comma and colon


Senior Member

The captain looked into his palm and said: "...."

In the sentence above, is it more common to use a comma, instead of a colon after the word "said" ?
In Chinese, we often use a colon after the word "say" or "said" in direct quotation. I wonder if that is still true in English.

Thank you very much.
  • reno33

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    I believe the standard usage requires a colon just before the quote as in your first sentence above. However, I have seen a comma used instead of a colon as you describe so in contemporary English, the rule might be changing so that now both possibilities are acceptable.