New answers tagged punctuation
You use commas to be grammatically correct or for cadence purposes. The only time there are too many commas is when there are commas where there shouldn't be. You can get away with not using a comma when you should; it's not going to bother the reader. Example: Tyson called Jill and Tyler went to the store. ^^^That's grammatically incorrect, but your ...
If you have a full sentence as a parenthetical, you generally don't capitalize and punctuate it that way. So it normally appears: Dick and Jane watch Spot run (they know Spot likes to chase cars). But when you have more than one sentence in the parenthetical, you have to indicate where each complete sentence stops and starts. To avoid the weird .). ...
I too would revise your sentence, but by placing the attribution first. The clerk, with whom John had spoken a few times before, said, "You're John Doe. Still." "Yes, I am."
I suggest you revise your current question to reflect a more general nature. Ask how quotes like this can be revised to achieve the effect you desire. "You're John Doe. Still." The clerk raised an eyebrow. The trick is to just end the sentence. Find some action (sigh, motion, whatever) for the clerk to do in the next sentence.
Adding to @LaurenIpsum: Keep in mind that different countries punctuate differently. From this source: American style uses double quotes (“) for initial quotations, then single quotes (‘) for quotations within the initial quotation. “Economic systems,” according to Professor White, “are an inevitable byproduct of civilization, and are, as John ...
The difference is that the first sentence doesn't have a tag. It's a line of dialogue followed by a complete sentence. The second sentence is dialogue followed by a dialogue tag. Your first set of examples is punctuated correctly — when you use a tag, the dialogue ends in a comma, and the tag starts with a lowercase letter. This also applies to ...
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