Punctuation Quiz #17: Attribution

By Mark Nichol

The following sentences deliberately lack internal punctuation whether such punctuation is correct or not. Insert punctuation as necessary to correct them.

1. Her reply was as follows “We have no comment in response to the allegations.”

2. She said that the management “has no comment in response to the allegations.”

3. She said “We have no comment in response to the allegations.”

4. “We have no comment in response to the allegations” she said.

5. In response to the allegations she said that the management has no comment.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: Her reply was as follows “We have no comment in response to the allegations.”
Correct : Her reply was as follows: “We have no comment in response to the allegations.”

When the attribution is a complete phrase that sets up the following quotation, use a colon.

2.
Original: She said that the management “has no comment in response to the allegations.”
Correct : She said that the management “has no comment in response to the allegations.”

When an attribution is followed by a paraphrase that is grammatically integrated with a partial quotation so that the paraphrase and the partial quotation form a complete sentence, no punctuation should appear between the paraphrase and the partial quotation. This sentence is correct.

3.
Original: She said “We have no comment in response to the allegations.”
Correct : She said, “We have no comment in response to the allegations.”

Follow a simple attribution preceding a quotation with a comma.

4.
Original: “We have no comment in response to the allegations” she said.
Correct : “We have no comment in response to the allegations,” she said.

Follow a quotation preceding an attribution with a comma (unless the sentence is interrogative or imperative, in which case a question mark or an exclamation point should replace the comma).

5.
Original: In response to the allegations she said that the management has no comment.
Correct : In response to the allegations, she said that the management has no comment.

When a quotation is paraphrased and an attribution separates two parts of the paraphrase, precede the attribution with a comma.

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