More on these rules later, but first the infamous quote in question: Do not use semicolons.
Commas go in particular places, as do terminal marks such as periods and question marks. Only what is spoken is within the quotation marks. Other parts of the same sentence—dialogue tags and action or thought—go outside the quotation marks. 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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Direct dialogue is someone speaking. Indirect dialogue is a report that someone spoke. The word that is implied in the example of indirect dialogue. He said [that] she was a bore.
Here are some of the rules, with examples. A comma follows the dialogue and comes before the closing quotation mark. Punctuation serves to separate the spoken words from other parts of the sentence. Because the dialogue tag—she said—is part of the same sentence, it is not capped.
Single line with dialogue tag first The comma still separates the dialogue tag from the spoken words, but it is outside the quotation marks, and the period is inside the quotation marks. The action and dialogue tag can also come first. The first sentence will end with a period and the second will begin with a capital letter.
Use this same construction for the exclamation point. There is no comma. Dialogue interrupted by action or thought but no dialogue tag Characters can pause in their words to do something and then resume the dialogue. If there is no dialogue tag, special punctuation is required to set off the action or thought.
Enclose the first part of the dialogue in quotation marks but omit the comma. Resume the dialogue with another opening quotation mark, complete the dialogue, and end with a period and a closing quotation mark.
Thus the spoken words are within quotation marks and the action or thought is set off by the dashes. Everything you need to write and edit your stories in one convenient package. Quote within dialogue A character may be speaking and also quoting what someone else has said.
Punctuation is necessary to indicate the difference between what the character is quoting and what are his own words.
The entirety of what a character says is enclosed by double quotation marks. The part the character is quoting from another person is enclosed by single quotation marks. When single and double quotation marks are side by side, put a space between them.
I heard it with my own ears. Dialogue abruptly cut off When dialogue is cut off—the character is being choked or something suddenly diverts his attention or another character interrupts him—use an em dash before the closing quotation mark.
Dialogue can be interrupted mid-word or at the end of a word.
Consider the sounds of words and syllables before deciding where to break the interrupted word:Learn from Analog Dialogue’s technical journal – the engineering resource for innovative design.
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