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Rules for Punctuating Dialogue

Rules for Punctuating Dialogue

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Rules for Punctuating Dialogue

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  1. Rules for Punctuating Dialogue

  2. Rule #1 • Use quotation marks before and after a character’s exact words. Place a period inside closing quotation marks. “Peter and Esteban are joining us.” Use a period if there is no tagline.

  3. Rule #2 • Use a comma to set off the speaker’s tag (he said) from the beginning of a quotation. Harry said, “Come on, Ray. It’ll be fun.” Punctuation inside quotes Comma before quote

  4. Rule #3 • Place a comma inside closing quotation marks when the speaker’s tag follows the quotation. “Let’s go,” Gilda said. Period at end Comma inside quotations

  5. Rule #4 • Use quotation marks around each part of a divided quotation. Remember to set off the speaker’s tag with commas. “I’m not sure,” said Ray, “ that I feel like it.” Period at end if continuing sentence. Comma inside quotations Lowercase if continuing sentence.

  6. Rule #5 • Use quotation marks around each part of a divided quotation. Remember to set off the speaker’s tag with commas. “I’m not sure,” said Ray. “ I don’t feel like it.” Period at end if NOT continuing sentence. Comma inside quotations Upper case if new sentence.

  7. Rule #6 • Place a question mark or an exclamation point inside the quotation marks when it is part of the quotation. “When will we be back?” Ray asked. Question mark instead of comma

  8. Rule #7 • Place a question mark or an exclamation point inside the quotation marks when it is part of the quotation. “Hooray!” said Debbi. Exclamation point INSIDE quotes

  9. Rule #8 • Make a NEW PARAGRAPH when a different person begins to speak. “You’ll be sorry,” said the kangaroo as he stepped onto the stage. “You’re ugly.” The kangaroo stated, “You look like a platypus.” “You think you bad,” Cliff Dog retorted. “Put ‘em up,” challenged the kangaroo, “if you’re man enough.” “I just got out the pen for murder,” declared Cliff Dog. “I ain’t afraid to kill you.” “You think so?” questioned the kangaroo. “I know so!” exclaimed Cliff Dog. Sadly, Cliff Dog died.