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Usually, after a reporting verb, there is bound to be a comma, but what if the constructions are as follow:

As if waiting for me to say that one sentence, Cornelia followed up with a request, “Welp, there’s one thing you can help me with.”

In this example, there is no reporting verb, but with "followed up with a request" it sounds more correct to my ears to add a comma.

“Ah, um, how do I say this?” Scratching the back of my head, I blurted out the content of my mind: “You sure are pretty today.”

Looking at this example, "blurted out" is a reporting verb, and therefore, is accompanied with a comma, but because there's an additional "the content of my mind," I think that colon is better.

Still, are these two constructions even grammatically correct?

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  • Personally, I would use a full stop (period) and treat the speech as a new sentence. Commented Feb 13, 2022 at 15:01
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    Not a comma. This is one of the few places I'd retain the colon. // It's confusing to call a verb used in a speech tag (John said / whispered /groaned ... ; asked Jill ...) a reporting verb as this is not reported (indirect) speech. 'Quote/quotative verb' is more felicitous for the usage. //// Note also that speech tags before a quote may be followed by a comma or colon or (increasingly commonly) zero punctuation. All are considered acceptable per se, though individual sentences may well be better using one or other of the options. Commented Feb 13, 2022 at 15:14
  • I don't see a problem with the grammar. But is grammar really what you're asking about? Your choice of punctuation in these examples also seems fine.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Feb 13, 2022 at 17:01
  • Thank you everyone for the input. @EdwinAshworth I see. colon does work best here, huh.
    – ZZZ
    Commented Feb 14, 2022 at 2:43

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