by Shauna Bolton

 

 You wanted help figuring out commas, and here it is.

 

Rule 5—Using Commas in Dialogue

 

  • Use a comma to separate dialogue from a speech tag.

 

Example 1: Helena said, “I don’t believe you.”

 

Example 2: “I don’t believe you,” Helena said.

 

  • Put the comma inside the closing quotations before adding a speech tag.

 

Example 3: “I don’t believe you,” Helena said, “and Mom doesn’t either.”

 

  • When the speech tag interrupts the dialogue, use commas before and after the speech tag to separate it from both parts of the dialogue.

 

  • Put the punctuation end mark (period, question mark, exclamation point) inside the quotation marks.

 

  • Indirect quotations, often introduced by “that” or “if,” DO NOT use commas.

 

Example 4: Helena said that she didn’t believe you.

Mom said that you can’t go if you don’t clean your room.

 

  • There is no comma between “said” and “that.”

 

  • In colloquial speech, “that” is usually omitted.
    • Helena said she didn’t believe you.
    • Mom said you can’t go if you don’t clean your room.

 

Example 5: Mom said if you don’t clean your room, you can’t go.

 

  • There is no comma between “said” and “if.”

 

  • The “that” between “said” and “if” is omitted.

 

  • There is a comma between “room” and “you” because the indirect quote is a complex sentence with the dependent clause coming first.
    • Mom said if you don’t clean your room, you can’t go.

Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Leave your comments or questions at the end of this page and Shauna or I will be happy to respond.

 

 

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http://www.ourwritersjourney.com/2017/05/05/making-peace-with-commas-part-5/
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