Do you put a comma before ANY quote?


I assume that this question is asking about putting direct quotes into a sentence. You typically do need a comma for the correct punctuation of something, but not always. You also sometimes put the comma at the end of the quote rather than the beginning for several reasons.


Example 1: Comma needed at the beginning of a quote

  • Jordan said, โ€œWhat do you want to do today?โ€
  • The voice from the speakers whispered, โ€œWho are you?โ€

For this type of quote, the person who says something is at the beginning. To connect the direct quote (exactly the words that they used) to the person who said it, you need to use a comma.


Example 2: Comma needed at the end of a quote

  • โ€œBe sure to get your permission slip signed by an adult if you want to attend the field trip,โ€ reminded the teacher.
  • โ€œWhether or not you agree does not matter,โ€ said the boy.

In this case, the person who said the quote is written after the words. The words also form a statement, or a sentence that would regularly be ended with a period (.). If both of these things are true, you need to put the comma inside the end quotation marks.


Example 3: Comma not needed at all

  • โ€œHow in the world do you think this will help?โ€ yelled Mary.
  • โ€œWhat a brilliant idea!โ€ exclaimed Josh.

This type of sentence is similar to example 2, except that the direct quote, the words that the person says, is either a question or an exclamation. Rather than ending in a period if it were a standalone sentence, these quotes would end in a question mark or an exclamation point. For both of these cases, you keep the question mark (?) and exclamation point (!) in place of the comma, so there is no comma necessary.


There is also a possibility that you use anย indirect quote. This means you paraphrase what the person said, but you do not actually write down all the words that they used. Some examples of this are:

  • My mom said that my brother was going to need a ride to school on Thursday morning.
  • The manager exclaimed that she was very frustrated with the progress her team was making.ย 

In both of these examples, it is clear that, at one point, the mother and the manager said something about the brother and the managerโ€™s team. However, because what they said is indirectly talked about, there are no quotation marks and no commas needed.

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