Speech marks and commas homework, argh!

(68 Posts)
amidaiwish Sun 29-Sep-13 08:49:00

Homework help!!
Where would you put the comma in this sentence, in or out of the speech marks?

"I am going to the park", said Peter
"I am going to the park," said Peter


ICameOnTheJitney Sun 29-Sep-13 08:55:34

It depends what's gone before and what's coming after though....

"I'm going to the park." said Peter. Seems more correct to me. His sentence needs it's own punctuation.

amidaiwish Sun 29-Sep-13 08:58:44

Nothing before or after. She's been given a list of sentences. DD has to put the comma to separate the speaker's words from the sentence.

CecilyP Sun 29-Sep-13 08:58:49

It's the first one, amidaiwish. Sorry, Icame, but what you have said is wrong; it definitely doesn't need a full stop as it is all one sentence.

amidaiwish Sun 29-Sep-13 08:59:58

I do agree with you though, it's more of a full stop than a comma. But you would put it inside the speech marks. That's what I thought but a look on google says it goes outside in UK and inside in US. Guess either is ok?

donnie Sun 29-Sep-13 09:02:32

There is no comma required.

"I am going to the park" said Peter

is the correct version.

goingmadinthecountry Sun 29-Sep-13 09:03:34

Comma goes inside speech marks. Google is telling you lies.

Hawkmoth Sun 29-Sep-13 09:04:04

Second one.

clam Sun 29-Sep-13 09:05:03

The second one is correct. The comma goes before the speech mark, and is a comma rather than a full stop as 'said Peter' is still to come.

amidaiwish Sun 29-Sep-13 09:05:18

But the instructions on her worksheet state
We put speech marks around whatever is said in a sentence. The speaker's first word always begins with a capital letter. A comma separates the speaker's words from the rest of he sentence.
I'm confused despite my GCSE A and this is a 7 year old's homework. blush

Shodan Sun 29-Sep-13 09:05:19

Yes, definitely comma inside the speech marks.

pozzled Sun 29-Sep-13 09:07:07

Yes, comma inside the speech marks. There is always some form of punctuation before closing speech marks. Full stop could be used if it were the end of the sentence:
Peter said "I am going to the park."
In the example in the OP, though, the sentence has nor finished so needs a comma.

CecilyP Sun 29-Sep-13 09:07:51

Should add that if there is no more to it, there should be a full stop after Peter. If the entire thing had just said, 'I am going to the shop' (without the 'said Peter') then there would be a full stop within the speech marks.

tiggytape Sun 29-Sep-13 09:14:17

"I am going to the park," said Peter

is correct. It wouldn't be a full stop after park because it isn't the end of the senence yet. It is the end of Peter's sentence but the writer isn't Peter. The writer is using longer sentences to report what Peter had said.

You cannot have a '99' (closed speech marks) without some form of punctuation directly before it. Often it will be a comma but it may also be a question mark etc.

eg "Why do I have to go to the park?" asked Peter

which would also be correct.

amidaiwish Sun 29-Sep-13 09:15:43

thanks all
will get DD to move the commas
she is mad, she had already put them inside, then i checked and got her to move them outside, then it didn't look right and i asked you lot. eek
for reference this site led me astray angry
grammar monster]

englishteacher78 Sun 29-Sep-13 09:15:44

Second option.
That is how it is done. Punctuation is necessary before the closure of the speech marks. The 'said Peter' is part of the original sentence not a sentence on its own.

Suzieismyname Sun 29-Sep-13 09:16:13

First one.

tiggytape Sun 29-Sep-13 09:17:55

It isn't a matter of personal choice - there is only one correct answer and it is the second one. The comma must go inside the speech marks directly before they close.

wanderings Sun 29-Sep-13 09:23:28

Just don't write it the way the French do:

- I am going to the park, said Peter.


Je vais au parc, dit Pierre.

The French put a dash at the beginning of the line to show speech, but then they don't use quotes, not even when the person has finished speaking!

CecilyP Sun 29-Sep-13 09:23:55

No, Shodan and pozzled, you are also wrong; in that simple sentence the comma comes after the speech marks. The only way the comma would be in the speech marks would be if it was something like;

'I am going to the park,' said Peter, 'and I am going this minute.'

I agree, amidiawish. that it is difficult for a 7 year old to get to grips with. And it obviously hasn't been taught properly in class if you have been saddled with the homework. (Not so much a 7 year old's homework but a 7 year old's mum's homework!) The worksheet is right though not as helpful, eg giving examples, as it might have been.

clam Sun 29-Sep-13 09:24:13

Bit shock as to how many people don't know this and are suggesting the first option, to be honest!

Mumzy Sun 29-Sep-13 09:28:07

2nd as the comma seperates the spoken words from non spoken ones and commas be within speech marks HTH

Shodan Sun 29-Sep-13 09:35:15

Sorry, CecilyP, but you're wrong.

