The information I found on using punctuation marks in direct speech did not address doing so with multiple sentences. For example, I want to write four sentences with direct speech with reporting verbs as following:
'When did you reach the classroom yesterday?' asked the teacher.
'Reached at 9.30 AM,' said the student.
'Why were you late?'
'I came at 8.55 AM. But no one was in the classroom. Hence, I went to a coffee shop to buy a coffee for myself. By the time I reached the classroom, it was already 9.30 AM. I am sorry.' replied the student.
In the above dialogue, as far as I know, there is no error in the first three sentences. As per the information I gathered, if a sentence in direct speech ends in a full stop, it should be replaced by a comma as in the second sentence. If it ends with a question mark or exclamation mark, it should be retained as it is as in the first and third sentences. If a direct speech contains multiple sentences as in the fourth sentence above, what punctuation mark should be placed at the end of the last sentence in the direct speech? But I can rewrite the 4th sentence by placing the reporting verb in front of direct speech as following:
The student replied, 'I came at 8.55 AM. But no one was in the classroom. Hence, I went to a coffee shop to buy a coffee for myself. By the time I reached the classroom, it was already 9.30 AM. I am sorry.'
I think this is perfectly all right according to grammar rules or conventions. But I want to keep reporting verb after direct speech containing multiple sentences. Is it OK to retain full stop at the end of the last sentence in the direct speech if there are multiple sentences in it?