Antedatings of rule regarding coordination and quotation?

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jan 4 21:51:45 UTC 2009


All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

On Sat, Jan 3, 2009 at 3:48 PM,  <ronbutters at> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       ronbutters at AOL.COM
> Subject:      Re: Antedatings of rule regarding coordination and quotation?
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> It is sometimes hard to believe the crap people will make up and call a "rule."

> ------Original Message------
> From: Neal Whitman
> Sender: ADS-L
> To: 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
> Blog:
> 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
> years."
> 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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