Antedatings of rule regarding coordination and quotation?

ronbutters at AOL.COM ronbutters at AOL.COM
Sat Jan 3 20:48:36 UTC 2009

It is sometimes hard to believe the crap people will make up and call a "rule."
------Original Message------
From: Neal Whitman
Sender: ADS-L
ReplyTo: ADS-L
Subject: [ADS-L] Antedatings of rule regarding coordination and quotation?
Sent: Jan 3, 2009 3:39 PM

I've been trying to find the origin of a particular prescriptive rule
involving coordinated verb phrases when the first VP is headed by a verb of
speech or thought, and the quoted material is fronted. The only written
source for this rule that I've found is from Bill Walsh in 2000; the
relevant material is quoted below the sig. I have reason to believe the rule
had already been put out there by the time Walsh wrote about it, but I
haven't found it in Fowler's 2nd, Garner, Strunk and White, or a couple of
lesser known grammars I found in the library, nor have I found anything
about it in MWDEU, or even (from a descriptive standpoint) in CGEL. Have any
of you come across this rule in a source published earlier than 2000?

Neal Whitman
Email: nwhitman at

>From _Lapsing Into a Comma_, Bill Walsh, 2000, pp. 58-59:

    Here's a principle that even good writers tend to violate, especially in
fiction: You cannot splice a second clause onto a "he said" or "she said"
type of attribution.

WRONG: "I would never do that," Smith said, and added: "Not in a million

WRONG: "I'm leaving," Jones said, and walked out of the room.

    Why is this wrong? "I would never do that" is what Smith said, and the
placement of Smith said indicates that. The first example, however, places
and added in a parallel position; thus the and added clause is made
dependent on the Smith said clause, which is already dependent on the quote.
Smith didn't both say "I would never do that" and add "I would never do
that," but the placement of the quotation at the beginning of the sentence
suggests just that. For that construction to work at all, you'd need a
sentence like this: "I would never do that," Smith said and repeated under
her breath.

    Beginning a sentence with a quote makes everything that follows
dependent on that quote, unless the subject is changed or restated. Smith
cannot logically do double duty as the subject of two clauses. If you want
to use the same subject for more than one clause, consider using that
subject to begin the sentence.

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