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Is the comma after the last sentence in the quote correct? This is for a verbatim transcript.

If someone comes in and says, “Look, I need a new part. It’s broken. I’ve got someone here that’s waiting for repairs. They want that part as quickly as possible,” product availability is important.

  • For a verbatim transcript or not, your example doesn’t work in English. The real grammatical structure won’t change if you use instead ‘If someone says, “Look …” product availability is important.’ The problem is not whether but why you think the comma after the last sentence might be correct. Whether it’s from a verbatim transcript matters how, unless you think verbatim transcripts can’t be wrong? Are you asking about ‘ “Look… possible,” product availability is important’ and the rest of the wording is grammatically irrelevant, or what? – Robbie Goodwin Nov 19 '18 at 20:44
  • Rephrase it to avoid the awkwardness. Product availability is important when someone comes in and says, "Look . . . as possible." – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Nov 19 '18 at 21:25
  • @JasonBassford since it's verbatim, rephrasing clearly is excluded as an option. – Chappo Says Reinstate Monica Nov 19 '18 at 22:07
  • @chappo Only the part in quotation marks can be verbatim. If all of it is verbatim, then the question itself is meaningless because the commas are part of it. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Nov 19 '18 at 22:13
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    @chappo If that's the case, it would work better to treat everything within the quotation marks as part of a single sentence with breaks. (If all you're doing is interpreting what's been said, there's no reason to interpret it as multiple sentences.) Keep the commas and use dashes or ellipses rather than periods. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Nov 19 '18 at 22:28
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Yes, it's correct. Awkward because of the length of the parenthetical statement, but correct.

However, it might work better to use dashes:

If someone comes in and says – “Look, I need a new part. It’s broken. I’ve got someone here that’s waiting for repairs. They want that part as quickly as possible” – product availability is important.

Punctuating a transcript involves trying to decode the intent of the speaker while being as objective as possible. Part of the difficulty in transcribing is that spoken English doesn't conform neatly to rules: we typically speak in sentence fragments, and ellipsis (leaving out words that are understood in context) is common.

For example, in the above transcript, I could assume a consequential "then" is implicit - "If someone comes in and says X, then product availability is important." If this, then that. However, the speaker might not have meant this at all. The last four words might instead reflect the speaker suddenly inserting their own editorial comment about the quoted statement, and the opening six words of the sentence have been left hanging, the thought unfinished.

Using the dashes is one way to parse the whole paragraph without editorially resolving what the speaker's intent might have been. The awkwardness remains, but the transcript is as objectively valid as possible.

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Following the assumption that the entire passage is a verbatim quote (and not just the part in quotation marks) and that only the punctuation itself can be styled differently (as spoken words are not punctuated), here is an alternate possibility for the passage:

If someone comes in and says, “Look, I need a new part . . . it’s broken . . . I’ve got someone here that’s waiting for repairs . . . they want that part as quickly as possible,” product availability is important.

This allows for everything being part of a single sentence, with one comma introducing the speech and the other introducing the conditional result.

Dashes could also be used in place of some or all of the ellipses.

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