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Question marks, commas, capitalizing and period usage in dialogue Options · View
Pirate
Posted: Saturday, April 18, 2015 1:17:04 PM

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This is more of a question that I'd like other writers to weigh in on, concerning dialogue and the usage of commas, question marks, capitalizing and periods.

Is the question mark used like this:
“Where is it?" He asked excitedly.
or this:
"Where is it", he asked excitedly.

[note no question mark on the second example and 'He' is capitalized in one and not the other. Also the comma is outside the quotation marks on the second, (see below example)]

Also the usage of the comma; is it like this:
"It's about time", he exclaimed giddily.

[note also the comma is outside the quotation marks]

or this:
"It's about time," he said giddily, "that we head out."

[note this version connects two dialogue parts unlike the first. 'He' is thus lower case 'he']
rolandlytle
Posted: Saturday, April 18, 2015 2:03:02 PM

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I believe in your first situation; "Where is it?" He asked excitedly. The question mark is inside the quotation marks because the dialog is a question.

In the second situation it should be like this; "It's about time." He exclaimed giddily. If you reversed how it was expressed you would use a comma, like this; He exclaimed giddily, "It's about time."

I am not an expert, but I do it this way and the grammar police have not thrown me in jail yet.

You can't get there from here, because when you get there you're still here and here is now there.
frogprince
Posted: Saturday, April 18, 2015 3:45:08 PM

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Your first example with the question inside is correct. The second example should have the comma inside the quotes. That is what I have seen and found in several reference books I have online for just that purpose.



I just keep hopping from place to place.
I never stay too long.
I just keep moving singing a song.
So you better stop me if you want to chat.
Or you will never know where I am at.
magnificent1rascal
Posted: Saturday, April 18, 2015 4:22:42 PM

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The correct punctuation of your examples is as follows:

"Where is it?" he asked excitedly. (The pronoun remains lowercase after a question mark or exclamation mark because the dialogue tag is part of the same sentence. You could use a comma instead of the question mark.)

"It's about time," he exclaimed giddily. (The comma goes inside the quotation marks.)

and

"It's about time," he said giddily, "that we head out." (This was spot on. icon_smile)

I don't claim to be an expert on many things, but punctuation is one subject I've mastered. Lwinking

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rolandlytle
Posted: Saturday, April 18, 2015 5:00:58 PM

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magnificent1rascal wrote:
The correct punctuation of your examples is as follows:

"Where is it?" he asked excitedly. (The pronoun remains lowercase after a question mark or exclamation mark because the dialogue tag is part of the same sentence. You could use a comma instead of the question mark.)

"It's about time," he exclaimed giddily. (The comma goes inside the quotation marks.)

and

"It's about time," he said giddily, "that we head out." (This was spot on. icon_smile)

I don't claim to be an expert on many things, but punctuation is one subject I've mastered. Lwinking


I trust you on this, you do have much more experience than I. Could you explain why you would have a comma after the word time in the last example? If you moved the tag to the front or the back of the dialog , the dialog would not have a comma in it. ("It's about time that we head out," he said giddily.) Why would the comma be their? Is it because of the tag breaking the dialog sentence? Just trying to learn more.

Well folks the grammar police have me now.

You can't get there from here, because when you get there you're still here and here is now there.
magnificent1rascal
Posted: Sunday, April 19, 2015 12:37:55 AM

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Attribution that interrupts a dialogue sentence is treated as a non-essential clause, and so is set off by commas.

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rolandlytle
Posted: Sunday, April 19, 2015 6:40:21 AM

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magnificent1rascal wrote:
Attribution that interrupts a dialogue sentence is treated as a non-essential clause, and so is set off by commas.


Thank you Maggie. That cleared it up for me.

You can't get there from here, because when you get there you're still here and here is now there.
steffanie
Posted: Monday, April 20, 2015 9:45:13 AM

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magnificent1rascal wrote:
Attribution that interrupts a dialogue sentence is treated as a non-essential clause, and so is set off by commas.



That's brilliant and proved very inspiring :)

magnificent1rascal
Posted: Monday, April 20, 2015 1:23:17 PM

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steffanie wrote:
magnificent1rascal wrote:
Attribution that interrupts a dialogue sentence is treated as a non-essential clause, and so is set off by commas.



That's brilliant and proved very inspiring :)



Glad to hear it! flower

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Dreamcatcher
Posted: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 2:04:58 PM

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Maggie.. can you punctuate this one for me?

that that is is that that is not is not is that it it is

magnificent1rascal
Posted: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 5:00:53 PM

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Dreamcatcher wrote:
Maggie.. can you punctuate this one for me?

that that is is that that is not is not is that it it is


Give me a few glasses of wine before I attempt that that is, is that OK?

3601 3601 3601 3601 3601

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magnificent1rascal
Posted: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 8:50:48 PM

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Ahem...

That that is, is; that that is not, is not. Is that it? It is.

geek

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TaliaRussell
Posted: Saturday, April 25, 2015 12:59:27 AM

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That was fun!!
Dreamcatcher
Posted: Thursday, May 7, 2015 3:10:10 PM

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magnificent1rascal wrote:
Ahem...

That that is, is; that that is not, is not. Is that it? It is.

geek


Yes!!! hahaha.. I'll never doubt you again..

hayley
Posted: Wednesday, September 30, 2015 11:32:24 AM

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Dreamcatcher wrote:
Maggie.. can you punctuate this one for me?

that that is is that that is not is not is that it it is


punctuation needed here too!

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