Do we use comma in this situation or not? I have a sentence in mind and I was wondering if someone could give me a feedback on it.

He yelled "blasphemy!" as the man showed him the Bible on top of the cliff.

Do we put comma around blasphemy here? What about the exclamation point? Do we keep it? What's the most standard format?

  • 5
    In most modern punctuation of quoted texts, an exclamation point or question mark is good enough. You don't add a comma to it. Whether you use a comma before such a short quote is really a question of style, and there are different opinions. Personally, I think it's fine the way it is, although I would capitalize "Blasphemy!" because it is a complete sentence.
    – Andrew
    Jul 17, 2019 at 20:28
  • 2
    I agree with @Andrew (and recommend he post as answer, in case the comment police remove it). I'd also offer the alternative "Blasphemy!" he yelled, as the man showed him the Bible on top of the cliff. That said, I would probably separate the on top of the cliff into an establishing sentence, so you could be more clear about whether the Bible was on top of the cliff, or the man was on top of the cliff -- but this isn't Writers Jul 17, 2019 at 20:33
  • Also, keep in mind that, with creative writing, if you wish you can throw the rules of punctuation out the window, and, instead write in whatever way you think best conveys the timing and emotion you want to express. Look up writer Cormac McCarthy, particularly his novel "The Road", as an example of writing incomplete sentences, with very little punctuation. Rather than think of this as "wrong", consider how it makes you feel when you read it.
    – Andrew
    Jul 17, 2019 at 20:36
  • This question could be improved if you did some research first (like a simple Google search), shared what you learned (personally, I'd go with a leading comma), and then explained why the research couldn't definitively answer your question.
    – J.R.
    Jul 17, 2019 at 20:44

1 Answer 1


A lot of my editors would put a comma after "He yelled" but I would object. I agree that Blasphemy should be capitalized. jimbobmcgee's solution is nice; personally, I don't like to embed quotes within a paragraph.

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