You can use various ways to make your essay more interesting. One of these ways is to include a dialogue in an essay. It makes your essay sound natural. However, you must use dialogue properly. Don’t use a direct quote as a dialogue. These two are different. A direct quote is usually from one source. Dialogue involves a conversation between two or more characters. Most students struggle when trying to include a dialogue in an essay. This is the reason we are giving you a guide to writing dialogue in an essay. Read on and learn how to write dialogue in a narrative essay.
When to use dialogue in an essay: The best Guide to Writing Dialogue in an Essay
Here, you will learn how to write dialogue in a narrative essay. But first, when should you use a dialogue in an essay? A narration can slow down your essay. In this case, you can use a dialogue. For example, a dialogue can shorten a long paragraph.
Use dialogue to show important details in your essay. Dialogue can help to interestingly show important details. Also, use dialogue to reveal emotions. Dialogue can help tell and show how things are going on.
How to write dialogue in an essay properly
First, when writing an essay, don’t include too much dialogue. Have a balance between the dialogue and the narration.
Second, include only important conversations in your essay. Ensure that any dialogue in your essay communicates important information.
Third, include dialogue tags in your essay. These are the words that tell your reader who is speaking. They make it easier to understand the dialogue. Ensure that you don’t forget dialogue tags.
Fourth, ensure that you use punctuations properly. Wrong punctuations can change the meaning of your dialogue. This means changing even the meaning of your essay.
How to write dialogue-format
Writing dialogue in your essay may be easy. But formatting the dialogue is the tricky part. Most students struggle to format dialogue. This is because formatting rules are strict. But not with our guide to writing dialogue in an essay. Through this guide, you will learn how to easily format a dialogue. Below, we explain several dialogue formatting rules.
Rule 1: Use quotation marks to show words that your character says.
When including dialogue in an essay, you say what a person says. To show that it is a dialogue, put quotation marks around those words.
For example, John (a character) said let’s take a walk.
In your essay, include quotation marks around the words that John said.
This would be;
“Let’s take a walk.”
The quotation marks should face the spoken words.
” Let’s take a walk. “ (Incorrect)
“Let’s take a walk.” (Correct)
Rule 2: Don’t put quotation marks around dialogue tags.
This is the next rule in our guide to writing dialogue in an essay. When writing dialogue in your essay, you will use dialogue tags. These are words that show who is speaking. Look at the following sentence;
Karen said, “Let’s take a walk.”
In the above sentence, Karen said is the dialogue tag.
Other examples of dialogue tags are;
- Mark asked.
- She responded.
- Jenny exclaimed.
- He whispered.
You shouldn’t put quotation marks around these words. They should stay outside the quotation marks. For example;
- “Karen said, Let’s take a walk.” (Incorrect)
- Karen said, “Let’s take a walk.” (Correct)
Rule 3: If a dialogue tag comes before your quote, have a comma before quotation marks.
Sometimes, a dialogue tag will come before your quote. Look at the following sentence.
Jenny said I will tell teacher Ronny that you stole my pen.
Which is the dialogue tag in this sentence? Jenny said.
Which is the quote? I will tell teacher Ronny that you stole my pen.
Now let’s write this sentence correctly.
- Jenny said, “I will tell teacher Ronny that you stole my pen.”
Note: We have put a comma before the opening quotation marks.
Rule 4: If a dialogue tag comes after your quote, have a comma in the quotation marks.
Sometimes dialogue tags will come after your quote.
I will tell teacher Ronny that you stole my pen. Jenny said.
(The quote) (The dialogue tag)
While formatting this sentence, put a comma in the quotation marks.
- “I will tell teacher Ronny that you stole my pen”, Jenny said. (Incorrect)
- “I will tell teacher Ronny that you stole my pen,” Jenny said. (Correct)
Rule 5: If a quote comes at the end of your sentence, have a full stop before the closing quotation marks.
The use of full stops in a dialogue can be confusing. But the confusion ends today. So, where should you place a full stop in a dialogue?
A quote can be at the beginning or end of a sentence.
When it comes to the end of the sentences, a full stop should be inside your quotation marks.
Jesse said the students have left.
Format this sentence
Jesse said, “The students have left”. (Incorrect)
Jesse said, “The students have left.” (Correct)
Rule 6: Exclamation marks and question marks may fall in or out of the quotation marks.
Most students aren’t sure where to put question marks when formatting a dialogue. This is the reason they ask about how to write a dialogue format. Don’t worry if you also struggle with this. Continue reading our guide to writing dialogue in an essay and become an expert.
Mostly, an exclamation mark or question mark comes before the closing quotation mark. This is when the marks are part of the quote. For example;
- The teacher asked, “Why haven’t you done the homework?”
Note: The question mark is inside the quotation marks. This is because the mark is part of the quote.
However, sometimes the question mark will be outside the quotation marks. Look at the following sentence.
Did the teacher say you must do this assignment today?
What are the exact words of the teacher? You must do this assignment today
Therefore, the question mark is not part of the quote. In this case, it will be outside the quotation marks.
- Did the teacher say “You must do this assignment today”? (Correct)
Rule 7: Use single quotes to show a quote within a dialogue
Sometimes you can have a quote within a dialogue. For example;
- He said, Mum always says, sweet dreams when taking us to bed.
How should you format this sentence?
- He said, “Mum always says, ‘sweet dreams,’ when taking us to bed.”
Do you want to write an interesting essay? Why don’t you try to include a dialogue in it? This is a great way of expressing your argument. In our guide to writing dialogue in an essay, we have provided rules for formatting a dialogue. Follow each of these rules to write dialogue properly in your essay. Don’t forget to revise your essay. Take time to read and re-read it. Dialogue involves a lot of formatting. So, punctuation errors are common. Always take time to proofread an essay. This will ensure that you produce a perfect essay.
Feel free to contact us at any time for further help. Good luck.