The second one is correct, as tiggytape and englishteacher et al. have said.

amidaiwish Sun 29-Sep-13 09:37:32

the commas are now back INSIDE the speech marks. That looks right to me so will go with that . phew. who knew it would be so complicated. You're right CecilyP a few examples would have been helpful. there are a lot of non english parents in the class, i am surprised everyone hasn't been on email about this the whole weekend!

Euphemia Sun 29-Sep-13 09:44:15

Comma inside the speech marks, definitely.

StuntBottom Sun 29-Sep-13 09:49:05

Second one, definitely.

As an aside, I'd be interested to know the ages of people responding to this. I don't think grammar and spelling are as well taught as they were in my day (ancient old crone that I am!). I work in a school and see an alarming number of teachers - intelligent and educated individuals - whose spelling and grammar is appalling. All under thirty.

valiumredhead Sun 29-Sep-13 09:49:36

Comma inside speech marks.

eddiemairswife Sun 29-Sep-13 09:55:34

And a full-stop after Peter.

valiumredhead Sun 29-Sep-13 09:58:24

I'm 43 and remember this being drummed into us!grin

hopingforbest Sun 29-Sep-13 09:58:52

Wikipedia has an unusually helpful entry re the difference between US/UK and Fiction/Non-fiction usage: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quotation_mark

This is the sort of question that drove me nuts as a child - a question that has more than one possible answer but no space below to write your either/or explanation..

bamboostalks Sun 29-Sep-13 10:01:31

Am shocked at how wrong so many people are on this thread and how sure they are in their incorrect ness! It's not like there an option or a choice. There is only one correct answer and that of course is 2, no exceptions.

amidaiwish Sun 29-Sep-13 10:04:32

i am 40 and we were definitely the "skipped grammar" generation
My DDs are taught it more rigidly than we ever were.
I still have to correct dh's grammar, esp apostrophes, before he can submit any documents at work!

amidaiwish Sun 29-Sep-13 10:05:30

it doesn't help that the grammar monkey website is wrong, it's not as black and white as it seems. Maybe UK has adopted the US way of writing.

Wallison Sun 29-Sep-13 10:06:11

Just have a look at any book you have in the house - that will confirm that the 2nd example is correct. Punctuation is always before speech-marks.

amidaiwish Sun 29-Sep-13 10:06:33

summary from grammar monster regarding use of punctuation and speech marks:

The rules governing whether to place punctuation inside or outside speech marks are complicated. The quick summary is:
Semicolons and colons – outside
Exclamation marks and question marks – according to logic
Commas and periods/full stops – inside in the US, outside in the UK.

CecilyP Sun 29-Sep-13 10:09:34

I stand corrected; inside the speech marks is the preferred style in English fiction publishing.

tiggytape Sun 29-Sep-13 10:10:50

Grammar monkey is wrong.

valiumredhead Sun 29-Sep-13 10:11:52

Grammar monkey is a load of bolloxgrin

Ds is a grammar whizz, he says INSIDEgrin

mrz Sun 29-Sep-13 10:16:42

if the punctuation belongs to the quote inside the quotation marks, and a closing full stop/question mark/exclamation mark if the quote is a complete sentence

any punctuation which does not belong to the quote outside the quotation marks except closing punctuation.

englishteacher78 Sun 29-Sep-13 10:30:54

Nope, never been the UK way to put the comma outside.

valiumredhead Sun 29-Sep-13 10:37:06
valiumredhead Sun 29-Sep-13 10:38:27

Sorry,I think that's an American site

valiumredhead Sun 29-Sep-13 10:41:18

Quotes within quotes looks a bit messy!

clam Sun 29-Sep-13 10:45:09

The Americans also do not distinguish between practice and practise. And I would say in 90% of cases I see, they're used incorrectly over here.

ModeratelyObvious Sun 29-Sep-13 10:53:05

Comma inside the quote marks.

teacherwith2kids Sun 29-Sep-13 14:26:50

I think the generational thing is true.

I (40mumble) have had to crack the grammar books in order to be able to teach my class correctly, as a much more formal knowledge of grammar is now expected than was the norm in my 1970s schooling.

englishteacher78 Sun 29-Sep-13 14:44:03

Rediscover Grammar - David Crystal
An excellent resource.

mrz Sun 29-Sep-13 15:02:54
Mumzy Sun 29-Sep-13 15:04:06

If you or your Dcs ever did 11+ it is a basic question

TheRoundTable Sun 29-Sep-13 15:33:14

It's the second one.

Question marks used to confuse me like that though...

"May I have some sweets?", asked Peter.

Is this right or wrong?

clam Sun 29-Sep-13 15:42:55

Wrong. You don't need the comma after the question mark.

Mumzy Sun 29-Sep-13 15:43:41

No comma as ? Replaces it

valiumredhead Sun 29-Sep-13 15:48:06

Agree with clam.

HmmAnOxfordComma Sun 29-Sep-13 16:18:08

I can't believe how many people got this wrong.

