case, it is immediately indicated that it is the same person speaking, and it seems strange to continue the quote for such a short piece across the paragraph.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You have broken and punctuated it correctly. But if you're worried about the she continued, then change it up a little:

"Well," Antimony began, taking a deep, thoughtful breath, and stepping a little closer. "If you fill the 5 pound sack, and then empty it into a 3 pound sack, you'll have 2 pounds left over. Then you can empty the 3 pound sack back into your barrel, and transfer the two pounds of lentils into the three pound sack."

He watched her thoughtfully, but didn't interrupt. She continued. "You can fill the 5 pound sack again..."

So you move she continued to the beginning of the sentence and add another few words of stage business, and that's enough of a separator that it doesn't look so odd. It also resolves the "close-quote" question, because if you're adding narration, even though she's the same speaker, you have to close and open quotes.

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That's a good place to break, yes. Considering it's such a long quote, you don't want to let the reader lose their focus.

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Adra: welcome to Writers! As you'll note by the response to @Lauren's answer (i.e. upvotes and selection as the answer), it's more useful to the OP if you not only provide your view/opinion, but also provide technical feedback ("... punctuated it correctly") along with an example of what you mean. –  Zayne S Halsall Feb 11 '13 at 16:15
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Avoiding the problem (as per Lauren Ipsum's answer) is probably the best way to deal with this. But let's assume you don't want to change anything about your paragraphs. The answer is unambiguous: no close quotation mark. For two reasons.

First reason is simple correctness: you don't want Fowler to turn in his grave.

The more important reason is clarity. If I - as an unsuspecting reader - came across the passage as originally quoted, I would be forced to re-read it, because I'm being given contradicting cues. The closing quote mark on the previous paragraph tells me there's two different people speaking, and the 'she continued' tells me that it's just one. There are times when you want your reader to be pulled up short and have to think about what they're reading; but this isn't one of them.

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