Author Topic: Comma Needed?  (Read 330 times)

Thaiphoon

Comma Needed?
« on: January 24, 2019, 10:32:01 AM »
Got a more mundane question and thought I'd throw it here since you might be able to to steer me best. I'm writing my first book and was always taught to put the comma after the quote and before the tag.

The line is:

Quote
"What about the gate? Is it operational yet?", Sivus asked as he turned his chair to the First Officer.

I've seen other authors remove that comma after the ".

Which is correct?
 

Llano

Re: Comma Needed?
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2019, 11:05:49 AM »
Comma not needed.
 

TimothyEllis

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Re: Comma Needed?
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2019, 11:55:08 AM »
The ? replaces the ,.

If it wasn't a question in the quotes, it would need a comma inside the quote. The comma never goes outside the quote.
 
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Eugene Lloyd MacRae

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Re: Comma Needed?
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2019, 12:48:29 PM »
Agree. No comma needed in this case.
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Jeff Tanyard

Re: Comma Needed?
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2019, 02:01:59 PM »
The ? replaces the ,.

If it wasn't a question in the quotes, it would need a comma inside the quote. The comma never goes outside the quote.


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Thaiphoon

Re: Comma Needed?
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2019, 02:11:38 PM »
Thank you! Feel stupid for such a newbie question, but it's been a long day and I was thinking it really didn't look right. Thanks for the responses!
« Last Edit: January 24, 2019, 02:28:55 PM by Thaiphoon »
 

Guerin

Re: Comma Needed?
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2019, 04:16:43 AM »
Although I understand that the ? replaces the comma, I have another question that is closely related. If we wrote it this way:

"What about the gate? Is it operational yet?" She asked as he turned his chair to the First Officer.

Should "she" be capitalized or not? I think it should be, but I have seen cases where it's not and it has bugged me.

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Easter IsleDan

Re: Comma Needed?
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2019, 04:32:32 AM »
Although I understand that the ? replaces the comma, I have another question that is closely related. If we wrote it this way:

"What about the gate? Is it operational yet?" She asked as he turned his chair to the First Officer.

Should "she" be capitalized or not? I think it should be, but I have seen cases where it's not and it has bugged me.

No.

It's for the same reason you would not do something like these:

"What about the gate? Is it operational yet?" Asked Sivus.

"Welcome to the jungle!" Said Ted.
     
 

Guerin

Re: Comma Needed?
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2019, 04:46:03 AM »

No.

It's for the same reason you would not do something like these:

"What about the gate? Is it operational yet?" Asked Sivus.

"Welcome to the jungle!" Said Ted.

Your examples are just that though, and not really an explanation. I would say that those examples were correct since I believe that she, in the example I gave, should be capitalized.

Normally I would work around the confusion by writing it as follows:

Sivus asked, "What about the gate? Is it operational yet?"

Ted said, "Welcome to the jungle!"


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Guerin

Re: Comma Needed?
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2019, 04:50:01 AM »
Answered here with rules and examples, https://thewritepractice.com/dialogue-tags/. Thanks, Dan, for making me look it up. I probably should have in the first place.

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Easter IsleDan

Re: Comma Needed?
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2019, 04:50:34 AM »

No.

It's for the same reason you would not do something like these:

"What about the gate? Is it operational yet?" Asked Sivus.

"Welcome to the jungle!" Said Ted.

Your examples are just that though, and not really an explanation. I would say that those examples were correct since I believe that she, in the example I gave, should be capitalized.

Normally I would work around the confusion by writing it as follows:

Sivus asked, "What about the gate? Is it operational yet?"

Ted said, "Welcome to the jungle!"

The exclamation point or the question mark stands in place of the comma.  If the comma were present, you would write it this way, right?

"I hope the gate is operational," she said.

You wouldn't write:

"I hope the gate is operational," She said.

Since the question mark (or exclamation point) negates the need for a comma, you don't capitalize the word outside the closing dialogue mark if you would not capitalize it if the comma were present.  Thus:

"What about the gate? Is it operational yet?" she asked.
     
 

Easter IsleDan

Re: Comma Needed?
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2019, 04:51:20 AM »
Answered here with rules and examples, https://thewritepractice.com/dialogue-tags/. Thanks, Dan, for making me look it up. I probably should have in the first place.

Ha.  I type too slow.  ;)
     
 

M.SusanneWiggins

Re: Comma Needed?
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2019, 09:04:46 AM »
Feel stupid for such a newbie question...
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The Bass Bagwhan

Re: Comma Needed?
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2019, 09:56:49 AM »
Answered here with rules and examples, https://thewritepractice.com/dialogue-tags/. Thanks, Dan, for making me look it up. I probably should have in the first place.

Mind you, Word autocorrect will capitalise it (incorrectly). Could be why you've seen it so often.
 

Becca Mills

Re: Comma Needed?
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2019, 04:53:24 AM »
I think the confusion on this point comes from thinking of . and ? and ! as terminal marks of punctuation ... which they are, but they can terminate partial elements of a sentence in addition to entire sentences. In other words, a question mark can mark the endpoint of a question that makes up part of a larger sentence. An initial capital marks the beginning of a new sentence, so you don't capitalize after an internal question element, nor after internal elements terminated by periods or exclamation marks.
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