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Title abbreviations in dialogue

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  #1  
Old 03-31-2010, 07:11 PM
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Default Title abbreviations in dialogue


"Dr. Clarkson I imagine?" the man said, now only a few feet in front of me.

Doctor or Dr. ? I know numbers must ALWAYS be spelled out in dialogue, no matter what... but what about title attributions, or known abbreviations such as Ph.D.?


"He has a Ph.D." or "He has a doctorate degree" ?, or "Hello Ms. Choquette" vs "Hello Miss Choquette?"

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Old 03-31-2010, 11:21 PM
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Dr. Clarkson is fine abbreviated in dialogue. You wouldn't write out "Missus Clarkson"--you would just have "Mrs. Clarkson." Thus, there is no need to spell out Doctor, when it pertains to the title of the name.

As for Ph.D or Doctorate Degree . . . It would, I suppose, depend on how they would say it in the dialogue. If they say "P-H-D," then I'd, of course, put the former. If they say "Doctorate," then I'd put the latter.

With Miss and Ms., I was always told they actually differ in meaning. Miss is an unmarried woman, and Ms. is usually used when you don't know whether or not she is married. Nowadays, Ms. is used more frequently for unmarried women over a "certain age." Miss is left to denote someone younger. Pretty much, just a preference thing, I would say.
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Old 04-01-2010, 06:24 PM
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Echo Firefly.

Mr or Mister
Mrs or Missus (How often do you see "missus" used?)
Ms or Miz

B.A or Bachelor of Arts...

You get the picture! It can depend on the tone you're setting. For example, somebody trying to impress the people at his club. They all sit around smoking cigars....

"...and after I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in two different disciplines, I proceeded to earn a doctorate in Philosophy."

Or an average Joe, just getting to know a guy at work:

"Got a B.A in Engineering. Thought about a Ph.D in Urban Planning, but I got a good offer from this company."
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Old 04-01-2010, 06:58 PM
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Old 04-06-2010, 05:16 AM
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It's true. It really depends on the character. Go with what comes naturally to the character's way of speaking, or the situation. How would you say it in such a situation? If you write it all out, it might make the book sound too stiff, unless, like Winter says, the situation calls for it. You wouldn't say, "We called the Dr." you'd say "We called the doctor" but you would say "We called Dr. Peters."

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Old 04-06-2010, 05:48 AM
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Refer to this, too - to put a full stop or not?
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Old 04-06-2010, 11:13 AM
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As a rule of thumb, if an abbreviation ends with the same letter as the whole word (like Dr/Doctor) you don't need to include a full-stop.
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Old 04-08-2010, 12:49 PM
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I think that in standard speech, "Dr." is fine, although as said earlier "We called the Dr." isn't really appropriate, so it would only be used as a name prefix and if the title is used alone, then the full word should be used.

I suppose if you're going for emphasis on the title itself then spelling it out in it's entirety would probably be best too.
"I think you'll find that it's Doctor Stevens." and so on.
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