1. lameri
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    lameri Senior Member

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    Comma after an exclamation

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by lameri, Apr 29, 2011.

    My sentence is:
    ---
    I really needed encouragement, somebody saying "yeah, go for it!!", but he...
    ---
    I know if it were a dialogue tag, there would be no comma, but since it's not in this case, I don't know.
    Thanks.
     
  2. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    1: don't use double exclamation marks (or triple etc).

    2: Don't have triple any punctuation. So that could be:

    somebody saying "yeah, go for it", but he..

    or

    somebody saying "yeah, go for it!" but he..

    either one. :)
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    comma goes inside, the " in the us... uk rules put it outside...

    comma is not used when the line of dialog ends in a ! or ?

    no multiple !s ever!!!! [unless you're writing casually, such as i'm doing here]

    needs a comma after 'saying' and a capital 'y' for 'yeah'

    so, should be:

    I really needed encouragement, somebody saying, "Yeah, go for it!" but he...
     
  4. lameri
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    lameri Senior Member

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    Regarding 1: I know, but I'm copying literally an email. In fact, for that reason, I decided to leave the comma (it was there), but I wanted to learn how it should be. So your point 2: covered that--no comma goes in there. Thanks :) Do you have any style manual to support it? I can't seem to find anything on the subject of what goes after "!" or "?" other than in dialogue tags.
     
  5. Arathald
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    Arathald Contributing Member

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    This is a rule that is clearly laid out, especially in American English, but I pretty much ignore. As an American, I readily put commas and periods outside of quotation marks if they aren't part of the quote, and I've been known to even use !", all in a row, though I tend to avoid exclamation marks in mid-sentence, even as part of a quote, if at all possible.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you can do what you want in 'casual' writing, but for work you hope to have published, it's best to follow the rules, if you want it and you to be taken seriously...
     
  7. lameri
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    lameri Senior Member

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    I haven't been able to find the rule for what Melzaar calls "2" (I do know the rule for 1, that is, no double exclamation or question marks).
     
  8. Arathald
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    Arathald Contributing Member

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    Well, rather than not following rules, I tend to follow the British rules instead of the American ones. I also use several British spellings. I think I picked up a lot of these habits because I tend to read a lot of literature by British authors.
     
  9. Velox
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    Velox Senior Member

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    Yeah, that's fine, IMO. Some publishers may make you change your stuff to American if you use an American publisher [but I don't know anything about publishers, lol], but I don't think there's anything wrong with writing that way. I just think you shouldn't use casual writing at all, like mammamaia said, but whether you use American or British doesn't matter in my opinion.
     
  10. ScaryMonster
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    ScaryMonster Active Member

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    Doesn't a exclamation mark work the same way as a question mark? The dot under the line represents a period? Therefore you have to start the next sentence with a capitalization.
    For example: "yeah, go for it!!" But he...
     
  11. Velox
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    Velox Senior Member

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    Not with dialogue. With dialogue, at least in America [no idea about the UK rules, but I think capitalization is the same, but I could be wrong], if you're going to say "he said" [or some variation thereof] then it's technically a continuation of the sentence, and whether it's a question mark, exclamation point, or comma, the "he said" should be left uncapitalized.
     
  12. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually, the punctuation always goes inside the (single) inverted commas in the UK if it's dialogue:
    'Oh, no,' he said.
    or:
    'Oh, no!' he said.
    You can't put an exclamation mark and a comma together; it has to be one or the other.

    You only put the punctuation outside the (double) inverted commas when it is not part of the quotation you are giving:
    As Winston Churchill said, "The price of greatness is responsibility", and many leaders today would do well to bear this in mind.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    not a wise move, if you're an american writer and wanting to be published in the us... doing so will just make you come across as a pretentious amateur, to agents/publishers...
     
  14. ScaryMonster
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    ScaryMonster Active Member

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    I think if your an English or Australian writer you'd prefer to use single quotation marks for dialog. Americans should avoid it.

    I actually was told that it was grammatically incorrect to use single quotation marks for dialog by someone on this forum.
    I know that's untrue, but I've been punctuating dialog American style ever since for things I write for the forum.
    Because most people reading it here are from the US. Not because I think its wrong.

    But I'd hate to have to go through a whole manuscript just to change the sort of quotation marks I used :eek:
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    they're incorrect in american usage for anything other than a quote within a quote...

    obviously, they're not incorrect in british usage, so i doubt that poster meant universally incorrect...
     
  16. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    This came up recently, and I checked a pile of books published in the UK for the UK market and found no consistency across books -- some used single quotes, some used double. They were all consistent within the book of course. And I've never managed to find a general style rule for single v. double quotes in UK usage, so it seems that if you're an English or Australian writer you might prefer to use single quotation marks for dialog. Or you might not. It's between you and your publisher. We seem to be much less rule-bound on this side of the Atlantic.
     
  17. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Search-and-replace is your friend.
     
  18. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    But in the first of your examples the comma (probably) isn't part of what is quoted, so the comma would go outside the quote marks.
     
  19. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    In terms of UK usage, the Oxford Style Manual says:
    When the requirements of the quotation and the main sentence differ, use the stronger mark [...]
    She was heard to mutter, 'Did you do it?'
    Can you verify that John said, 'there is only one key to the room'?​
    When the terminal punctuation of the quoted material and that of the main sentence serve different functions of equal strength or importance, use both:
    She had the nerve to ask 'Why are you here?'!
    Did he really shout 'Stop thief!'?​
    (There's a whole pile more, discussing other possibilities.)
     
  20. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not giving a quotation, I'm showing direct speech i.e. dialogue, so no, the comma would not go outside the inverted commas.
     
  21. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you'll find that old style is rapidly disappearing, though. I can't remember seeing this in recently published work. And here you aren't giving normal direct dialogue, it's a form of reported dialogue, although not reported speech where the inverted commas can be taken out completely:
    She had the nerve to ask why I was there.
    I/He/She/We/They wondered if he really shouted 'Stop thief!'/stop thief.
     
  22. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Really? I can't find that rule in any of my UK references (although obviously it goes inside the quotes in US usage). And I'm not sure about the distinction you are making between a quotation and dialog[ue]. Do you have a reference for that rule?
     
  23. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    A quotation is when words are repeated by someone other than the original author or speaker.
    Dialogue is when you set down the words of the speakers verbatum, as they are talking.
     
  24. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Which is what the author is doing when she or he writes dialog. Repeating the words of the characters. Grammatically I don't see a difference.
     
  25. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    In a work of fiction, the author is giving dialogue by suspending belief, so that we perceive he/she is repeating original words by speakers verbatim as they are saying them. This is different from a writer recording a speaker repeating the words of another speaker--as indeed can also be done--or speaking as him/herself quoting a speaker, as we do in non fiction works.

    There is not a difference grammatically, unless you use 'recorded speech' with no inverted commas, as I gave above. However, the rules for punctuation do show this one small difference of not altering the original punctuation of the quote inside the double inverted commas, i.e. by adding commas etc, at least in British English.
     

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