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  1. #1
    Alexx Deshaw
    Guest

    comma or period at the end of dialogue?

    i learned somewhere that you are supposed to put a comma at the end of dialogue, but most people use a period. which is right, or can you use either?



  2. #2
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: comma or period at the end of dialogue?

    If it's the end, it should be end punctuation. a period, question mark, (rarely) exclamation point.

    If the sentence keeps going, in adding a "she says," then a comma.

    It depends on what's in the sentence, Alexx.

    She said, "He stepped on my kumquat."

    "He stepped on my kumquat," she said.

    "Did you step on my kumquat?" she asked.

    It all depends.

  3. #3
    ebyss hi
    Guest

    Re: comma or period at the end of dialogue?

    As an addition to the above, you would use a period when a dialogue tag is not used.

    "I don't want to go." Katherine stood up and left the room.

  4. #4
    ebyss hi
    Guest

    Re: comma or period at the end of dialogue?

    "You!!! It was you who stepped on my kumquat!" she exclaimed.

    Rose pointed an accusing finger. "How dare you. My kumquat is squashed."

    Kumquat. What a strange word.

  5. #5
    purple velvet
    Guest

    Re: comma or period at the end of dialogue?

    ebyss,

    I'm rubbing off on you! Look at that over use of exclamation points!!!! lol

    Alexx,

    Both Gary and ebyss are correct. Use tags sparingly. If it is not clear who is speaking, tag it. Otherwise, do your best to keep tags simple and to the point. Overuse is distracting to your reader.

    btw, I like the word kumquat. It has a nice ring to it

  6. #6
    Josh Lemay
    Guest

    Re: comma or period at the end of dialogue?

    Like others said, it depends on the dialogue.

    A good rule of thumb is to only use a comma when it's something that someone can actually do in terms of saying the dialogue. Here are examples:

    Right - "He went to the store," she said.

    Wrong - "He went to the store," she laughed.

    While it -is- possible to 'laugh' the words "he went to the store", it's very unlikely. The laughing is done after(or before) the dialogue and so should be separated.

    Correction: "He went to the store." She laughed.

    The preferred way of having dialogue for most editors is mostly using 'said' with the occasional 'asked' if it's a question. It may seem boring or like you could use other words, but usually it ends up being a distraction as opposed to what you wanted it to be. People tend to skim by the word 'said', so using it often to denote someone is saying something works similar to not using anything at all(which is good, because it keeps a proper flow between the dialogue).

    Using a period instead of a comma is a workaround to that. You can have flowing dialogue and still have some action words in there without distracting the reader too much. Only use a period if there's actually an action going on, though.

    If you want a more detailed explanation of it, just do a google search for 'said bookisms'. It'll give you a lot of info about this type of thing.

  7. #7
    Smiling Curmudgeon
    Guest

    Re: comma or period at the end of dialogue?

    ebyss,

    I bitterly resent your gratuitous smear regarding kumquats.

    I have an uncle. Carlyle Kumquat. He was the scion of the fabulous Kumquat dynasty in vast expanse of upstate Rhode Island.

    At the height of their wealth they owned much of the state. Four-five acres, as I recall.

    Don't wish to reveal more about my family connections. Bragging is just wrong, what I'm sayin'.



    Cur

  8. #8
    Joe Zeff
    Guest

    Re: comma or period at the end of dialogue?

    I find your story hard to believe, Cur. A quick look at the map will reveal that Rhode Island isn't big enough to have an upstate!

  9. #9
    Smiling Curmudgeon
    Guest

    Re: comma or period at the end of dialogue?

    Joe,

    Sir, you have no way to realize that much of Rhode Island is invisible, except for those who are allowed in. I mean, damn.

    The conspiracy began when uncle Kumquat was born. The technology to make it happen came from Nicola Tesla. My forefathers developed it in their barns. Took many years. But, one day, voila.

    I dare not reveal more.

    My apologies to those I have derailed.

    Cur

  10. #10
    purple velvet
    Guest

    Re: comma or period at the end of dialogue?

    Cur!

    Say no more. You are being watched at this very moment. Should you reveal anything in addition to the secrets you have already allowed to escape, your life would be in extreme danger! Remain silent and know that Uncle Kumquat loved you with all his cold, stony heart. Should you ever have need of us...we are here.


    This message will self destruct in...10...9...8...7...6...

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