I was confused by the word “swirl”, yet it becomes obvious “swirl” is the correct word, when the following speaker repeats the word, seconds later.

I was told there were two errors with my punctuation in the above sentence:

  • the quotation marks were not necessary
  • "...repeats the word seconds later." (no comma)

Is the grader correct? Removing the punctuation indicated seems incorrect to me. Thanks.

  • The comma is optional - it just depends whether you mean seconds later to be a kind of afterthought or incidental detail, or whether it is integral to what you are saying. I'm not sure it's wrong exactly to leave the quotation marks out, but I think it is much better to put them in. Consider I was confused by the word order versus I was confused by the word "order". In my view your version is better than the grader's. – Minty Jun 11 at 2:17
  • I would leave the quotation mark and the first comma (although the comma goes inside the closing quotation mark), but I don't see any reason for the second or third commas. Note that you can also use italics rather than quotation marks—in fact, that's the more common way of representing a word as a word. – Jason Bassford Jun 11 at 3:14
  • @JasonBassford this was for an online test I was taking, where we could only use plaintext. It wasn't possible to use italics. – wrecclesham Jun 12 at 3:07

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