How to Dialogue

Author: Miranda Oliver

Punctuating Dialogue

There are 3 basic ways to form a sentence that includes dialogue, so below I will include important points for each one;


  • When the sentence starts with the dialogue tag:

* Frederick announced, "Mayonnaise is nice."


-The comma will come before the opening quotation mark.

-The first letter of the announcement should be capitalized to indicate the beginning of the sentence.

-The period ending the sentence should be inside the last quotation mark.


  • When the dialogue tag is at the end of the sentence:

* "Mayonnaise is nice," Frederick announced.


-The first letter of the announcement should be capitalized once again to indicate the beginning of the sentence.

-Instead of a period, a comma should be used at the end of the announcement, and the comma should be inside the last quotation mark.


  • When the dialogue tag is placed in the middle of the sentence:

* "Mayonnaise," Frederick announced, "is nice."


-Capitalize the first letter to indicate the beginning of a sentence.

-Use a comma at the end of the first part of the quotation to indicate that the sentence will continue. (Place the comma inside the mark, as always.)

-Use a comma before the second opening quotation mark.

-Use a lower case letter at the beginning of the second quotation to indicate that it is still a part of the sentence that began in the first quotation.

-A period inside the quotation at the end to indicate the end of the sentence.

Multiple Speakers

All the rules from the Punctuating Dialogue section still apply with multiple speakers. Its basically the same, but I will just give you some pointers to think about when you're writing conversational dialogue.

  • Basic pointers

-The quoted material of the second speaker starts on a new line as a new paragraph would.

-If the dialogue tag is included in the paragraph introducing the dialogue, then you don't have to start it as a new paragraph.

-You don't have to include the dialogue tags later in the conversation, as it will be assumed who is saying what. Otherwise your conversation might start to sound a little too full of the "he said, she said" business.

  • Now let's see those rules in action.

Frederick was at the annual block party in his childhood neighborhood, although all the neighborhood kids weren't so small anymore. This time they had a determination to make the party legendary. Frederick's mother was hosting this party, therefore Frederick was expected to really get the party going. In the spur of the moment, he climbed onto the roof, and everybody cheered. He then proceeded to blurt out the first thing that popped into his head, "Mayonnaise is nice." Frederick announced, as his mother walked out the front door.

"Frederick, get down from there."

"Sorry mom."

I hope this helps!