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How to Punctuate Dialogue

How to Punctuate Dialogue
December 8, 2010 by Fiction Editor Beth Hill last modified April 18, 2016 The PDF Punctuation in Dialogue ($0.99) and The Magic of Fiction (available in paperback and PDF) both contain expanded and updated versions of this material. Dialogue h as its own rules for punctuation. Only what is spoken is within the quotation marks. Dialogue begins with a capitalized word, no matter where in the sentence it begins. Only direct dialogue requires quotation marks. Direct: “She was a bore,” he said.Indirect: He said [that] she was a bore. Here are some of the rules, with examples. Single line of dialogue, no dialogue tagThe entire sentence, including the period (or question mark or exclamation point) is within the quotation marks. “He loved you.” Single line with dialogue tag (attribution) following The dialogue is enclosed in quotation marks. Because the dialogue tag—she said—is part of the same sentence, it is not capped. “He loved you,” she said. She said, “He loved you.” “He loved you?” “He loved y—“ Related:  Writing

Rules for Comma Usage Use a comma to separate the elements in a series (three or more things), including the last two. "He hit the ball, dropped the bat, and ran to first base." You may have learned that the comma before the "and" is unnecessary, which is fine if you're in control of things. However, there are situations in which, if you don't use this comma (especially when the list is complex or lengthy), these last two items in the list will try to glom together (like macaroni and cheese). Use a comma + a little conjunction (and, but, for, nor, yet, or, so) to connect two independent clauses, as in "He hit the ball well, but he ran toward third base." Contending that the coordinating conjunction is adequate separation, some writers will leave out the comma in a sentence with short, balanced independent clauses (such as we see in the example just given). One of the most frequent errors in comma usage is the placement of a comma after a coordinating conjunction. Use a comma to set off quoted elements.

How to Punctuate Dialogue Correctly in Fiction Updated November 19, 2017 Nothing marks a beginning fiction writer faster than improperly punctuated dialogue. Because most academic papers do not use dialogue, many students don't learn the proper dialogue punctuation and grammar until taking a fiction writing class. The Dialogue Punctuation Rules Get ahead of the game! Use a comma between the dialogue and the tag line (the words used to identify the speaker: "he said/she said"):"I would like to go to the beach this weekend," she told him as they left the apartment.Periods and commas go inside the quotation marks in American writing (the Brits have slightly different rules); other punctuation -- semicolons, question marks, dashes, and exclamation points -- goes outside unless it directly pertains to the material within the quotes, as in this example from Raymond Carver's short story "Where I'm Calling From":"I don't want any stupid cake," says the guy who goes to Europe and the Middle East. Common Punctuation Dialogue Mistakes Incorrect:

Passive Voice What this handout is about This handout will help you understand what the passive voice is, why many professors and writing instructors frown upon it, and how you can revise your paper to achieve greater clarity. Some things here may surprise you. We hope this handout will help you to understand the passive voice and allow you to make more informed choices as you write. Myths So what is the passive voice? 1. Use of the passive voice is not a grammatical error. 2. The passive voice entails more than just using a being verb. 3. On the contrary, you can very easily use the passive voice in the first person. 4. While the passive voice can weaken the clarity of your writing, there are times when the passive voice is OK and even preferable. 5. See Myth #1. Do any of these misunderstandings sound familiar? Defining the passive voice A passive construction occurs when you make the object of an action into the subject of a sentence. Why was the road crossed by the chicken? For example: becomes 1. 2.

How to Punctuate Quotations in Statements To write proper English, you need to follow all the punctuation rules, even the illogical ones. Punctuation with quotations gives many people problems. Here you look at the proper punctuation for statements in quotations with and without speaker tags. Quotations with speaker tags Dumb rule 1: When the speaker tag comes first, put a comma after the speaker tag. The gang remarked, “Lola’s candidate is a sure bet.” Lola replied, “He's not my candidate.” Dumb rule 2: When the speaker tag comes last, put a comma inside the quotation marks and a period at the end of the sentence. “Lola’s candidate isn’t a sure bet now,” the gang continued. “I support a different candidate,” screamed Lola. Now you know the first two (of far too many) quotation rules. Sometimes a speaker tag lands in the middle of a sentence. “I think I’ll sue,” Betsy explained, “for emotional distress.” “You can’t imagine,” she added, “what I felt.” In each of these sample sentences, the speaker tag interrupts the quotation.

Punctuation in direct speech | Oxford Dictionaries In reports and stories, a writer often wants to tell the reader what someone has said. There are two ways of doing this. The speaker’s words can either be reported (in a style known as reported speech), or they can be quoted directly in what’s called direct speech. Reported speech In reported speech, the actual words are not usually quoted directly. The 180 respondents said that the main reason for setting up in business was to be their own boss. Trade union representatives expressed their satisfaction at the news that there would be no job losses. Direct speech In direct speech, various punctuation conventions are used to separate the quoted words from the rest of the text: this allows a reader to follow what’s going on. The words that are actually spoken should be enclosed in inverted commas: ‘He’s very clever, you know.’ In British English, the usual style is to use single inverted commas but it is not wrong to use double ones: “He’s very clever, you know.” ‘I don’t agree,’ I replied. ‘No!’

Paragraphs What this handout is about This handout will help you understand how paragraphs are formed, how to develop stronger paragraphs, and how to completely and clearly express your ideas. What is a paragraph? Paragraphs are the building blocks of papers. Many students define paragraphs in terms of length: a paragraph is a group of at least five sentences, a paragraph is half a page long, etc. How do I decide what to put in a paragraph? Before you can begin to determine what the composition of a particular paragraph will be, you must first decide on an argument and a working thesis statement for your paper. The decision about what to put into your paragraphs begins with the germination of a seed of ideas; this “germination process” is better known as brainstorming. So, let’s suppose that you have done some brainstorming to develop your thesis. How do I organize a paragraph? There are many different ways to organize a paragraph. Narration: Tell a story. 5-step process to paragraph development

750 Words - Write every day. Comma Or No Comma--Questions About Punctuating Dialogue June 29, 2012 by Fiction Editor Beth Hill last modified July 19, 2012 Actually, we’re going to address a handful of questions, not just one. These were begun in the comment section of Punctuation in Dialogue, and I thought they deserved a larger audience. (Some questions are answered in the comments section. Others have been pasted into the body of the article.) Several of these questions have to do with commas. Learn the rules, yes. If your story goes nowhere or your characters are flat or you have no idea how to connect story elements, then you can worry about not getting a contract. Do be consistent. And keep in mind that what’s wrong is not always unacceptable. While these questions were asked about dialogue, the questions may pertain to punctuation use in any sentence. Question My question is about taglines. “Now you have to watch the snowboarding competition with me,” I demanded, as I dragged him onto the couch. “Megan, come with us,” Lily said, as she grabbed Megan’s hand. Reply Reply

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