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Further dialogue tag issues

  1. There needs to be an overriding exclusion list for tag verbs. Some writers place internal dialogue i.e. thoughts in quotes, tagged with thought or thinks
    “It is well I drew the curtain,” thought I.

  2. The verb closest to quoted dialogue should take precedence:
    “Barbara,” she said to the servant who answered it…
    The tag here should be said, not answered.
    Bessie… sighed and said, “Poor Miss Jane.”
    The tag here should be said, not sighed.
    I thought they were saying, “Thank you”—Prof did all talking.
    The tag here should be saying, not thought.
    “Tell it to bear,” I said and ordered a liter…
    The tag here should be said, not ordered.
    “Yet,” I agreed; I would have argued, but…
    The tag here should be agreed, not argued.
    “Breakfast time,” he said eventually, casually — to prove, I’m sure, that he remembered all my human frailties.
    The tag here should be said, not remembered.
    Bilbo would have liked to say: “A warm bath and late breakfast on the lawn afterwards;” but he thought it better to say nothing at all.
    The tag here should be say, not thought.

  3. Interrupted speech or prose may not actually be tagged, or speech at all:
    “You are not a servant at the hall, of course. You are–” He stopped, ran his eye…
    “Well, now—” I scratched head and grinned.
    Then decided he had to pay for his “crime”—but do it correctly.
    “Uh—” She fisted me solidly in ribs, grinned.
    She called his clarinet a “licorice stick.”

Clearly a wider set of training corpuses need to be run through the tag detection algorithm. Currently too much is being (mis)labeled.

  1. For UK-style dialogue, the single quote is often used:
    ‘Where are we, Gandalf?’ he asked.
    ‘Shoo!’ said Mr. Dursley loudly.
    These fail to register as dialogue.


There seems to be a bug that’s preventing the exclusion list button and shortcut from activating for the dialogue tags. You can add the tags you’d like to ignore to the exclusion list manually by opening the exclusion list dialog and entering it there.

The dialogue tag checker is looking at the prose surrounding dialog, not at the nearest few words. This means some false positives will present, but nothing should be left out. In this example:

In the above example, while answered will appear in the results list, so will said.

I do agree that the dialogue tag check would benefit from a smarter algorithm. Unlike many of the other checks, the location of the word does play a major part in identifying what is an what is not a dialogue tag.


The bug seems to extend to any use of the Dialogue Tag exclusion list. After manually entering “thought” in the list, “thought” still appears in the search results:

“I would prefer to keep my ear, thank you,” said the mouth in a polite accent that Claire thought sounded Polish.

Both said (correct) and thought (incorrect) are detected as tags,despite the latter being present in the exclusion list.


I’ve just tested this again using your sample text and adding ‘thought’ to the exclusion list does work correctly. It doesn’t appear subsequently in the results for me.

The only exception to this is if you’re using SmartEdit Pro, which allows for multiple exclusion lists based on user-defined projects. In this case an option exists on the main settings dialog to use project exclusion lists in place of the global list.

If you select the first option in the dialog, as above, this will ensure that the main exclusion list is applied.


Ack, you’re right. I failed to have the dialogue tag exclusion ticked. Works now.