A friend was editing an essay of mine, and took issue with this sentence:

Bob gave Alice some instructions, finishing with, "and then you're good to go!"

My friend doesn't think the comma immediately following "instructions" is necessary. I can't think of I rule I've learned that means the comma is required, but I still feel like the sentence needs it. I would appreciate any input.

  • Possible duplicate of Is there a comma needed before quotation? Sep 25, 2016 at 21:55
  • That's correct @suməlic - I will edit the question to be more specific.
    – KnightOfNi
    Sep 25, 2016 at 23:04
  • 1
    Oops. That one is included if 'finishing with ...' gives more information about Bob's speaking (Bob gave Alice some instructions; he finished with "and then you're good to go!". It is omitted if 'finishing with ...' modifies 'instructions' (Bob gave Alice some instructions, which finished with "and then you're good to go!"). Sep 25, 2016 at 23:16
  • @Edwin Ah, good, that's what I suspected. If you'd like to make that an answer, I will gladly mark it as accepted.
    – KnightOfNi
    Sep 26, 2016 at 1:14

1 Answer 1



This all depends on whether the instructions finish with the quote (in which case the comma should be omitted) or Bob finishes the instructions with the quote (comma should be kept).

  • This is not an opinion. It's precisely what I would have answered, though with a bit more elaboration. It fundamentally boils down to this. Jul 4, 2017 at 21:08

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