Reply Thu 28 Jun, 2012 04:59 pm
Someone's asked me to proofread their work, but they have a habit of always leading into quotes with commas. For example...

-He tilted his head to glance at me, eyebrows raised, “You ever going to get the burnt-out house cleared away?”-

Now, I'm relatively certain that should be a period between "raised" and "you," but I'd like to make sure I've got my grammar straight. When exactly is it appropriate to use commas or periods before quotes? Here's another excerpt which I think may be more correct, but, again... I'd like to double-check.

-“… Checking up on old friends,” I said carefully as I quickly swung my feet off the recliner, making a quick move towards where Johnny was hunting around in the back of the truck, “… Congrats on the new job.”-
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Question • Score: 12 • Views: 28,290 • Replies: 672

 
Roberta
 
  4  
Reply Thu 28 Jun, 2012 05:10 pm
@Joe England,
I would leave the comma in the first instance. It connects the quote to the person speaking. And it's fairly standard for quotes to be preceded by commas.

You have a mistake in your opening sentence.

Joe England wrote:
Someone's asked me to proofread their work, but they have a habit of always leading into quotes with commas. For example...




"Someone" is singular. "Their" and "they" refer to pluruals.

The opening sentence should read (assuming that the someone is a male):

Someone's asked me to proofread his work, but he has a habit of always leading into quotes with commas. For example...




Frank Apisa
 
  2  
Reply Thu 28 Jun, 2012 05:13 pm
@Joe England,
Quote:
Someone's asked me to proofread their work, but they have a habit of always leading into quotes with commas. For example...

-He tilted his head to glance at me, eyebrows raised, “You ever going to get the burnt-out house cleared away?”-

Now, I'm relatively certain that should be a period between "raised" and "you," but I'd like to make sure I've got my grammar straight.


I don't think you do. The period would be incorrect; the comma is correct...and I think a colon would also work, although the comma is preferred.

Your first clause gives pause. The word "their" is probably incorrect...and the "they" in the second clause also seems incorrect.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Jun, 2012 05:15 pm
@Roberta,
Wow...I was composing when you posted, but I see we were thinking along the same lines. Hope all is well with you, Roberta. I have got my little spells (seizures actually) under control completely these days. I know the problem caused some upset during our meet in the city a few years back.
Roberta
 
  2  
Reply Thu 28 Jun, 2012 05:43 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Definitely along the same lines.

You're right, Frank. A colon would also work. The period is out.

Glad to hear the spells are under control.
0 Replies
 
Joe England
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Jun, 2012 06:48 pm
@Joe England,
So, are there ever instances where periods would be appropriate before quotes?
0 Replies
 
Joe England
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Jun, 2012 08:17 pm
@Roberta,
And, regarding the "their/they" thing... what if I don't know the gender of the person in question?
roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Jun, 2012 08:55 pm
@Joe England,
Now, that could get sticky. We used to use the male pronoun in those case, but some now seem to find that to be offensive.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Jun, 2012 08:56 pm
@Joe England,
Implicit within this sentence is a phrase as follows :
Quote:
-He tilted his head to glance at me, eyebrows raised,and said ,“You ever going to get the burnt-out house cleared away?”-
The implied link makes the two phrases mere clauses of a complete sentence. Were you to put a period where you wanted, the first" sentence" would be incomplete
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Jun, 2012 09:35 pm
@Joe England,
Both Roberta and Frank Apisa are mistaken in their analysis of 'someone/their'.

That was a silly prescription that was invented in the 18th century. English speakers have never followed that nonsense/prescription because it wasn't/isn't a natural rule of English.

It is as dumb a "rule" as the prohibition against split infinitives or ending a sentence with a preposition, or starting a sentence with a conjunction.

Quote:
The singular "they"/"their"/"them"/"themselves" construction

These files contain a list of over 75 occurrences of the words "they"/"their"/"them"/"themselves" referring to a singular antecedent with indefinite or generic meaning in Jane Austen's writings (mainly in her six novels), as well as further examples of singular "their" etc. from the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and elsewhere. While your high-school English teacher may have told you not to use this construction, it actually dates back to at least the 14th century, and was used by the following authors (among others) in addition to Jane Austen: Geoffrey Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, the King James Bible, The Spectator, Jonathan Swift, Daniel Defoe, Frances Sheridan, Oliver Goldsmith, Henry Fielding, Maria Edgeworth, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, William Makepeace Thackeray, Sir Walter Scott, George Eliot [Mary Anne Evans], Charles Dickens, Mrs. Gaskell, Anthony Trollope, John Ruskin, Robert Louis Stevenson, Walt Whitman, George Bernard Shaw, Lewis Carroll, Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling, H. G. Wells, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edith Wharton, W. H. Auden, Lord Dunsany, George Orwell, and C. S. Lewis.

