comma after question mark (direct speech/quotation; discourse marker)

< Previous | Next >

8769

Senior Member
Japanese and Japan
I’m listening to a radio program in English, and transcribing what I heard.
The best advice I've heard for this kind of a situation, where someone asks you a personal question or I think anytime someone says something to you that makes you a bit uncomfortable and you don't feel like you can tell them to not do things like that, is to act cheerful and stupid, So when the slightly inebriated lady came up and said, "Well, are you interested in American man?" What Goto could have done is laugh and say, "Ah ha ha ha ha... isn't everybody?" something like that. She doesn't have to answer the question.
I wonder if I should put a comma between "Ah ha ha ha ha... isn’t everybody?” and something like that.
In other words, which way would you write, #1 or #2 below?

1. What Goto could have done is laugh and say, "Ah ha ha ha ha... isn't everybody?" something like that.
2. What Goto could have done is laugh and say, "Ah ha ha ha ha... isn't everybody?", something like that.

 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I think you hit the nail on the head with your second version, 8769. Here the comma indicates an omitted conjunction (or), which captures the flavor of colloquial speech very well.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see somebody offer another suggestion. My guess is that some would prefer a dash instead of the comma.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I'm also for the dash.
    While we're imagining things that might have been omitted, you could even put a period and start a new sentence fragment since people often talk in incomplete sentences.
    "What Goto could have done is laugh and say, "Ah ha ha ha ha... isn't everybody?". Something like that."
    (You could do) something like that.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top