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Just practising the tests you have to do to become a teacher and this is bobbins surely...

(25 Posts)
Clary Sun 11-Sep-11 00:35:52 marked down for this piece of punctuation: (my version) One boy said: "I am really enjoying reading now." as opposed to: (their "correct" version) One boy said, "I am really enjoying reading now."

Surely the colon not the comma is correct? Help me ladies, I am not happy if the comma is being taught in schools now!

<will have to knuckle under to get best mark in test too, grumble grumble>

carpwidow Sun 11-Sep-11 00:38:03

Sorry Clary, but I think the comma is correct.

Clary Sun 11-Sep-11 00:40:02

I was a journalist for years and we always used the colon, worked in many places with different styles (eg some used no one, others no-one, some 10 others ten) but all used a colon.

Maybe it's a recent thing? Are you a young pedant carpwidow? smile

doublestandard Sun 11-Sep-11 00:40:04

You wouldn't use a colon with speech marks. And I think (but accept I am decades out of date!) a comma is only used in handwritten work, not typed in this scenario.

carpwidow Sun 11-Sep-11 00:46:12

What me? A pedant? <<grabs copy of 'Eats Shoots & Leaves'>> How very dare you? (like the 'young' bit though grin)

AnyoneButLulu Sun 11-Sep-11 00:48:48

I was always taught comma - and am a pedant of mature years.

starfishmummy Sun 11-Sep-11 00:49:43


Clary Sun 11-Sep-11 10:14:08

OK ladies have done a brief bit of research.

Using available reading matter around my home I have established:
The Journalist (NUJ magazine) uses colon
What's Brewing (CAMRA paper) uses colon
Private Eye uses colon
Local footie club programme uses colon
Middlemarch (gah! I'm ploughing through reading it!) - not much introduction of speech this way but she uses either a dash or a comma. One instance also of a colon.

Not sure where this gets us. No proper daily papers here but I know the local paper uses a colon because I worked there for years.

Why do you all say comma when all these people use a colon. What's going on????

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Sun 11-Sep-11 10:24:40

Checked with OH, both are correct, the comma is the older style which is why the news publications you are using to check are using the colon.
He also went off muttering about OUP house style, American preferences and the difference between quoting a sentence rather than a phrase but my crumpets were getting cold so I didn't listen to that bit.

carpwidow Sun 11-Sep-11 10:37:54

Carp Widow said [, or :] "I wonder then if the colon is used in journalistic writing when quoting an individual and the comma is used in narrative?"

Clary Sun 11-Sep-11 13:24:40

I need to check Fowler's don't I.

I am surprised if my useage is more modern (!) - I was using a colon to introduce speech in this way when I started work in 1986!

Any more thoughts anyone?

Clary Sun 11-Sep-11 13:25:38

I wouldn't use a colon when quoting a phrase btw, probably nothing:

He said he was "really annoyed" about the ridiculous nature of English.

He said: "I am really annoyed about it."

PuppyMonkey Sun 11-Sep-11 13:29:40

I'm a journalist and it's colons all the way for me. Mind you, we are taught to do some weird things with speech. Like this:

She said:"xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxx.

"xxxxx xxxxxxxx vbbxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

"...,,,,vvvvvv xxxxxxxxxxxxx."

Note the speech marks.

Carrotsandcelery Sun 11-Sep-11 13:32:39

I used to teach English and every text book I had access to used a comma.

purpleturtle Sun 11-Sep-11 13:35:35

I would never use a colon with speech marks.

tabulahrasa Sun 11-Sep-11 13:40:52

comma here too

VictorianIce Sun 11-Sep-11 15:53:28

Is this the difference between using quotations in journalism and in normal narrative prose? Printed novels use the comma.

I have taught higher ability pupils they can use a colon to introduce speech in newspaper article-type writing (no need to confuse the others!).

I'd agree with the use of speech marks shown above too. When there is more than one paragraph in direct speech then you don't close them at the end of paragraph 1, but you re-open at the beginning of each subsequent paragraph and only close at the end of the whole speech.

Clary Sun 11-Sep-11 20:39:58

I wonder about this wrt journalism too. But the book I was just reading to the DC at bedtime uses a colon. Puppymonkey those speech marks are correct, no need to close them if it's a continuous quote.

DH says of the comma, "It's just what is taught in schools." OOoooh it grates but I'm gonna have to do it eh? Still it's only for a test as I am not actually going to be an English teacher! grin

poolet Sun 11-Sep-11 21:05:19

I was taught comma at school in the 60's so not new! I would never think to use a colon before quotation marks. And the way PuppyMonkey demonstrated them - strange but correct.

PuppyMonkey Mon 12-Sep-11 08:16:39

It was the extra quote marks at the beginning of each par I meant was odd re my example. I wasn't taught that way at school.

Clary Mon 12-Sep-11 22:49:27

oh you need the quotes at the beginning of each par or you might the=ink the quote had ended.

shineypenny Mon 12-Sep-11 22:52:09

The comma is correct; colons are only used by journalists wink

LaBag Thu 15-Sep-11 04:10:02

Why does it actually need a comma or a colon?

TBH I believe a colon is more correct. A comma is a pause of breath and you certainly wouldn't use that in the OPs sentence.

I still wouldn't use anything - so there!

Abra1d Thu 15-Sep-11 16:12:07

For press releases in my marketing/PR work I would use a colon before direct speech. When I'm writing fiction for my publisher, I use a comma.

racingheart Sat 15-Oct-11 22:53:03

Both are acceptable. In fiction (my field) the colon denotes a more forceful statement.
She said, 'I'm going to bed.' (She's just going to bed.)
She said: 'I'm going to bed.' (She's not just going to bed, she's making a point of letting people know it, maybe because there's a subtext.)
The colon subtly attaches more force or more importance to the statement than a comma would. Rhythmically, the colon has a longer breath pause, equivalent to the full stop, so the colon creates more suspense prior to the speech. The comma simply shifts gear from narrator's voice to speaker's.

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