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August 11, 2013

4 Tips About How To Use Quotation Marks Correctly for Dialogue

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Written by: Shari
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punctuation for quotes; is the conversation that your characters have within your story.

Oh, and you can spell it dialog or dialogue. Dialog is the U.S. spelling, dialogue is the British spelling. I like dialogue!

When you create dialogue, you might need a few reminders on how to use quotation marks correctly.

4 Punctuation Tips for  Quotation Marks in Dialogue

  1. Use quotation marks at the beginning and end of dialogue.
  2. Punctuation marks go inside the quotation marks.
    “I didn’t say that.” — “I didn’t say that,” she said. — “I didn’t say that!” she said.
  3. Use a comma when including a she said or he yelled. And if you are asking a question, and using a she said, do it like this:  “What?” she asked.
  4. A long quotation, that must break into several paragraphs, requires beginning quotations at the beginning of each paragraph, but only include ending quotations at the end of the speech.
    Thoughts or unspoken discourse may be enclosed in quotation marks or not, depending on the writer’s preference, or publisher’s style manual.

Dialogue Exercise to Practice Using Quotation Marks:

Select a familiar nursery rhyme or fable, and create a brief dialog between characters, without giving away their names. See if a reader can tell what story you are depicting merely by the words, conversation, tone of character’s dialogue/voice, and style of dialogue you create. Use the punctuation tips above for proper use of quotation marks in your dialogue.


He ran to her side, dropped his pail, and knelt in the water that spilled onto the ground where she had tumbled.

“Are you okay?” he asked, as he reached his hand to help her up.

“You tripped me,” she said, pulling her hand away from his, and bumping him to the ground as she got up, brushing the dirt from her pinafore with an agitated stroke.

“You did that on purpose, just to slow me down. Now I have to go fetch some more water, and I suppose you’ll beat me home.” She grabbed the pail and stalked back up the hill.

“What?  No–I–huh?” he said rubbing his head, as the dampness soaked into the seat of his pants.

Who are they?


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About the Author

Shari Popejoy, wife of twenty-eight years, mother of three, founder of a local co-op for hundreds of homeschool children, author of seven books, and creator of Won Without Words (a blog of encouragement for wives) lives in the quiet country of the Ozarks where she enjoys writing surrounded by nature (and her children, of course). She is currently completing Volume V of the Livingstone Library, an adventure series for 'smart' kids, which features characters with character, and underlying allegorical spiritual truths. She enjoys high places and the road less traveled, and moments when all is well, and peace permeates like a fragrance. . .oh, and chocolate, fresh fruit and veggies, and early morning sunrises. Read her blog at


dialog punctuation;

Adding Dialogue to Your Story

Dialogue is the conversation your characters have within your story. Some easy tips about dialogue and the proper way to use quotation marks can help make your story even better.
by Shari



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