Expression used in dialogue--Keep your nose clean.

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When writing fiction, characters may have unigue personalities, and their speech reflects who they are. In fiction, these invented people use expressions that expand the reader's understanding of them. The reader can identify and empathize with the characters which helps the story come alive. Characters in stories don't usually speak "text book" lingo. They use everyday words. I have included an interesting character in one of my stories. He's strong and domineering. Thinkin he is offering his nephew fatherly advice, he says,"Keep your nose clean!" It's a common expression that means stay out of trouble. Grammarly keeps noting the dialogue, suggesting that the sentence is mechanically incorrect. I do not agree. Does anyone care to comment about this? Maybe I'm missing something. Why is this considered wrong?

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See example:

Keep your nose clean.
asked Apr 27 '12 at 05:44 Kevin Knott New member

1 answer


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Well said!

 

Perhaps I could offer a suggestion regarding Grammarly and dialogue. My current project is a cultural landscape study of a small corner of California's Central Vallley. As such, it often relies on the words of various explorers, visitors, writers, and residents to describe the place 100 to 200 years ago. Some were literate and well-educated -- Mark Twain, John C. Fremont, William Henry Brewer, Ulysses S. Grant -- while for others, their reading and writing was self-taught and frought with errors. I cannot change their words when I quote them (and I do not want to). But I grew tired of Grammarly's complaints.

 

The solution, for me, has been to use a different paragraph style in MS Word for all quotations. Before I paste into Grammarly, I hide that style.  Thus, Grammarly only sees my writing and doesn't complain about Mark Twain getting it wrong.

 

You could do the same for dialogue.

link comment answered Apr 27 '12 at 20:08 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

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