Singular "their" etc., was an accepted part of the English language before the 18th-century grammarians started making arbitrary judgements as to what is "good English" and "bad English", based on a kind of pseudo-"logic" deduced from the Latin language, that has nothing whatever to do with English. (See the 1975 journal article by Anne Bodine in the bibliography.) And even after the old-line grammarians put it under their ban, this anathematized singular "their" construction never stopped being used by English-speakers, both orally and by serious literary writers. So it's time for anyone who still thinks that singular "their" is so-called "bad grammar" to get rid of their prejudices and pedantry!

[READ ON AT]

http://www.crossmyt.com/hc/linghebr/austheir.html




farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Thu 28 Jun, 2012 09:39 pm
@JTT,
Quote:
It is as dumb a "rule" as the prohibition against split infinitives or ending a sentence with a preposition, or starting a sentence with a conjunction.
Go off in a corner and join Dave , because ,up,is with which that, shall not be put.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Jun, 2012 09:39 pm
@roger,
Quote:
We used to use the male pronoun in those case,


No, "we" didn't, Roger. The simple fact is that people using language in a natural fashion did not follow that silly prescription. People follow silly prescriptions only when they are reminded about them. The reason for this is that these prescriptions do not trigger the natural grammar parser we all have in our brain.

One only has to point to 'you' singular using a plural verb to show that this has long been a permissable use in English.

Pronouns, like many other structures serve more than one function in language. We have the royal 'we', the general 'you'.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Thu 28 Jun, 2012 09:51 pm
@farmerman,
Stop being a doofus, Farmer. You know **** about English grammar.
0 Replies
 
Joe England
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Jun, 2012 10:01 pm
@farmerman,
Hmm. Okay, so... are there ever instances where periods would be appropriate before quotes? Or is that a constant?
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Jun, 2012 10:36 pm
@Joe England,
I think lmore Leonard does that , and maybe some other mystery writers who use lots of dialogue to set thir storeis action. Dave Robicheaux mysteries come to mind and the old NEro Wolfe stuff.
They use lines of dialogue just piling one atop another, Leonard doesnt spend a lot of
"He said" stuff
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  3  
Reply Fri 29 Jun, 2012 12:35 am
@Joe England,
Joe England wrote:

Hmm. Okay, so... are there ever instances where periods would be appropriate before quotes? Or is that a constant?


A period would be appropriate before a quote if the sentence before the quote doesn't lead into the quote; the quote relates to what follows. I'm trying to come up with an example.

They were both silent as they walked down the street. "Which way should we go?" he asked when they got to the corner.
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  3  
Reply Fri 29 Jun, 2012 02:56 am
@Joe England,
Joe England wrote:

And, regarding the "their/they" thing... what if I don't know the gender of the person in question?


Historically, you would use the masculine. That's not as acceptable as it used to be. You can say he or she, him or her. Very awkward. I generally change the singular to a plural--even when I'm proofreading. However, the plural wouldn't work in your opening sentence:

Someone's asked me to proofread their work, but they have a habit of always leading into quotes with commas. For example...

You're talking about someone specific.

Here's an example.

If someone here knows the answer, they should speak up.

If there are people here who know the answer, they should speak up.

0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  2  
Reply Fri 29 Jun, 2012 07:30 am
@Joe England,
Quote:
Someone's asked me to proofread their work…


Quote:
And, regarding the "their/they" thing... what if I don't know the gender of the person in question?


Just ask the person who asked you to proofread the work to state his/her gender. That should help.

Or, use his/her.

JTT is off base with his criticism. The use of “their” in that sentence is not a catastrophe, but proper usage still is preferable.
joefromchicago
 
  0  
Reply Fri 29 Jun, 2012 09:04 am
@Roberta,
Roberta wrote:
The opening sentence should read (assuming that the someone is a male):

Someone's asked me to proofread his work, but he has a habit of always leading into quotes with commas. For example...

"Someone's" is incorrect. "Apostrophe s" is a contraction for "is," not "has."
Eva
 
  0  
Reply Fri 29 Jun, 2012 09:08 am
@joefromchicago,
Good catch!
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

WHO WANT'S TO KILL APOSTROPHE'S? - Discussion by Setanta
RULES OF THE SEMICOLON, please - Question by farmerman
Punctuation in a quote - Question by DK
Punctuation smackdown! - Question by boomerang
Use of comma before "by" - Question by illitarate4life
Use of Apostrophe - Question by Seizan
Punctuation - Question by LBrinkmann
Punctuation - Question by LBrinkmann
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Periods Meeting Quotes
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 09/16/2021 at 05:15:41