6

Okay, so I have this sentence.

"He's where?" Suzy demanded "And what happened to your rig? The whole front is bashed in!"

As you can see, I did not put in a comma or a period after demanded because I do not know which one to use. Should it be

"He's where?" Suzy demanded, "And what happened to your rig? The whole front is bashed in!"

or

"He's where?" Suzy demanded. "And what happened to your rig? The whole front is bashed in!"

  • No punctuation after "demanded" scans wrong. I would recommend the period. The comma looks a bit odd unless the remainder of the quote is still being demanded. – A.Ellett Aug 28 '15 at 5:30
2

From Punctuation in Dialogue (source: The Editor's Blog)

Dialogue interrupted by dialogue tag
Dialogue can be interrupted by a tag and then resume in the same sentence. Commas go inside the first set of quotation marks and after the dialogue tag (or action).

“He loved you,” she said, “but you didn’t care.”
“He loved you,” she said, hoping to provoke a reaction, “but you didn’t care.”

Separating this into two sentences also works. The first sentence will end with a period and the second will begin with a capital letter.

“He loved you,” she said, hoping to provoke a reaction. “But you didn’t care.”

Note that "separating into two sentences" only works if the dialog tag is inserted at a point where the quote can logically make two sentences. You can't use a period with something like this:

"That is, without a doubt," he said, "the worst pirate I have ever seen." -ok
"That is, without a doubt," he said. "The worst pirate I have ever seen." -wrong

So, your initial sentence cannot stand without either a comma or a period, but either of your suggestions can work (although if you use the comma, the "and" of the continuing dialogue should be lowercased); it just depends on how you want it to read.

(The way I interpret it, the comma makes it read more as two simultaneous questions that occurred to the speaker, while the period makes it read as one main question that was already in mind, and then a follow-up.)

0

I'd go with the third one ("He's where?" Suzy demanded. "And what happened to your rig? The whole front is bashed in!") because the first piece of the dialogue is a complete sentence (if it had ended with a period you would put a comma in place of the question mark.) If you want to insert a speech tag in the middle of a piece of dialogue, you'd do this: "No," Suzy said angrily, "I don't." The second one is (very, very technically) acceptable, but it implies that the question is a single continuing one ("He's where and what happened to your rig?") which I don't think is what you intended.

  • Your answer would be clearer with some paragraphing, and a more authorative tone. – DougM Sep 1 '15 at 16:45
-1

It depends on what Suzy is demanding. Is she demanding to know where "He" is? In that case, it should read:

"He's where," Suzy demanded. "And what happened to your rig? The whole front is bashed in!"

If Suzy is demanding to know "what happened to your rig," it should read:

"He's where? And what happened to your rig," Suzy demanded. "The whole front is bashed in!"

  • The issue is the punctuation after the dialog description, not the inclusion of a question mark or after which sentence it's best to interrupt the flow of the quote. – DougM Sep 1 '15 at 16:43

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