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I'm working on a scene in a high-fantasy setting where the main characters greet each other for the first time. Part of the greeting is also a definition of what each of the characters mean to each other. In this case, a flourish of titles establishes expectations:

Wordlessly, he presented his beautiful, shimmering wife to Mary; who said, “And you, my Sarah: soother of the seas, queen of the oceans, sweet nurturer, and mother of music; I greet you.”

The simplified sentence is trying to say:

He presented his wife to Mary who said, "Hello."

[Initial question]

What is the proper punctuation for Mary who said and for the "Sarah: [list of titles]"?

EDIT:

Semicolons are not necessary for separating the speaker from what she said. There is also no need for a semicolon before the list of titles. Rules would also state that there is no need for a semicolon to separate the long, introductory subordinate clause from the actual subject/verb within the quotes.

I think the answer is:

Wordlessly, he presented his beautiful, shimmering wife to Mary, who said, “And you, my Sarah, soother of the seas, queen of the oceans, sweet nurturer, and mother of music, I greet you.”

Still unclear on the use of the comma after Mary, who said since the quote has to clearly belong to Mary and not the wife.

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  • Read and read a lot. Read high quality work. And reread them over and over. – dolphin_of_france Oct 29 at 21:15
  • Yes, you need the comma after "who said" since it introduces a direct quote. Like this: She said, "Hello." (I find the two adjectives "beautiful, shimmering" pretty awkward and would edit them out in an upcoming draft.) – Ken Mohnkern Nov 1 at 20:25
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You have "Mary; who" in one place and "Mary? who" in another.

Both are wrong. Use a comma.

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It's a disaster. When you began a sentence with the word 'wordlessly' you identified yourself as an ESOL novice.

[Bob] presented his beautiful, shimmering wife to Mary.

Mary bowed graciously and outstretched her hands to the esteemed guest. “And you, my Sarah: soother of the seas, queen of the oceans, sweet nurturer, and mother of music . . . How's it hangin'?"

  • I appreciate the commentary on style, I certainly do. I know you can say: The frog said "owch!" after bob stepped on his head. Or: Bob heard a tiny "Owch!" after his metatarsals crushed the tiny amphibian. However, the question related the punctuation of a sentence like: Bob stepped on the frog who said "Owch!" Do you need a comma or not between frog and who? is it clear the frog was speaking and not Bob? – PeteMcRepeat Oct 29 at 16:46
  • You know best. The comma is optional, the 'who' is superfluous. "The little dog laughed to see such fun and the dish ran away with the spoon." See: Show don't tell. – Surtsey Oct 29 at 18:07

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