"Whatever," says Peyton.

I understand the comma needs to be after "whatever" to indicate that is what Peyton is saying but..

Peyton says, "Whatever."

can a period go there because that's all she said or does a comma need to be there as well?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Mari-Lou A, FumbleFingers, TimLymington, Centaurus, Drew Aug 24 '15 at 4:23

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • This depends on your style guide. There is no single correct answer for any punctuation questions. – curiousdannii Aug 22 '15 at 6:52

There needs to be a comma if there is a clause following it.

I'm a copy editor, and in AP style, dialogue looks something like this:

"I was excited to hear about Stack Overflow's 10 millionth question," Randall Flagg said. "I only wish I had started answering questions sooner."

If the attribution precedes the quote, than a period (or other punctuation) is just fine:

Fran snorted. "Who'd have guessed?"

Don't double up on question/exclamation marks and commas

"What?" Mom yelled


"What?," Mom yelled.

  • But Randall Flag has not finished the sentence in your example, so a comma is certainly appropriate. The question, though, relates to a one word statement which is completed, and which would finish with a period (full stop) were it not for the continuing "says Peyton". – Margana Aug 21 '15 at 21:54
  • I had conceived of them as two separate sentences, as they are independent of each other, but I can see how they would be confusing with the but in there. Edited for clarity. – Azor Ahai Aug 21 '15 at 21:58
  • Ok Press Tilty. Now you've edited your reply, it matches the question's sentence.In AP style cou;d you punctuate your original snetence as: ""I was excited to hear about Stack Overflow's 10 millionth question," said Randall Flagg, "but I only wish I had started answering questions sooner." ? – Margana Aug 21 '15 at 22:09
  • Well strictly speaking, you're supposed to place the attribution at the end of a sentence anyway, so a mid-sentence break doesn't usually happen. In opening a novel I have nearby, the sentence reads "I'm sure you do," the lawyer said, "but I believe I'll count Mr. Henreid's teeth before I leave." So, yes your suggestion would be correct. – Azor Ahai Aug 21 '15 at 22:17

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