This isn't exactly a homework question, but it's something I've seen in books recently, and it's bothering me. The way I've been taught, it's grammatically incorrect, and my teacher agrees; however, she says she's been seeing it in a lot of recent books as well.

This sentence:
Lonnie looked up, "Really?"

That comma....? Is that correct to have it there? It should be a period, right? Or is this some new way of writing that's been adopted?

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  1. To me, it looks like careless writing or lack of good editing. I agree that there should be a period there instead of a comma. Commas are used for this purpose when there is some kind of "reporting" verb, such as said, asked, wondered, and so on.


    One thing to keep in mind is that today's proliferation of video and audio and live "journalism" by just about anyone who can hold a camera or who has a device with a keyboard is influencing language, including pronunciation, spelling, punctuation, and even meaning. Here's an interesting blog post about how some fairly common words have changed over time ... and why!

    One of my pet peeves is the lack of the serial comma (aka Oxford comma) which often affects meaning.

  2. Wow. I never would've thought that things had just been influenced by people, but it does make sense. I've been saying those words wrong all my life, because that's how I've heard them since I was little!

    The Oxford comma irritates me, too, if it's missing. My teacher says that that's also something people are just taught to do differently, so she doesn't count it wrong against those who do it like that.

    Thanks for all of the input; I really learned a lot more than I was expecting to! I am to be a writer when I get older, so I try to stay on top of all of these writing things. Still, I worry that, by seeing this stuff so often, it'll just kind of rub off on my writing. I haven't had a problem so far...

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