2

In the following sentence, should the comma be omitted?

"Come in!" she said, and opened the door.

My spell checker insists that this is "an unnecessary comma in a compound predicate", but removing the comma makes the sentence seem wrong to me. I searched the web and found multiple pages confirming the rule about omitting commas in compound predicates, but none had examples that contained a quotation. On the other hand, Googling for "hello i said and" (in quotes) yielded multiple examples where the comma was not omitted.

2

Use of punctuation marks is determined by style sheets. With regard to punctuation, spell-checkers are a form of style sheet that you are free to ignore. Because I find it natural to insert a pause after "said" when reading the sentence as written aloud, I'd normally follow the cadence of spoken English by inserting a comma, just as you have done. (Of course, I would not do so if writing for a publication with a required style sheet that prohibited a comma here.)

With that said, what your spell-checker has done is to alert you that the sentence as written is confusing. The word order seems to imply that she said to come in before she opened the door. If that is the odd situation being described, then it would be much clearer to say "'Come in!' she said before even opening the door." If the more normal situation obtained where the invitation to enter occurred after the door was open, then it would be clearer to say "'Come in!' she said after opening the door."

When a spell-checker makes a suggestion, you may not like the suggestion, but you may decide that some other alteration is advisable.

  • Thank you for putting style sheets in this perspective! I didn't intend the example sentence to be confusing in that way, my bad. – WabbitSeason Nov 28 '18 at 17:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.