EDIT ME — Punctuating Dialogue

quote mark


Today we’re tackling punctuation–groan–in dialogue! Read on for the fun! No, really. I’m going to make it fun.


Dialogue without a dialogue tag (said, replied, etc)

“No donuts.”


Dialogue with tag.

“No donuts,” she said.


Dialogue with dialogue tag first.

She drawled, “No donuts.”


Dialogue with action.

She smacked her gum. “No donuts.”


Dialogue with action and tag.

“No donuts,” she said, smacking her gum.


Dialogue with action and tag first.

Smacking her gum, she said, “No donuts.”


Other ways to flip out about a donut shortage.

“No donuts?”

“No donuts!”


Flipping out about donut shortage with action and tags.

“No donuts?” he demanded, pointing his rifle at her.

“No donuts!” she yelled, backing against the wall.


Separating with action that indicates she will pee her pants.

“No donuts,” she said, leaning away from the rifle, “but I can make you some.”


Cutting off dialogue.

“No don–”


Trailing off.

“No donuts…” She backed away from the rifle.


Cutting off with action.

“No donuts today” –his heart cracked at the thought of no yeasty goodness on this rainy morning– “but I’d be glad to wait while you make some.”


And now your reward!



Thanks for reading!








8 comments on “EDIT ME — Punctuating Dialogue

  1. Dang it, now I want a donut…

  2. Did someone say doughnut? Seriously, I need this. Bad news is now I have to go back through my WIP 😉

  3. What a great diet-bustin’ lesson on… Wait, uh, what was the lesson?

  4. Thank you! When characters are asking a question, and I use tag, I never know if I’m supposed to capitalize He/She.. Turns out I was doing it correctly, but had an editor change it. Thankfully, I’m no longer with that publishing company!

  5. Thank you for reaffirming (again) my correct use of punctuation. I worry a LOT that I’m misusing and misplacing punctuation. At least I’m getting this part right!

  6. “No Donuts, WTH? I’m pouting. 😐

  7. Perfect. You’ve got all the options covered 🙂

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