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    #1

    Order of words after direct speech

    Hello!

    What is the correct way to write:

    1). 'Come on,' kept he saying.
    2). 'Come on,' kept saying he.
    3). 'Come on,' he kept saying.

    4). 'Oh no, no,' lost John his courage.
    5). 'Oh no, no,' lost his courage John.
    6). 'Oh no, no,' John lost his courage.

    For example in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" it is written:
    ‘Holler ‘nuff!’ said he.
    but this is just two words after direct speech, so what is the order when you have three or more words?

    Thanks in advance...

  1. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Order of words after direct speech

    Quote Originally Posted by leo12345 View Post
    Hello!

    What is the correct way to write:

    1). 'Come on,' kept he saying.
    2). 'Come on,' kept saying he.
    3). 'Come on,' he kept saying.

    Use #3.

    4). 'Oh no, no,' lost John his courage.
    5). 'Oh no, no,' lost his courage John.
    6). 'Oh no, no,' John lost his courage.

    None of the above. 4, 5, and 6 are all wrong.

    For example in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" it is written:
    ‘Holler ‘nuff!’ said he.

    Both "he said" and "said he" are correct. When Twain wrote that, "said he" was not correct, but it is accepted now. Twain used it to sound colloquial.

    but this is just two words after direct speech, so what is the order when you have three or more words?

    1. Think of "kept saying" as a single verb, and keep them together.

    2. In contemporary English, the backwards form "said he" is ONLY used with the word "said." "Kept saying" cannot be turned around.

    Thanks in advance...
    Hope that helps.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #3

    Re: Order of words after direct speech

    Thanks a lot!

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