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Asked • 06/26/19

Punctuation of reported speech within direct speech?

I've got a fiction 'speech within speech' situation, and I'd like opinions on how to handle the internal final punctuation -- inside or outside the quotes. This is British English. Example: The character says: [Statement A] "Oh no, he always brings that up, ‘Just like the last time, it’ll be,’ he says, never lets me touch a drop." Problem: in British English that comma after "be" would go outside the final single quote mark if it wasn't direct speech, ie., if an omniscient narrator says: [Statement B] John was liable to say "Just like last time, it'll be", or something like that, which annoyed her. So, in the first example, A, does my character qualify as a surrogate omniscient narrator? In which case the comma should go outside the single quote? Or does the interior quote qualify as a reporting direct speech, in which case the comma stands as I've rendered it, inside the single quote?

1 Expert Answer


Karina R. answered • 12/05/19

5 (2)

ESL/English/Spanish Specialist (M.A.)

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