Posted by Amos M. Carpenter
Things every writer should know about punctuation in and around dialogue, explained clearly and with great examples to illustrate each point. Absolute must for anyone interested in perfecting the writer’s craft. Bene scribete vero.
I see a lot of talented writers these days who still have trouble when it comes to the conventions of dialogue tagging and paragraphing in narrative, so I thought I’d do a little guide on how to properly punctuate around those all-important lines of speech.
Let’s take a look at the four main types of dialogue demarcation, and I’ll give a rundown on where each of them belongs.
When to Comma
The ubiquitous comma should be the most familiar device. Use it with explicit dialogue marking – i.e., to separate speech from a phrase which directly indicates the speech (words like ‘said’, ‘asked’, ‘shouted’, etc.). This is your basic, everyday dialogue construction. The marking phrase can be either before, after, or in the middle of the dialogue.
“I want a hamburger,” the dinosaur pouted.
Taliana asked her husband, “Can you pass me the salt?”
“I guess chocolate is fine,” Emmy…
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About Amos M. CarpenterWeb dev by day, author by night, and generally interested in (and opinionated about) way too many things.
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