Punctuating dialogue

Okay, I absolutely must get this right. I invite everybody who stumbles upon this post to give their opinion. 

Punctuating dialogue has always been a tricky thing, especially for someone who has learnt English as a second language. Let’s try the following:

1. “Hello,” said Fred. “How are you?”

To most people, this is the correct way. However, I’ve also read the following. 

2. “Hello,” said Fred, “how are you?”

I tend to use number two, which someone told me was incorrect. He referred me to a dialogue punctuation guide but that didn’t solve my problem. The writer of that particular article didn’t even put an apostrophe in “youre”, thus raising question marks over his/her authority. 

Anyway, I’m pleading to the teacher within every citizen of the internet. Please help me. 

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3 comments
  1. The way that I was taught to punctuate quotations is that the quoted material should be punctuated as if the quotation marks and unquoted words weren’t there. So, look at the sentence with the [Fred said] taken out.

    Hello. How are you?

    or

    Hello, how are you?

    I would use either, depending on how the character was speaking. Hello is one of those words that can stand as a sentence by itself, I think, technically, it counts as an interjection.

    If the person you were discussing this issue with was saying that a fragment of quoted material must begin as a completed sentence, no, I don’t believe that’s correct.

    “I am going to,” he said, “take over the world.”

    would not be correct as

    “I am going to,” he said. “Take over the world.”

  2. Misha beat me to the explanation. This site by a fellow WordPress blogger http://kddidit.com/services/authorTools.php has a pretty comprehensive kit for authors including punctuation rules. If you run into any other tricky questions, you can probably find the answer there.

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