When not to use commas before dialogue (and capitals)?

Asked by: Dave Hays

The exact words of a speaker should be set off from the rest of the sentence by using a comma, a question mark, or an exclamation point. Note: If the quotation is a grammatical part of the writer’s sentence, the quotation should not be set off by commas, nor should it begin with a capital letter.

Should I use a comma before a dialogue?

Dialogue is punctuated by quotation marks to show when it begins and ends. Dialogue will usually include a dialogue tag to describe who is speaking. You would then use common punctuation marks within the quotation marks, such as commas, periods, question marks and exclamation points.

When should commas not be used?

Do not use commas to set off essential elements of the sentence, such as clauses beginning with that (relative clauses). That clauses after nouns are always essential. That clauses following a verb expressing mental action are always essential.

Do you capitalize after a comma in dialogue?

A comma is used before the dialogue tag and goes INSIDE quotation marks. Unless the dialogue tag begins with a proper noun, it is not capitalized. A comma is used after the dialogue tag, OUTSIDE of quotation marks, to reintroduce the dialogue.

Should dialogue be capitalized?

Dialogue always starts with a capital letter, unless a sentence is interrupted by a tag or action and the same sentence then continues. In this case, use lower case to continue the dialogue. (See example 4). Dialogue tags are also known as attributions.

Do you capitalize the first word in dialogue?

Dialogue begins with a capitalized word, no matter where in the sentence it begins. (Interrupted dialogue, when it resumes, is not capped.) Only direct dialogue requires quotation marks.

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What are the rules for writing dialogue?

Here are the main rules for writing dialogue:

  • Each speaker gets a new paragraph. …
  • Each paragraph is indented. …
  • Punctuation for what’s said goes inside the quotation marks. …
  • Long speeches with several paragraphs don’t have end quotations. …
  • Use single quotes if the person speaking is quoting someone else.

What are the 8 rules for commas?

Commas (Eight Basic Uses)

  • Use a comma to separate independent clauses. …
  • Use a comma after an introductory clause or phrase. …
  • Use a comma between all items in a series. …
  • Use commas to set off nonrestrictive clauses. …
  • Use a comma to set off appositives. …
  • Use a comma to indicate direct address. …
  • Use commas to set off direct quotations.

How do you avoid commas?

Identify some categories of unnecessary commas.



Learning Objectives

  1. Do not use commas before a conjunction when the sentence is not compound. …
  2. Do not use a comma before the first and after the last word in a series. …
  3. Do not use commas around an appositive if it adds clarity, or new information, to the sentence.

Should we put comma before and?

It is grammatically correct to use a comma before “and” (and other coordinating conjunctions such as “but”, “or”, “nor”) only when it splits two independent clauses (i.e. if you remove the “and” you will be left with two complete sentences), or if you’re using it as an Oxford comma.

How do you use commas in dialogue?

2. Use a comma when a dialogue tag follows a quote. While your character may have just spoken a complete sentence, you may not need to end it with a period. When dialogue is followed by a tag (for example, he said, asked, replied), then use a comma before the closing quote when you would normally use a period.

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How do you punctuate a dialogue question?

In dialogue, treat question marks the same way you treat other punctuation marks; put them inside the quotation marks. “When are you leaving?” he asked. “Will you take care of this mail?” Liam held out the stack of envelopes. Notice the tag in the first example.

How do you use dialogue in a sentence?

Dialogue in a Sentence 🔉

  1. After the interdepartmental meeting, the teams had created a dialogue that allowed them to better serve their customers.
  2. A mediator was needed when the divorcing couple could not stop arguing long enough to have a meaningful dialogue.

How do you write dialogue in the middle of a sentence?

Inserted into the middle of a sentence. A dialogue tag can be inserted into the middle of a sentence. When this happens, the dialogue tag is set off with commas, and the sentence is capitalized as if the dialogue tag weren’t there. Right: “Andy,” his mother called, “come here now!”

How do you punctuate dialogue in elementary conversation?

Rule #1: Use Quote Marks and Commas



Surround your dialogue with quotation marks and end it with a comma before the last quote mark. End with the dialogue tag to identify the speaker. “This is my favorite dress,” said Sally. “I put your keys on top of the dresser,” Mark insisted.

How do you punctuate dialogue in middle school?

If the dialogue tag comes before the spoken words the comma belongs after the dialogue tag to separate the spoken words from the dialogue.

How do you write dialogue format for kids?

Inside quotes needs to be speaker tag present don't forget your end fluctuation. And break dialogue always develops the character. And when a new person speaks. It's a new paragraph.

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What are the 6 rules of dialogue?

How to Write Dialogue: 6 Tips for More Believable & Compelling Conversations

  • Use quotation marks. One of the absolute dialogue writing rules is using quotation marks. …
  • Give speaker their own line or paragraph. …
  • Make it clear who is speaking. …
  • Vary speech tag use. …
  • Use dialogue with a purpose. …
  • Written dialogue should sound real.


How do you write an 11 year old character?

8 Guidelines for How to Write Child Characters

  1. Don’t Make Your Child Characters Cutesy. …
  2. Don’t Make Your Child Characters Sagely Wise. …
  3. Don’t Make Your Child Characters Unintelligent. …
  4. Don’t Have Your Child Characters Use Baby Talk. …
  5. Write Your Child Characters as Unique Individuals. …
  6. Give Your Child Characters Personal Goals.