I have a question regarding the sentence below.
Before the guards can move to block your path, you hear "Let him speak."
Is this direct speech? And do I need a comma after hear? The word hear confuses me a bit because it is not a standard dialogue tag like "she said" or "he asked." Help?
PS. Should I have italicized "she said" and "he said" instead of putting quotation marks around them? I know I am supposed to italicize words that are referred to as words. What about phrases?