1. Rague

    Rague New Member

    Dec 5, 2012
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    Comma Splices

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Rague, Jan 8, 2013.

    Comma Splices and Capitalizing

    I'm having trouble with commas, dialogue, and comma splices among other things. (I did a quick search, but I'd rather be specific)

    I was using this as an impromptu guide but it's left me confused on more occasions than not.

    I get that a comma splice is when you put two complete sentences together. However, maybe it's just me not recognizing independent clauses, but when I write dialogue before and after a sentence, I'm rarely sure whether to use a comma or a period to continue, or where I'm supposed to capitalize. It's starting to run rampant in my story and I don't to restrain the structure of my sentences.


    I think I've got the red text right, since the first thing Spencer says is a fragment (right) so I begin with a comma, capitalize the first word, and end with a period to make it a complete sentence.

    Then I get to the bold text, now should I use a period or a comma here? And then there's the blue text. The question mark's there, so does that connect what Sasha's saying, or should I use a comma?

    Then, after 'smiled' where I used a comma, does 'like' get capitalized or not because of the question mark?
  2. iChaotix

    iChaotix New Member

    Jan 7, 2013
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    Good question, I would very much like this answered as well.
  3. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    would be correctly done like this:

    the first bit is a self-interrupted start, which is made clear by the ellipsis... had he been interrupted by someone else, it would be an em dash, shown with a double hyphen...

    the narrative about another character is usually separated from the speaker's dialog, though in this case, it's possible it would be allowable as you have it... i show it separated...

    after that, he continues speaking...

    then, the sister's dialog is separated from his... and 'Sasha smiled' is not a dialog tag, so must end with a period...

    note the insertion of necessary commas where you left them out...

    hope this helps...
  4. junesummers

    junesummers New Member

    Jan 11, 2013
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    I hope you'll find this to be the short and easy version:

    You only capitalize after a dialogue when the sentence ends:

    Place a comma when the dialogue follows the sentence:

    Also place a comma after "said" if the character isn't done speaking:

    Place a period after "said" if the character continues to speak, but the first sentence is complete:

    Alternatively, in your example, you could use "Spencer glanced at his little sister" as the start of a new sentence:

    However, the use of "she" as the subject for the next sentence gives the impression of switching characters, which would warrant the paragraph break mammamaia recommended.

    To avoid this, you could use "he" as the subject and stay in Spencer's POV:


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