Hi there, I'm writing a children's book and have a question about a particular construction. Here's the sentence in question:

Mr. Owl spoke again, “I know that the Night seems very dark to your eyes, but you have to trust my words more than you trust your eyes. Day will come again. Do you believe that?”

Note that the comma before the quotation is essentially filling in for the word "saying," as in "Mr. Owl spoke again, saying, "......".

My question is this: can I write this as I have above, or do I need either a period after "again" or a colon or something other than a comma?

Thanks for any help!

-Christopher

 

 

Original Post
Christopher posted:

Mr. Owl spoke again, “I know that the Night seems very dark to your eyes, but you have to trust my words more than you trust your eyes. Day will come again. Do you believe that?”
[. . .]
My question is this: can I write this as I have above, or do I need either a period after "again" or a colon or something other than a comma?

Hello, Christopher, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange.

I think a colon (not a period) would work much better than a comma there. With the comma, the sentence reads as a run-on sentence.

As you indicate, you could also keep the comma and add "saying" plus another comma before the Mr. Owl quote. The colon solution seems simpler.

Best of luck with your children's book! We look forward to seeing you again if other grammar questions arise for you that you would like to discuss.

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