Why is dialogue formatted so differently? It's like a totally different set of rules are used in regards to books and stories than normal grammar. Is there any sense of it? Why the comma before quotations if the tag is before and why have the comma inside the quotations if the tag is after? I am just trying to make sense of it in my head. Why are they punctuated the way they are!?


Some of the conventions go back to the days of setting type. The single dot tended to break off, so the quotation mark was placed after it to protect it.



It is purely convention. An experienced reader does not even see the punctuation because it is always the same.

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 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.

I am interested as to why we kept this then. Additionally, why is it that we do things like omit the comma when an exclamation mark or something else is used? For example,

"Do you want to go to the store?" Bob asked.

We don't ever format it like this: "I want to go to the store." Bob said.

Shouldn't it logically be "Do you want to go to the store?," Bob asked. I know that looks funky, but at the same time, it sounds more logical.

I am a non-native English speaker and writer, so please bear with me.