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Capitalization and Punctuation in Dialogue

A presentation on the usage of capital letters, commas, quotation marks, and end marks in dialogue.
by

james tierney

on 2 September 2010

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Transcript of Capitalization and Punctuation in Dialogue

Punctuating Dialogue
1. Always indent when a new speaker speaks. "How are you, Debbie?" asked Tanya.
"Oh, I am much better now that the summer is over,"
replied Debbie. "How are you?"
"Fine, thanks--"
"Excuse me, ladies, but the bus is leaving now!"
interrupted the shaggy-haired bus driver.
2. Use quotation marks to enclose a direct quotation - a person's exact words. "When the bells rings," said the teacher, "leave the room quietly." 3. A direct quote begins with a capital letter. "When you create art, be sure to sign your creation," Ms. Thompson said. 4. When the dialogue is interrupted by the words that identify the speaker, the second part of the quotation begins with a lowercase letter. "After you wash the floor," the mean step-mother told Cinderella, "you can iron the clothes!" 4a. When the first and second part of a quotation are complete sentences, the second part also starts with a capital letter. "I can't go today," I said. "You can ask me tomorrow." 5. A comma separates the direct quotation from the words that tell us who the speaker is. Velma said, "I love mysteries." 5a. They could be separated by a question mark. "Do you love mysteries, too?" asked Velma. 5b. They could be separated by
an exclamation point. "I love mysteries, too!" shouted Daphne. 6. If a quotation is interrupted, a comma follows the first part and comes before the second part. "Yes," said Shaggy, "we are very hungry!" 7.Punctuation marks should be inside the quotation marks. "Let's add our money together to buy the gift!" announced Henry. 5a. A question mark could separate the direct
quotation from the words that tell us who
the speaker is. "Who are you?" asked Tanner.
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