Commas in dialogue Copy

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There are special rules for the punctuation where dialogue meets other text, namely the speech tag.

Commas are used and where the comma appears depends on the position of the speech tag.

Usage of these commas is also country-dependent.

In British English …

If the tag is at the start, the comma appears straight after the tag.

Gail said, “I really don’t care.”

If the tag is at the end, the comma appears straight after the dialogue, but before the closing quotation mark.

“I really don’t care,” said Gail.

If the tag in mid-sentence, both the previous rules apply

“Why,” Dad shouted up the stairs, “do you always forget to do it?”

If an exclamation mark or question mark is appropriate for the text, the comma is not needed.

“Do you mind if I sit here?” said James, pointing to the chair beside Marjorie.

“Not at all!” said Marjorie, removing her handbag from the seat.