Direct Speech in Linguistic Focus missing dialogue

I really like the Direct Speech option in Linguistic Focus for editing my novel’s dialogue. But, although I’m working in English and consistent with my punctuation (single quotes '), frequently the option doesn’t pick up dialogue . . . which is frustrating. Could I be doing something wrong? I don’t know what. I have already run text through Grammarly.

It is very picky of the conditions to trigger it.

For example: it doesn’t work if you write dialog without the quote marks.
→ The “modern” dialog pattern using — only.

If I remember right from investigating a related issue, the only thing it sees is the initial quote mark, then the end of the paragraph.


@tiho_d (the dev for the Windows version) said this to be intentional.
(Although I still honestly don’t get it…)

Okay, I have been using single quote marks and they work much of the time. But I guess I should try converting to double if I can manage that without difficulty. Thanks very much.

That I don’t know.
As you can see I used French quote marks in my example, and the first line was properly detected.
But it is worth the try.
Since single quote marks also have different uses, perhaps they were left out. :man_shrugging:

Likely though the issue is then something else.
I would think that perhaps, in the specific case of single quote marks, the dialog not starting at the beginning of the paragraph could be a factor. (?)

P.S. I kind of took for granted that the Windows and Mac version behave the same… It might not be so…

I’ve just checked a chapter and all the dialogue was picked up even that that started mid-line. I’ll have to find an example where the dialogue is picked and see if I can discern how it is different in any way. Thanks for the help.

1 Like

I just wonder if the problem with single quotes might have been the presence of apostrophes, which use the same character as single closing quotes.


1 Like

Yeah. What I thought exactly.
Thanks for formulating it clearly. :wink:

. . . . . . . . . . .

Else: here’s the Windows’ dev’s explanation about the subsequent lines behavior:

I haven’t found many examples where dialogue hasn’t been picked up and I can’t see anything unusual in it. See the short paragraph below. Only the first line was highlighted by Direct Speech, the others weren’t. Can anyone see why?

  ‘Have you been messing with the engine, Uncle?’ Ethan said, trying to get comfortable in his seat.
  ’I changed it. Like it?’
  ’Sounds good,’ he lied. He could never see the attraction of anything noisy. They exchanged smiles, but Stephen’s faded, and he stared at Ethan for a moment.
  ’What happened, then, mate?’

Look what happened when I removed the quote mark where my cursor is:


It would seem that it spots the closing mark, but then no longer look for an opening one within the paragraph.

P.S. Although I don’t see it as related to the issue, you have a quote mark facing the wrong way, just before “Sounds good”.

[EDIT] Perhaps in the end it is related:


Definitely your issue (I think). You have another one backwards just before “I changed it”. And also “What happened”.

Thanks for your efforts on my behalf. I wouldn’t know how to change the direction of a quote mark. There is just the one on the keyboard.

1 Like

@Xiamenese will tell you (if a way to better control it there is).

I can’t help with that as I run under Windows.
Good luck.

I removed the quotes not recognised and reentered them and this time the dialogue was picked up. But when I’m writing I have no clue whether the quotes are entered correctly. Thanks for all your input.

1 Like

I would think that if perhaps you add them afterwards, that’s when you get the wrong one.
→ Scrivener needs you to type something after it in order to auto-fix it. So likely if you don’t, you get a character that wasn’t adapted to the current situation… (Mostly a guess of what you might have been doing.)

That’s a helpful thought, Vincent. Thank you. I going through my novel now checking each scene with Direct Speech and correcting single quotes where Direct Speech doesn’t pick them up.

1 Like

You could do a bunch all at once:

(Backup your project first.)

Project replace:

Replace → space ’
With → space ‘ (space + the right one)


Replace → Enter ’
With → Enter ‘ (enter + the right one)

That should fix the whole of your project in two quick steps.
(Again: it can’t be said enough → Backup your project first.)

If you want to be make sure you get the right opening or closing quote marks, you can enter them manually with Opt-] for opening quote and Shift-Opt-] for closing quote. Double quotes are Opt-[ and Shift-Opt-[.

But closing quote and apostrophe still use the same unicode code point.

If it really is a problem for you, you could experiment with using double quotes within Scrivener’s editor and then use compile replacements to change them to single quotes to match English publishing practice.


1 Like

Thanks for all your ideas but I think I’m going to go with Mark’s and just replace the single quotes that are not recognised by Direct Speech and replace them with Opt-] and Shift-Opt-]. Thanks for all the help.

1 Like

Whatever works best for you.
So long as it works. :slight_smile:

Your opening speech markers are closing speech markers at “I changed…”; “Sounds good…”; “What happened…”.
Do you have a space before starting your phrases?