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Below, I have written two sentences. Can you comment on the positioning of the first comma in each case. Are both sentences correct?

  1. "You're wrong", Eddie replied.

  2. "You're wrong," Eddie replied, "that's not what I said."

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The latter example is correct.

A comma follows the dialogue and comes before the closing quotation mark. A period ends the sentence. Punctuation serves to separate the spoken words from other parts of the sentence. (The Editor's Blog)

Here is the general format for commas in dialogue:

[articulation], "[dialogue]," [articulation].

or

"[dialogue]," [articulation], "[dialogue]."

The rule is that the commas go inside the dialogue. They can separate clauses within sentences of the dialogue, or replace periods between sentences of the dialogue. However, if the punctuation at the end of a sentence in the dialogue is a question mark or exclamation point, the comma does not replace it. The end of the entire sentence should not be a comma.

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  • Nice answer. I upvoted but the answer may get downvoted because there's no source explaining where the rules came from. Could you add it? – Xanne Nov 12 '17 at 20:17
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    This is only a style recommendation, which makes 'The rule is that the commas go inside the dialogue.' as reliable as 'The rule is that the commas go outside the dialogue.' At the duplicate, the true situation (both conventions are in use) is given in an answer. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 12 '17 at 22:45

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