Friday, January 18, 2013
The Comma and the "Unofficial" Speech Tag
A comma or not following an "unofficial" speech tag? When you write a true opening speech tag (he said, she responded, he asked), you need a comma separating it from your quoted words:
She said, "I love to write Language Lady blog posts."
However, if you write an "unofficial" opening speech tag (According to Websters Dictionary, kindness is or Kindness can be defined as), do not place a comma before your quoted words.
According to Webster's Dictionary, kindness is "an act of compassion."
Kindness can be defined as "an act of compassion."
The "official" rule on this is that other than true speech tags with quoted material following, you can not use a comma between a verb and its object or a preposition and its object:
NOT: According to Webster's Dictionary, kindness is, "an act of compassion." That would be a comma between the verb is and its object (predicate nominative in this case...)
NOT: Kindness can be defined as, "an act of compassion." That would be a comma between the preposition as and its object (a phrasal object in this case).