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Punctuating Dialogue. Never make a mistake again. Quotation Marks. “Fred, I want you to take that new truck back to the dealership,” Mary snarled, “right now!” “No way will you get me to,” Fred paused, “ return that truck.” Only the words spoken are surrounded by quotation marks.

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punctuating dialogue

Punctuating Dialogue

Never make a mistake again

quotation marks
Quotation Marks
  • “Fred, I want you to take that new truck back to the dealership,” Mary snarled, “right now!”
  • “No way will you get me to,” Fred paused, “ return that truck.”

Only the words spoken are surrounded by quotation marks.

keep commas and periods inside the quotation marks
Keep commas and periods inside the quotation marks
  • “ I do not know,” yelled Albert.
  • Albert yelled, “I do not know.”

Which one is correct?

  • The teacher screamed, “Everyone needs to line up at the door”.
  • The teacher screamed, “Everyone needs to line up at the door.”
an uninterrupted speech needs quotation marks only at the beginning and the end
An uninterrupted speech needs quotation marks only at the beginning and the end.
  • “You only ever think of yourself. You’re selfish.”
  • “Oh cry me a river.” “I’m not selfish.” “I’m just busy!”

Which one is correct?

start a new paragraph each time the speaker changes
Start a new paragraph each time the speaker changes.
  • “You can be so self-centered sometimes!” Mary wailed.
  • “Oh I suppose you’ll go crying to mother now,” Fred sighed.
  • “At least she cares about me,” sobbed Mary.
when only two people are talking you do not have to keep using their names
When only two people are talking you do not have to keep using their names.
  • “I understand how you feel, alright?”
  • “You do?”
  • “Aw, you know I do.”
  • “And do you care about me?”
  • “Of course I do.”
  • “So you’ll help me with my homework?”
  • “Over my dead body!”
quote inside of a quote
Quote inside of a quote
  • Use single quotation marks for quotes within quotes.
  • This also includes publications that are set off by quotes.
  • Example: He said, “Mike said, 'Do not treat me that way.'"
  • Example: "Everyone will read the short story entitled ‘The Escape' for tomorrow," said the substitute teacher.
exclamations and questions
Exclamations and Questions
  • An exclamation point or question mark is placed inside the quotation marks when it punctuates the quotation. It is placed outside when it punctuates the main sentence.
  • For example:
    • I almost fell over when he asked, “That won’t be a problem for you, will it?”
    • Did the teacher really say, “Finish by tomorrow”?
exclamations and questions1
Exclamations and Questions
  • When using exclamations and questions in your dialogue be sure to properly punctuate the words following the marks. If the sentence continues and the following words are not proper nouns then you DO NOT capitalize the next word.
  • For example:
    • “Did you hear Mr. Marcoux?” asked Steve.
    • “Watch out!” warned John.
    • “No homework tonight!” Mrs. Tomao asserted.