comma or colon with speech tag: With a dry mouth he said: 'hello!'


New Member
France, french

I have a question concerning the punctuation you put just after the introductory clause - is it a colon or a comma ?

In the following sentence, will you write

1- With a horribly dry mouth he said, 'hello!' or

2- With a horribly dry mouth he said : 'hello!'

In the first case, is it possible to say:

With a horribly dry mouth, he said,'hello!'

Indeed, i know commas are not often used in english. Is it then possible to put no punctuation between 'mouth' and 'he' as in the second sentence?

Could you, please, tell me when you use commas in english - apart from an enumeration?

Thanks a lot.

Good afternoon.
  • I would prefer the comma here, although it could well be omitted.

    In many cases, usually when sentences are short and there is no subject-verb confusion, the comma is optional. You will need double quotation marks around "hello," however.

    For example, it should be:

    With a horribly dry mouth, he said, "hello!"