Just pick up a book and look inside.

Ferguson Sun 29-Sep-13 16:21:50

"I am going to the park," said Peter.

Haven't read all 'thread' yet, but above is what it should be.

hels71 Sun 29-Sep-13 16:25:56

Having just spent all week doing speech with year 3 the second one is correct.
Speech marks BEFORE the first spoken word, capital letter for first spoken word, punctuation AFTER last spoken word (could be . , ? ! ) the speech marks after this. New line for a new speaker. If the speech comes during a sentence eg
Peter asked, "Where are you going?" t
hen you need a comma before the first speech marks too.

GuinevereOfTheRoyalCourt Sun 29-Sep-13 17:09:15

Amida, I too am of the same vintage as you and my understanding of grammar is also not as good as it should be.

Anyway, now I've completely absorbed wikipedia, it seems that the first form CAN be correct. But only in a specific circumstance. If you are writing non-fiction and directly quoting someone then any punctuation not part of the quote should be outside the quotation marks.

This little gem of interesting information isn't relevant to the homework being set, of course.

mrz Sun 29-Sep-13 17:28:27

Wiki should carry a "health warning"

LRDMaguliYaPomochTebeSRaboti Sun 29-Sep-13 17:32:47

Definitely inside the quotation marks.

I have made mistakes in about, oh, 99 places with this and just had a very patient, very irritated message from an English Lit academic about it! grin

Mind you, mine is non-fiction and I don't agree with guin. Punctuation should be inside quotation marks.

englishteacher78 Sun 29-Sep-13 17:38:15

Quotations and speech are different things. It's not an exception to the rule - just a different rule.

mrz Sun 29-Sep-13 17:56:39

Inverted commas are commonly known as speech or quotation marks.
In direct speech there should be a comma, full stop, question mark, or exclamation mark at the end of a piece of speech. This is placed inside the closing inverted comma or commas.

Ferguson Sun 29-Sep-13 18:15:48

Well, OP, we did get there in the end!

But is it not supposed to be the CHILD'S homework, not the parent's? The important thing is that DD does now UNDERSTAND how it works. (Better not tell her teacher though, that fifty people have been involved in getting the answer!)

Yes, agree David Crystal books are very useful. I also love one by Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots and Leaves.

amidaiwish Sun 29-Sep-13 19:59:39

Yes I should have just left DD to it. She had it right to start with before I came along checking it !!!

GuinevereOfTheRoyalCourt Sun 29-Sep-13 22:38:30

I really do find this whole argument utterly fatuous.

What exactly is the purpose of punctuation, exactly? This is ENGLISH for goodness sake. It's a language that has evolved over centuries, and continues to evolve. The comma, after, before, whatever, wherever, and so on... Why, exactly? The only reason for punctuation is to assist with comprehension. And frankly a comma, before or after a quotation mark makes absolutely BUGGER ALL difference to the comprehension of a piece of text.

I do find it incredibly odd when people get up in arms about the "rules" of English grammar. Perhaps if they could quote the superior authority that set out what was and wasn't "correct" English it would help? (Hint: There isn't one)

LRDMaguliYaPomochTebeSRaboti Sun 29-Sep-13 22:44:06

Oh, god, sorry! blush

I meant to indicate with my post that this is something I'm not at all clear on (with the 99-odd mistakes), not to be pedantic. I'm sorry that didn't come across.

I do think it's probably helpful for children to learn consistent rules for grammar and punctuation, just because I think when you are a child, you don't have the experience to know what helps comprehension and what doesn't - eg., of course we can all understand these examples no matter where the comma is placed, but we'd perhaps struggle if full stops were dispensed with altogether. A child isn't well placed to see those are two different orders orders of magnitude.

I agree that it doesn't matter to make a big fuss about it and I'm sure the OP's child's teacher will say which s/he prefers anyway.

hopingforbest Sun 29-Sep-13 23:04:45

If you google commas and quotation marks it becomes quickly clear that Americans believe there is a US and UK way of doing this, and they believe our way is, traditionally, comma outside the quote marks. Even if every fiction book I've ever read has the comma inside and nothing in our collective Mumsnet experience supports this view. Could it be a massive American myth? Or could it be that there has been a style change in the UK over the last couple of decades - maybe even as far back as the fifties - and the Americans haven't realised that we are now in line with them? This Slate, article, below, seems to find the 'British' way in Virginia Woolf (check your old editions, English lit bods - and come back and tell us what it says...)


LRDMaguliYaPomochTebeSRaboti Sun 29-Sep-13 23:31:28

I only have modern editions of Woolf, but I have a book published in 1901 in London here, and it has the commas inside quotation marks (for clarification since english records there are different conventions for ' and ", they're the latter).

I am entirely confused, though, so ...

hopingforbest Sun 29-Sep-13 23:36:25

Maybe Mumsnet has uncovered a massive american urban myth.

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