TIPSY Today™ Blog with Rogena & Colleen | A Footprint of RMJ Editing & Manuscript Service, Colleen Snibson Editing, and Two Red Pens Editing
TIPSY TODAY with Rogena.
Today's tip is for punctuating dialogue.
Proper placement of commas can be a struggle for some writers, so I'm here to give a few guidelines to follow. I found this simple list on www.glencoe.com, Writer's Choice, Punctuating Dialogue.
One issue not addressed is when something is not a dialogue tag, but seems to be used as one... often. Things like saying someone smiled, laughed, or sighed... those should not be punctuated as dialogue tags.
"I missed you while you were away." Sally smiled. "I'm glad you're back."
Notice no commas... 'Sally smiled.' is NOT a dialogue tag. It is just telling us that she smiled.
Hope this helps!
When you revise dialogue, be sure to punctuate it correctly so that your readers can see who is talking and where a line of dialogue begins or ends. The rules for using quotation marks, commas, and end marks of punctuation are listed below.
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."
2) Use a comma to set off the speaker's tag (he said) from the beginning of a quotation. Place the comma inside closing quotation marks when the speaker's tag follows the quotation.
Harry said, "Come on, Ray. It'll be fun."
"Let's go," Gilda said.
3) 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."
4) 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.
"Hooray!" said Debbi.
5) Place a question mark or an exclamation point outside the quotation marks when it is not part of the quotation.
Did I hear Ray say, "Okay"?
I can't believe he said, "Okay"!
6) Start a new paragraph when you move from one speaker to another.
"How long a hike is it?" Ray asked. "I don't
know whether I have the energy." (End Paragraph)
(New Paragraph) "I think," said Iris, "that it's
about seven miles to the top."
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TIPSY TODAY with Rogena © RMJ MS 10/22/14
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Rogena Mitchell-Jones | RMJ Manuscript Service LLC | www.rogenamitchell.com
Colleen Snibson | Colleen Snibson Editing | www.colleensnibsonediting.com
Two Red Pens Editing | www.tworedpens.com
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