I am writing speech such as:

"There is just one problem" said she "I don't think my friend will like it."

What is the correct way of punctuating this? I could put up to three full stops in the text but I am not confident.

  • 4
    Others may feel differently, but I would write "There is just one problem," she said; "I don't think my friend will like it."
    – Anonym
    Jan 24, 2016 at 19:12
  • What @Anonym said. Lembik - are you deliberately writing in an archaic/poetic register? Jan 24, 2016 at 19:28
  • @FumbleFingers Yes. The "said she" is just to add a little poetry to the prose.
    – Simd
    Jan 24, 2016 at 19:52
  • @Anonym Is there an alternative without a semi-colon?
    – Simd
    Jan 24, 2016 at 19:55
  • 1
    @Lembik You can almost always replace a semicolon with a period, but the two sentences are so closely tied together semantically that I couldn't justify separating them. This is just my opinion, but the archaic and austere said she is at odds with the modern colloquial tenor of the rest.
    – Anonym
    Jan 24, 2016 at 20:44

1 Answer 1


This is a matter of style, like all issues of punctuation, and as such you should consider adhering to the the rules of your manual of style. Since you've already decided to confuse your reader by salting your prose with "a little poetry," you may well decide to adopt your own idiosyncratic standard of punctuation. I, myself, prefer the Chicago Manual of Style, which recommends ending a quoted first declaration with a comma and the speaker-identifying clause with a period:

"There is just one problem," she said. "I don't think my friend will like it."

  • This is very helpful, thank you. I did wonder if you could do that.
    – Simd
    Jan 24, 2016 at 22:04

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