Quotation marks in numbered choices

Hey All-

I have an NPC who gives the player 3 choices, and how to place the quotation marks is killing me. This is what I think looks best:

The NPC says, “Which color is your favorite?”
1.) Red
2.) Blue
3.) Yellow

But persnickety grammarians may not like this, as it leaves part of the NPC’s question out of the quotation marks. Doing it technically correctly, with marks before each new line and a final one after the yellow, looks awful.

How do you all think this should be done?

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I’d do it like you did. I tend to think of the choices as the player’s response and not the NPC’s speech, I think.


I had the same reaction as @JoshGrams . The way I read it, the choices are not part of the question but rather the game’s neutral voice presenting you with its limited ways to respond to the NPC.


I agree with Josh. Listing the answers as a list is a convention of video games, and not necessarily idiomatic, natural speech. For the question to be in quotes, I’d expect to see something like, “Do you prefer red, blue, or yellow?" Which is a very different feel, mechanically.

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I was thinking, wait, wasn’t there another thread about this recently? And there was (well, for certain values of “recently”)!

Dunno whether any of the thoughts there still apply or if things have changed since then but figured I’d re-link to it (I still like the way you’ve hit it in the OP here).


Ha! And I replied, too. Clearly, your memory is better than mine.

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Good lord, I have no memory of that thread, which either means the lurking dementia is getting me or I make too damned many threads. Ack. Um, thanks?


The new version in this thread looks way better than the old version in the old thread, though!

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For me (as a persnickety grammarian) it depends on whether you need it to be clear that the NPC is stating these options aloud or whether it’s OK if the player interprets it as an extradiegetic list of options. If the latter, the way you have it is perfectly fine.

If the former, that’s a lot trickier. In your specific example, it would be fine to just write:

The NPC says, "Which is your favorite color: red, blue, or yellow?"
1. Red
2. Blue
3. Yellow

But since you mentioned in the other thread that some of the options are wordy, the repetition would look odd. One way around that would be to phrase the list of options slightly differently from the NPC dialogue:

The NPC says, "Which is your favorite color: red, blue, or yellow?"
1. Red is a lovely color
2. Blue is nice
3. I prefer yellow

Except that in cases where the options offered are wordier, you’d want the rephrased version to be more concise than the version the NPC gives. But even then, it could turn into a wall of text, and also then you’re writing dialogue for the PC, which you may not want to do.


Yeah, when I read the initial question and the first response, it was all so familiar I frowned and kept staring at the bit that said this thread was only created 8 hours ago, because I didn’t believe it.


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