(If a fellow mod who's knowledgeable on this topic wants to hijack this thread for academy purposes, feel free. So much for those being weekly, eh?)
I had a friend go over something I wrote (relatively recently) for some grammar and spelling mistakes. She made note on several minor things, but a few stuck with me.
One of these was that whenever there is a single sentence embedded in quotes, you end that sentence with a comma rather than a period, such as:
Is this actually truly correct? I've never been corrected for using a terminal period rather than a terminal comma in twelve years of English classes and eight years of being a member of various writing groups."It's been a few boring months, but she's held up to what we've thrown at her," Ameena replied.
In fact, looking at my copy of Stephen King's The Stand, I'm seeing terminal periods. But picking up my 2001 edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring, I'm seeing terminal commas.
Or does it even matter in the first place? Upon further inquiries to this editor friend, she said that grammar in writing is 20% common sense and 80% following the arcane rules of long dead bearded men. So I'm wondering if this is really as big a deal as some people have made it out to be.
Another thing that this editor touched on was that I should never have speech tags after an exclamation mark. So:
would apparently be incorrect while:"That Orion!" D'Hok roared. "I knew we could never trust that petaQ!"
would be correct according to this rule. However, when picking up my Tolkien book again, I see:D'Hok roared with fury. "That Orion! I knew we could never trust that petaQ!"
Again, in all these years of English lessons and whatnot, I've never seen a standard like this, but apparently "that's the way English is written.""Hold it up!" said Gandalf. "And look closely!"
So I'm looking for some clarification on this subject. I want to get better at writing, including some of the more bizarre rules of grammar, so that when I do finally finish something, it's not laughed off of a publisher's desk and into his fireplace because I forgot a few minor things.