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said: before or after the name?

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by spikechiquet, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    I'm sure this has been hashed over on here before, but I couldn't find it with a search...but please share a link if it's on here.

    I'm editing another paper's story (we share stuff all the time) and the writer continuously uses the word "said" in the wrong place during a quote, IMHO.

    He puts said before the name: "said Smith." "said Jones.", etc.

    Unless you use it to introduce extra information ("said Smith, who is captain of the football team.") then it should go after, correct?!
    I always play the pronoun game in that situation. You can't put "he" in place of the name and have it sound right.

    Is this just an older writer being old and it's an old style, lazy copy editing, or does it even matter?
  2. Here me roar

    Here me roar Guest

    I wouldn't categorize that as older writer, just bad. Jones said. Smith said. You always want to ID the person speaking as fast as you can, unless you are introducing information to describe that person in the attribution.
  3. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Here me roar is right. And putting "said" after the name makes for an easier read. We're used to seeing verbs after nouns.
  4. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    After, always. Only exception is if you are putting an independent clause afterward (e.g., said Smith, who improved to 14-3 this season.)

    "Said (blank)" is how a lot of PR types are taught. I see it all the time in SID copy.
  5. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    The sad part? The story was from a major league baseball beat writer. And it was already edited and is on the paper's site. That's why I wondered why it would be "wrong" yet make it to the website.
  6. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Copy on many websites gets posted before the trained copy editors read it. (For a frame of reference, I'm familiar with the process at seven newspapers of varied size, though none are small, and it's roughly the same at all of them.) Then those copy editors at many newspapers handle the story for print and are asked to make the same changes to the Web version. But because the Web version often is longer, a pasteover is impossible. So the copy editors generally leave minor mistakes, like this, because redoing a full story edit simply would take too long given the workload in the post-layoff world. I don't blame them.
  7. MisterCreosote

    MisterCreosote Well-Known Member

    If that's really what happens (I left newspapers almost five years ago), that's one of the dumbest things I've ever read.
  8. arceditor

    arceditor New Member

    Other exception I've always been told is if you're giving their title or position (i.e., said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly; said East linebacker Jack Smith).
  9. joe_schmoe

    joe_schmoe Active Member

    First, I was taught the pronoun rule as well, but also have seen many sportswriters who have been around quite some time go with the said first. That's when I have to remember, like most other things, grammar, and by extension journalism style, is ever evolving.

    As for the above example. If you prefer it the way you have it that fine. That's the way I would do it. But "Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said" works just as well, and I've seen this structure many times and it doesn't bother me.
    In both instances though, you can often find a way to introduce the subject before you quote him, thus eliminating the need for the rule altogether.
  10. mediaguy

    mediaguy Well-Known Member

    One of those rare threads where every post is on mark and helpful. I only put the title before the name in a mid-quote ID when it's two words or less. "Here's an example," SJ poster Mediaguy said. "Here's another," said Mediaguy, SJ's associate vice president for marginal assistance.
  11. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    After, with the aforementioned exceptions. I hate it before.
  12. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    After, except when followed by a dependent clause, as in "said Jones, who espouses conspiracy theories on his radio show."
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