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I've recently found myself second guessing a convention I've followed for a while where with a piece of dialogue, for instance:

"Hurry home" came down the front stairs behind her.

I'm unsure if it is proper to place a comma before the terminating comma as one would with a real said-bookism, which I've had no luck finding out if verbs like "came," the "to be"s, and others no traditionally used to convey spoken dialogue are considered. Commas are supposed to always offset direct dialogue, yes, but the examples of this (e.g., here) only pertain to said-bookisms.

Should they be handled like dialogue tags or like one might an incomplete direct quotation in non-fiction without any commas? I've been searching for months, and perhaps my various rewordings are failing to pinpoint my actual concern, but I can't find anything conclusive.

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    I was told there should be a comma in dialogue quotes if the dialog didn't finish the actual sentence, but that the quote would have had a period. As I understand it, you can have an exclamation point or question mark that doesn't actually end a sentence in this one exception (but periods don't work here). – DWKraus Sep 5 '20 at 16:49
  • This doesn't answer your question, but that is a very bad sentence in general. – Lt. Commander. Data Sep 5 '20 at 17:35
  • The sentence doesn't make much sense. Can you elaborate so I can help? – AnnWriter19 Sep 7 '20 at 21:08
  • @AnnWriter19 For example, I've seen the construction: "'Don't forget me' were her last words." My question pertains to whether there needs to be a comma there after the quote as one would with a said-bookism. – SpraypaintedCurtains Sep 12 '20 at 3:20
  • @SpraypaintedCurtains As far as I know (and I'm not a grammar expert but I know a little because my mother is an editor) there don't need to be commas at the end of a quote. Using your example '"Don't forget me" were her last words' is correct, but in the sentence '"I like cheesecake," she said' there needs to be a comma after the dialog. Again, this is in my non-expert opinion but this is what I have seen in most novels and writing. – AnnWriter19 Sep 12 '20 at 3:33
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Yes, you need a comma there. "came down" is acting the role of "said" in that sentence: it is direct dialogue.

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