1

"Yes?" she asked.

Here, she has no capital, because "Yes?" is an element of the same sentence, which describes what is happening said element.

"Noooo!" He fell to his knees.

Here, He is capitalized, because it's the start of a new sentence, describing what happened after the implicit "[whoever] said" of the quotation.

OK, but is the following correct?

"Why?" she heard him ask.

The reason I'm not 100% sure is that the part after the quote is not describing him asking, but instead describing her hearing him.

If that's wrong, then fixing it by capitalizing she would be awkward, because then the separate sentence might imply that there's a second thing being asked. So then you'd have to go further to refer back to the quote as this, but that's also awkward:

"Why?" She heard him ask this.

You would probably want add something to make it worth using heard over said in the first place, making it something like:

"Why?" She heard him ask this, but then everything went black.

"Why?" She heard him ask this. I could tell by the puzzled look it elicited from her.

  • 1
    I'd have no problems with ' "Why?" she heard him ask.' We wouldn't baulk at '... she heard him ask/shout "Why?" '. And with the re-ordering, the meaning remains clear, and a period wouldn't enhance clarity (as you say, probably the opposite). Punctuation is here to help, not enslave and terrorise. / You're right about awkwardness being best avoided, and about the difference padding makes here. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 17 '17 at 9:55
1

I think you have answered your own question.

"Yes?" she asked.

Here, she has no capital, because "Yes?" is an element of the same sentence, which describes what is happening said element.

That is, "Yes?" is the object of asked.

In your queried sentence, it's much the same:

"Why?" she heard him ask.

The reason I'm not 100% sure is that the part after the quote is not describing him asking, but instead describing her hearing him.

Re-arrange, and Why is again the object of ask. It's all part of the same sentence.

|improve this answer|||||

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.