Add " >>>" for dialogues automatically?

Hello everyone,

I am using Scrivener for quite some time now and do now want to “trim” the optical elements of my work after dealing with the contents first - a friend of mine, which is an editor, told me that - in case someone needs a manuscript of mine - each dialogue in a new line shall be placed in the following style:

"He got angry when listening to the conversation and felt his blood rushing to his head as he answered:

I do not know if you are speaking of me…"

It is difficult to explain but what I mean is the question of I can adjust any setting in Scrivener to automatically use this style whenever I start a conversation at a new line - or is this just possible when exporting my work? If yes, which options do I need to change?

I hope to have revealed my real question/problem in a proper way and that anyone of you here can help me regarding this issue? If there are any specific and additional questions I to answer, please let me know!

Thanks in advance,


Dialogue conventions differ between languages, so you need to consult a style manual for German, if you are publishing in same.

As for English style: In the example you give, there’s no break because the “he” of your sentence is also the speaker of the quoted phrase. You only make breaks when the speaker is another person.

 Al looked at Jim and said "What's the matter, pal?"
 Jim flushed. "Nothing, I suppose."
 "Did you think I'd leave you here all night?"
 "Yeah, I did. And I'm cold and hungry, too."
 "OK, I'm sorry. Let's go back to town."
 Jim got into the car and said nothing to Al, all the way home.

Each of these lines is a new paragraph indent. I guess that’s what your editor wants signaled by a >>> mark, which will not appear in print. In Scrivener, if you have set your Preferences: Text Editing: Default Text Attributes properly, every hard return creates a new paragraph indent.

In many European novels, and those by James Joyce, quotations begin with a leading 2-em dash and no closing quote mark. The style I use above is American, whereas British usage places the end punctuation marks (? . !) outside of the closing quote mark. Between US and UK there are also differences in the use of single and double quote marks.

Are you sure about this:


I think so. But you’re good to make me go do the research. :open_mouth:

Wikipedia, on commas, says the US is “Johnny Boy,” and UK is “Johnny Boy”,
Daily Writing Tips confirms on end punctuation. … ion-marks/

I don’t know where or why the European 2-em dash came about; perhaps to avoid the Am-Brit inconsistencies.

Actually, it is a little more complicated than that.

The British style (same as Australia, I believe) depends on whether the punctuation belongs with the speaking character or the sentence that surrounds it.

So we would still write:

But if I was using a small quote as part of a larger sentence, it might look something like this:

Note how in this case the comma is part of the sentence, not part of what he spoke. That is where I think the difference lies. American usage would still have the awkward looking (to me at least, being used to the other):



I stand corrected. You are a far better editor than I. And yes, the US style is often awkward and even ugly. Not to mention confusing!


Yeah, Matt’s got it right. British usage (I didn’t realise it was the same in Australia) is contextual depending on the attribution of the words in quote marks.

Please note my location…

I believe I was taught “UK”, or more accurately “non-US”, syntax in the midwest and southern sections of this country. In the northeast I nearly failed every class that required written essays. I agree with mark that the non-US world is much clearer even though I am frequently using the US method in day to day and online work. A quick survey of the works on my desk show that the popular US works (US authors) seem to favor the US method, while the works that are considered “snobbish” by the less well read US authors favor the non-US syntax.

Of course the schools today don’t bother grading on punctuation as that may hurt a kids feelings so who knows what the US syntax will be in the next decade.

Hello everyone,

and first of all thanks for the discussion I seem to have started with my basic question :slight_smile: ! I did not know that there are soooo many different styles regarding this topic, as it comes to me I am writing in German and therefore the output looks like this German style which I took from Robyn Young’s “Brethren”:

in ihrem Bett schlafen lassen.

Du teilst das Bett mit meinem Sohn<< hatte Nizza empoert
gezischt, als sie das Aeffchen…

As it comes to me I am rather the writer than the editor but many people want your manuscripts in exact THAT style so I am quite curious if this can be implemented in the standard word processor so that I do finally see I am on the right way - by the way, is there a chance to tell Scrivener that a maximum number of 13 words per line is allowed?

Thanks for your thoughts and hints, I am open to any further suggestions!