GrammarPhile Blog

More Reader Questions!

Posted by Conni Eversull   May 24, 2011 5:30:00 AM

Our mailbag has been full this past week. Here are more questions from readers and answers from our Grammar Experts!

Question: Should a writer use quotation marks for internal dialogue- for example- Is it icy? he wondered.

Answer: This is an example of "interior discourse." It is often, but not always, enclosed in quotation marks. You can also put the interior discourse in italics, or just leave it in plain roman. The choice is yours. But be consistent.

Examples from the Chicago Manual of Style include the following:

  • "I don't care if we offended Morgenstern," thought Vera. "Besides," she told herself, "they're all fools."
  • "I should have said, 'What business is it of yours!'" thought Tom.
  • I suppose he's telling her right now, "Morgenstern is not to be trusted."
  • Francine blushed and turned away. I could die! she told herself.
  • Edgar looked at her in despair and thought, Now what have I done?

Interior discourse that is given indirectly, that is, paraphrased, should be set in unenclosed roman:

  • Vera told herself that she didn't care if they had offended Morgenstern.
  • She had decided, anyway, that they were all fools.
  • I should have said I wouldn't be available.

Question:  I have two small grammatical questions, I'm hoping you can provide an answer to:

  1. When stating, "The contents of your motorhome is insured up to $1,000" - should it be "is" or "are" (because contents is plural)?
  2. Also is "coverages" (plural) correct? i.e. The coverages include disability, family protection etc. Or is it Coverage includes disability, family protection etc.

These are two areas that have plagued us!


  1. Use 'are' for 'contents' - The contents are insured...
  2. Either way works - Coverages include this, that, and the other. or Coverage includes this, that, and the other. An insurance agency may prefer the first (coverages) as the noun is applied to a certain item, e.g., flood damages. You have coverage for flood damage, and you have another coverage for fire damage.

Have you downloaded our newest e-book? Get your copy today!

Topics: quotation marks, plural, singular

Subscribe to Email Updates

Sign up for our emails!

Sign Up

Search Our Blog

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all