Is it correct to have a comma before the closing quotation marks in a case like the following?

“The combination of wet weather and time of day make this a dangerous stretch of road. Drivers have to take extra care in these conditions,” Officer Neville Plodd said.

  • It's not a question of grammar per se, but one of punctuation style. A comma (inside or outside the closing quotes) would once have been considered 'necessary' to set off the completed statement, doing duty for the full stop (messy in the middle of the whole sentence). Nowadays, the comma would often be omitted, though 'Officer Neville Plod said' would usually be inverted. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 11 '14 at 8:38
  • ... According to grammar.ccc: In the United Kingdom, Canada, and islands under the influence of British education ... ... punctuation around quoted speech or phrases depends on how it fits into the rest of your text. If a quoted word or phrase fits into the flow of your sentence without a break or pause, then a comma may not be necessary: The phrase "lovely, dark and deep" begins to suggest ominous overtones. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 11 '14 at 8:44
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    Highly related: Punctuation edge cases – Andrew Leach Sep 11 '14 at 8:50
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    At any rate, this is about punctuation and not grammar. If you read that sentence aloud, there will be no punctuation marks at all. That has no bearing whatsoever on whether or not it's grammatical. – RegDwigнt Sep 11 '14 at 9:02

Yes it is. At least if we believe ODO's take on the matter, and personally I see no valid reason to not believe them, except if you (have to) follow a style guide that tells you differently. ODO says:

There should be a comma, full stop, question mark, or exclamation mark at the end of a piece of speech. This is placed inside the closing inverted comma or commas.
‘Can I come in?’ he asked.
‘Just a moment!’ she shouted.
‘You’re right,’ he said.

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    A valid reason is that this is a matter of style, and that other style guides give other guidance here. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 11 '14 at 8:45
  • @EdwinAshworth: you are right, of course. I added a bit of nuance. :) – oerkelens Sep 11 '14 at 9:13
  • so despite being a matter of style rather than grammar, is it correct for me to leave the sentence as it is? – Kelly chanti Sep 11 '14 at 10:17
  • Do you have to follow a style guide that says the comma is wrong? If not, then the ODO at least tells you your sentence is fine. – oerkelens Sep 11 '14 at 10:19
  • no, I'm a first-year journalism student who can't find her style guide so I'm turning to the internet for assistance. Thank you – Kelly chanti Sep 11 '14 at 10:24

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