Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Possible Duplicate:
Punctuation of direct speech, edge cases

Schwimmer promised Ciccaroni “nothing would happen to any teacher of mine under my watch,” and told him not to bring any pepper spray onto school grounds.

I am having a real hard time trying to figure out if there should there be a comma in the above sentence. Can anyone please explain why there should or should not be a comma ?

share|improve this question
1  
If you're so worried about getting assaulted that you might have to carry pepper spray, maybe punctuation isn't your biggest problem. –  Robusto Oct 25 '12 at 18:28
    
I wouldn't put a comma there because it separates the subject (Schwimmer) from the second verb (told). The clause beginning with and is not an independent clause. –  JLG Oct 25 '12 at 18:48
    
@JLG I think that makes more sense, so if I wanted to throw a comma in I would need to add she: Schwimmer promised Ciccaroni “nothing would happen to any teacher of mine under my watch,” and she told him not to bring any pepper spray onto school grounds. –  imos Oct 25 '12 at 18:50
    
Yes. (Not sure if Barrie England would agree with me, but that is what I would do [especially if you want to keep the direct quote as you seem to].) –  JLG Oct 25 '12 at 18:58
    
Also, most 'authorities' call for a comma before the quote, which to my mind makes one after it virtually obligatory. (Me, I like it like it is.) –  StoneyB Oct 26 '12 at 11:49
add comment

marked as duplicate by Andrew Leach, Zairja, Mitch, RegDwigнt Oct 25 '12 at 22:42

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

1 Answer

There are bigger problems here than punctuation. The sentence is a mixture of direct and indirect speech, and you need to make it one or the other. Indirect speech might be preferable, in which case it becomes:

Schwimmer promised Ciccaroni that nothing would happen to any teacher of his under his watch, and told him not to bring any pepper spray onto school grounds.

share|improve this answer
    
Or promised Ciccaroni “Nothing will happen to any teacher of mine under my watch,” –  StoneyB Oct 25 '12 at 21:47
    
@StoneyB: I did wonder about that, but I wasn't sure that promise would normally introduce a piece of direct speech. Inversion is a but unusual these days too. –  Barrie England Oct 26 '12 at 6:24
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.