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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


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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