9

Should a comma be used after a dialogue tag and before the word ”as”.

For example:

”I don’t like this at all, ” he said, as the door closed behind them.
Or
”I don’t like this at all, ” he said as the door closed behind them.

Is the comma required? Is this proper to extend a sentence after a dialogue tag?

Thank you!

  • 1
    Not an answer but a side note on concurrency. We humans are rarely that concurrent. What works for me is breaking it out so it is implied as often as possible. Thus: [The door closed behind them. "I don’t like this at all," he said.] YMMV. – Matthew Brown aka Lord Matt Jul 13 at 10:21
  • 1
    This could be a matter of editorial preference. On the other hand, I might infer a slight difference between he two: without the comma, the door closing is lightly implied to be the thing he doesn't like; with the comma, the door closing is just coincidental with his observation. – chepner Jul 13 at 16:17
8

It is fine to extend a sentence after a tag, and the first form is correct: "he said" should also be followed by a comma.

"I don't like this at all," he said, as the door closed behind them.

  • 1
    It can be the same, though thoughts are seldom expressed in quotes. I can't believe he said that, Josh thought, as he sipped his tea. – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Jul 12 at 19:45
  • Got it. Thanks so much, Amadeus!! – Vh123 Jul 12 at 19:50
  • This doesn't answer whether the comma is required, though. (I suspect it's not, and that the second example is also correct, though I don't have any evidence to hand.) – gidds Jul 13 at 13:36
4

Commas tell you when to breathe.

They can be for actual pauses (as when you read it out loud and take a brief pause) or they can be to tell your brain how to break down the sentence.

Either way, add a comma in both places.

  1. After dialogue that is followed by a tag.
  2. Before an "as" clause.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.