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Direct Speech and Dialogues in the Text

The main elements of writing are sentences and paragraphs. Using them, you can write letters and essays. If you are fond of writing stories, you may need to use direct speech. Direct speech rules differ from the format of regular sentences and paragraphs, so you should consider them in more detail.

Direct and Indirect Speech

Direct speech is used when you reproduce the words of the speaker in your essay. Indirect speech is applied when you transmit the content of someone's remarks, without quoting them word for word. For example:

Direct Speech

Mom told me, "Dinner is ready."

Indirect Speech

Mom told me that the dinner was ready.

The Essence of Direct Speech

Direct speech is rarely used in scientific papers, as there are usually no actors in them. However, when you are writing an essay, in which there are several characters, it is very useful to transfer the conversation through direct speech for several reasons.

  • It helps to describe the character. Each person speaks differently, and the way, in which you convey the character's speech style, will tell a lot to the reader.
  • It helps to make the story more fun and intense. Disputes, conflicts and moments saturated with the action may become more vivid due to direct speech.

Dialog Format

When using direct speech, it is important to remember that:

  • Direct speech should be separated from the rest of the text.
  • The reader must understand which character is speaking at the moment.

Follow these rules, and you will not have difficulties:

  • Each citation must be opened and closed with quotes.
  • Only words that are part of the phrase and punctuation related to it should be placed inside the quotation marks. Punctuation related to speech must be inside quotes.

"How are you?" she asked.


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"How are you"? she asked.

If there are only two characters, it is not necessary to write “said X” or “said Y” after each cue, but you must indicate the speaker after the first replica of person X and after the first replica of person Y. If there are more than two people in the conversation, it is important to let the reader understand who is speaking now. In this case, it is necessary to indicate the talker more often. In a direct speech (but not in indirect speech), it is allowed to use short forms (I’m, you’re, he’ll, don’t, wouldn’t, etc.).

Direct speech should be separated from the author’s words by a comma. A period needs to be placed at the end of the sentence after the words of the author. The following sentence, which is a continuation of the citation, must begin with a capital letter.

Indication of the Tone and Mood

People express emotions with voice tones. Unfortunately, the writer cannot convey the tone of the voice in the text. However, you can find a proper verb to describe the emotions with which the phrase is pronounced (for example, “he said sadly,” “she shouted gaily”).


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