Grammar 101: How to Introduce Quotes
Quotes need an introduction. Don’t let them hang out on their own:
“I was never really good at anything except for the ability to learn.” Kanye West said this.
You can integrate a quoted phrase into your sentence.
Kanye West claims to be bad at everything except “the ability to learn.”
There are two ways to introduce whole-sentence quotes: the colon, and the comma.
Using a Colon
Use a colon when the part before the quote could stand alone as a complete sentence.
I tried to make light of the situation: “It’ll turn out fine.”
Do not use a comma in this situation.
I attempted to create rapport, “My name is George, and I’m here on behalf of the public defender’s office.”
You should also use a colon after an introductory phrase like “thus” or “as follows.”
Stewart defined it thus: “I know it when I see it.”
Using a Comma
Use a comma after “said,” “writes,” “replied,” “asked,” and similar verbs.
I attempted to create rapport, saying, “My name is George, and I’m here on behalf of the public defender’s office.”
You can also attribute the quote with a phrase like “he said” or “I said.”
“My name is George, and I’m here on behalf of the public defender’s office,” I said.
If you use this method, you’re allowed to break the quote into smaller pieces.
“My name is George,” I said. “I’m here on behalf of the public defender’s office.”
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