I haven't been able to find a straight answer if I am properly writing this sentence:

“What’re you staring at, huh? Got something you wanna say?”, piques the guard.

Soooo, I was taught to use a comma after a quote, but I'm not so sure that is correct. Any help on this would be greatly appreciated!


You never use two punctuation marks with a quote, so no comma is needed here. If a quote ends with an exclamation point or a question mark, you don't use a comma.

"Why is grammar so hard?" he asked.
"Grammar is easy!" she exclaimed.

As an aside, you're using pique in a very nonstandard way. It means something like "to raise someone's interest or curiosity", and it's always used transitively, like

The attitude of that guard piqued my curiosity.

You can't just say "he piqued".

  • In researching this I'm finding a lot of mixed advice about how to punctuate quotations in British English. I think OP's example is of an older BrE style that is no longer in use, but I have yet to find any definitive guide on punctuating quotations. Jay's answer in ELU seems good, but since it lacks external references, I don't know if I'd take it as absolutely correct. – Andrew Mar 8 '18 at 17:19
  • Hey, I super appreciate the feedback, I questioned my usage of "piqued", too. As you can tell, English isn't my strongest subject... but I am trying to improve! Thanks again! – Meems Mar 8 '18 at 18:01
  • Yeah, I thought that was an older style of BrE, too. Thanks for the feedback, Andrew! – Meems Mar 8 '18 at 18:04
  • I thought that was the current BrE style. It's not? (Not being facetious, btw—I'm honestly asking.) – spoko Mar 8 '18 at 20:09
  • @spoko Apparently not anymore, at least not in the various sources I checked. There are only a very few cases where multiple punctuation marks are okay, such as an quoted exclamation in the context of a question, Did the teacher really shout, "I can't take it any more!"? and some British periodicals seem to have adopted the simpler American style of putting the comma inside the quotation marks even when it's not part of the quoted text. As I mentioned, it would be nice to find a definitive guide to current BrE punctuation. – Andrew Mar 8 '18 at 21:58

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