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I am confused about two things when using quotations.

First, how do you know when to put a comma after the word just before the quotation begins?

Second, how do you know whether or not to capitalize the first word of a quotation?

For example, which of the following sentences are correct, and why? Which are incorrect, and why?

Option 1. After a while, he said, “The scars will fade.”

Option 2. After a while, he said, “the scars will fade.”

Option 3. After a while, he said “The scars will fade.”

Option 4. After a while, he said “The scars will fade.”
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Option 2 - you DO put the comma right before the quote and you DO start the quoted material with a capital letter.

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Grammar GeekOption 2 - you DO put the comma right before the quote and you DO start the quoted material with a capital letter.

Hi Barbara

It should be option 1.

Option 1. After a while, he said, “The scars will fade.” (You DO start the quoted material with a capital letter.)

Option 2. After a while, he said, “the scars will fade.” ( In this sentence, the quoted material doesn't start with a capital letter.)
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Would a colon be acceptable?

After a while, he said: “The scars will fade.”
Akavall Would a colon be acceptable?

After a while, he said: “The scars will fade.”

Yes. The following is an example. I think the colon is used in AmE, wheres in BrE a comma is used.

After feeling discouraged and behind 25 points in the last basketball championship game, the coach was reminded of something Winston Churchill once said: "Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others."
What about in a sentence such as:

But ultimately, he said, “success really does build success.”

or

Ultimately, he said, “the war machinery that uses force will benefit more in the long term,” stressing that it must be considered how the people evaluating the actions of the military will judge its actions.

Each of these examples came from articles published online by well-known U.S. colleges. Is it correct NOT to capitalize the first letter in the quotation in these cases? If so, why is capitalization not required here, while it IS required in After a while, he said, "The scars will fade."? [:^)]
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ScribblerWhat about in a sentence such as:

But ultimately, he said, “success really does build success.” (Same as stated below.)

or

Ultimately, he said, “the war machinery that uses force will benefit more in the long term,” stressing that it must be considered how the people evaluating the actions of the military will judge its actions. (No capital is needed if the writer is not quoting all that is said by the speaker. In other words, there are some words left out before 'the war machinery'.)

Each of these examples came from articles published online by well-known U.S. colleges. Is it correct NOT to capitalize the first letter in the quotation in these cases? If so, why is capitalization not required here, while it IS required in After a while, he said, "The scars will fade."? [:^)]
Sorry - I had a very small window and got mixed up. Yes, I meant Option 1.

I don't know where this idea about the colon being American English came from. I never use a colon to introduce a simple quote.
Maybe the colon use is not American, but is it OK to use it?

According to wikipedia (on colon usage):

"segmental: introduces a direct speech, in combination with quotation marks and dashes.

......

Julian Duguid, author of Green Hell (1931), starts his book boldly: “When a man yields to the urge of Ishmael . . .” "

So it seems that colon works too, but I am not sure that the example here and the one on wikipedia are dealing with identical situations.
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