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  • Jordan Keller

What I Learned At Writing Group: Dialogue Formatting

Updated: Apr 1



The amount of people that come to writing group who don’t know the rules to punctuating dialogue makes me very nervous.


Let’s break it down.


Your ending dialogue punctuation goes inside the quotation marks ALWAYS.


If your dialogue tag is spoken you use a comma.


“I went to the store today,” she said.


If your dialogue tag is an action you use a period.


“This place sure is dusty.” He swiped a finger along the dirty surface.


If your dialogue is a question you use a question mark and the tag should be “asked” or another synonym.


“Have you had lunch yet?” Sarah asked.


When using a question mark or exclamation point the noun inside the dialogue tag will be lowercase unless it is a proper noun, as seen above.


“Not yet. How about you?” he fired back.


I’m sure there are plenty more rules, but these are the common ones we see at group and following them will elevate your writing and save you some money when it comes time to hire an editor.



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