Consider the sample sentence below from a novel.

As he stared at it, Emma announced “Its blackberry cake! It’s the best cake you’ll ever taste. Honest!” And with that, she stuffed in another big mouthful as she giggled happily.

I am unsure if this formatting is proper, or if I should have commas before and after the quotation, and a lowercase or uppercase A in and.

The alternative would be like the following:

As he stared at it, Emma announced, “Its blackberry cake! It’s the best cake you’ll ever taste. Honest!”, and with that, she stuffed in another big mouthful as she giggled happily.

Which formatting is proper for a novel, with bookending quotations in commas or without, or am I totally off and some third option is correct?

  • 1
    For a proper answer, I'd need a reference, but certainly the first comma is needed. I'm not sure about the second one, given that there is already a punctuation mark there. And by the way, it should be "it's" in both cases. If you copied the original verbatim, it shows they were not careful with grammar.
    – Zeus
    Mar 21, 2019 at 23:37
  • Neither is correct. In the first version you need a comma after announced, in the second the comma after Honest! is superfluous because of the exclamation mark. Mar 22, 2019 at 11:40

1 Answer 1


When adding a quote in a sentence, a first comma is always added before the quote starts. For example,

She cried, "Don't leave."

Similarly, if the sentence is starting with the quote instead, the comma follows it. For example,

"Don't leave", she cried.

So, in short, if simple, non quoted words are present before or after the quote, they are always separated from the quote by commas.For example,

She cried, "Don't leave", sadness clearly visible in her eyes.

Now in your given example, it depends if the writer wanted to use these sentences as two separate ones (like he did) or as one combined sentence (like you made it to be). In his case, the sentence is correct too, as he wanted the "And with that, she stuffed in another big mouthful as she giggled happily." to be a separate sentence.
The exclamation mark in the quote before successfully ended that sentence.
Although your approach is far better, and it is not a good practice to start a sentence with conjunctions (like And), but it is not grammatically wrong either.

  • 2
    I strongly suggest you edit your answer so that your quoted material doesn't end in a question mark. The combination of question mark/comma/quote unnecessarily complicates your answer, to the point where your second example is wrong and your third example is so visually uncomfortable that as an editor I would always advise rewriting it to make the second clause independent. Mar 22, 2019 at 10:09
  • 1
    @LaurenIpsum Edited, thanks. But could you tell how was the second example wrong before?
    – Bella Swan
    Mar 22, 2019 at 10:11
  • 2
    It's worth noting that depending on which convention you follow, the comma after "leave" should be inside/outside the quotation marks. Inside/outside is supposedly a US/UK thing, but I'm from the UK and was taught to put the commas inside, which is what most UK publishers seem to do. Mar 22, 2019 at 11:37
  • 4
    @Bob The UK styling for punctuation is actually lot more complex than most people think. It's far from just inside or outside. In this case, since the sentence being quoted is finished, the comma goes inside. However, in common UK style, you would also have this: She cried, "Don't leave", took a breath, and continued, "before you go," sadness clearly in her eyes. Here, the first comma is outside the quotation mark because it's punctuation that isn't part of the quote. But the second comma is inside, because that's the conclusion of the quoted sentence. Mar 22, 2019 at 15:29
  • 2
    Your second example - with the comma outside the closing quote - is incorrect. The comma goes inside the quotation marks as the end of the quoted clause. See here: grammar.yourdictionary.com/grammar/punctuation/…. It's worth nothing this sort of thing can be looked up online and a style guide adopted to help clear things up. As others have said, the country/region is relevant to the precise usage. (And I'm not commenting on the third example, because I agree with @LaurenIpsum...it should be reworked, IMO.
    – Josh
    Mar 22, 2019 at 15:39

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