How to write dialogue in an essay

How to write dialogue in an essay, academic, essay, story, specific, write, sentence, study, information

Knowing how to include source materials in the paper is animportant topic of academic writing. You can cite the sources toback up your argument, extend it, or even use it to analyze acounter argument and study it’s validity.

This skill is very important and thus many students need to knowquotation rules.

Students may experience difficulties of when and how to writedialogue in an essay. Some of them don’t even know the differencebetween quotes and dialogue, as well as how to use punctuationaround it. The reason for having difficulties is because manyacademic subjects concentrate only on claim based papers wherethere is no need to use a dialogue. Below, you will find out howto include dialogue in an essay and why it can be very effective.

Definition of dialogue

Dialogue is a literary technique that authors apply to show aconversation between two or more people. It is a tool that isused in many kinds of fiction – prose, movies, books, and evenessays. It is critical not to confuse quotations from an externalsource and dialogue. Dialogue is aimed to create a more dramaticand visual effect, while direct quotes can be checked throughcitations.

You need to use quotation marks when quoting from source as wellas to identify dialogue in an essay. However, rules around thetwo may alter. Therefore, it is important to know the differencebetween the two. The main differences between quotations anddialogue include:

  • Dialogue. It is a conversation between two or more people. Ithappens in a story (movie, play, book). It is used by writers tocreate a more visual effect in the story. It is included innarrative essays.
  • Direct quotes. It is information from a source applied wordfor word. It is used to back up evidence. It also evaluatescounter arguments. It is usually used in claim based essays.

One of the most common mistakes the writers do is using adialogue as a direct quote. This happens because students aretaught to apply speech as direct quotes in claim based papers.Therefore, they don’t know that they can use a narration andcreate dialogue in the range of papers to give them moresignificance. This leads to the fact, that students do not knowthe rules of how to write dialogue in an essay and why it is goodto use it.

When to use a dialogue

Dialogues are important part of television, movies, plays, andnovels. When it comes to essay writing, it is critical to keep inmind that dialogue can only be used in narrative papers.

Narrative papers are different from most of other kinds ofwriting. Other kinds of essays have an objective to make a claimabout a certain problem. For instance, argumentative essays aimto make a claim that one position is right. Expository essaysmake claims about how a certain idea or a model works. Narrativepapers don’t make claims like this. It is a kind of essay that isapplied to tell stories and experiences to the reader. Therefore,they are more like stories in nature. When describingexperiences, you need to include conversations you had with otherpeople.

When using dialogue in expository or argumentative piece ofwriting, you wouldn’t be able to strengthen your argument ordoubt your creditability, by including dialogue. In this case itis better to use direct quotes from the source. They will beconsidered the conventional norm because these kinds of papersexpect you to be scientific and objective in your discussion.

Types of dialogue

There are two kinds of dialogue. They are:

  • Direct. It is a speech that uses the exact words of thecharacter. You do not need to use quotation marks in this event.
  • Indirect. It is a secondhand narrative of something that waswritten or said not in the exact words.

When working on a narrative paper, you are telling a story.Sometimes it may be confusing to the reader who is saying what.Therefore, adding dialogue helps clarify who is doing the talkingin the story. If you know how to quote someone in an essay, itcan help your audience to more easily follow the action of thestory.

Rules to follow when writing direct dialogue

There are certain rules you need to follow when including directdialogues in your papers. They are as follows:

  • Always start a new paragraph when the speaker changes.
  • Apply quotation to define the words that the characterspronounce.
  • Use correct capitalization and punctuation.
  • Ensure the audience knows who is talking.

Writing indirect dialogue

Indirect dialogues do not rely on speech. They use memories,thoughts, or recollections of past conversations to describesignificant details of a narrative. You often may need to useindirect and direct dialogue together to enhance the dramatictension.


In order to learn how to write dialogue in an essay you need topractice a lot. The following tips will help you improve theseskills:

  • Read. Reading will improve your creative abilities. You willlearn about the form, flow of the narration, and dialogue, whichwill help you use it more naturally in your own writing.
  • Begin a dialogue diary. Practice vocabulary and speechpatterns creating your own dialogues. Record them in a diary,which will give you a chance to enhance your writing abilitiesand practice how to use punctuation.

Why do you need to use dialogue?

How to write dialogue in an essay, academic, essay, story, specific, write, sentence, study, information

Dialogues in narrative papers are used as a tool, like writtenfiction. They add character development, tension, and depth tononfiction writing. Dialogue also assists to move the storyforward. It is reported speech and that is why you would beunlikely to remember all the details, so you will have to restorethem from memory – remember to use the tones, the words, andemotions that tell the story in the correct style. Your readerswill believe the authenticity of dialogue that captures thesituation.

How to format dialogue

Here you will find out how to write dialogue in an essay andapply correct formatting when using dialogue in a paper. You willfind out how to correctly use the quotation marks as well as howto apply all the punctuation marks.

The rules for writing dialogue in an essay divide into two maincategories:

  • Use of other punctuation.
  • Proper use of quotation marks.

Quotation marks

There are three basic rules about the usage of quotation marks.They include:

  • Single quotation is applied to mark quotes. For instance, “Iremember reading the quote by Oscar Wilde ‘I can resisteverything except temptation’ and it really inspired me,” thewriter said.
  • Use double quotation to identify that a person uses speech.For instance, When I was a child, my mother told me, “Before youcross the road, look in both directions.”
  • When you include long dialogue several paragraphs long, youneed to use the quotations at the beginning of every paragraph.However, the closing quotation should be used only when thespeech ends. For instance, Jack said, “Yeah I think you’re right.If we lay the carpet in the room, it will get dusty soon.However, if we paint the ceiling first it will be fine after.”


There are only several basic rules you need to know about whereto use punctuation when including dialogue. They are as follows:

  • If the quote is at the end of a sentence, you should alwaysinclude periods inside the quotation marks. For instance, Annsaid, “Lucy do your homework.”
  • You should include exclamation points and question marksinside the quotation only if they are part of what the personsays. For instance, Lucy asked, “Did you finish your homework?”
  • If the quote is a part of a big exclamation or question, youshould put the punctuation outside the quotes. Did he say, “Helikes her”?
  • Insert commas after the words such as exclaimed, asked, said,or similar verbs if they are before the quote. My father said,“Don’t play the ball in the house.”
  • If the verbs mentioned above go after the quote, the commashould be inside the quotation. Like, “Dinner will be readysoon,” our mother said.
  • If the sentence you are quoting is broken up, insert commasafter the first part of the sentence as well as after such verbsas asked, exclaimed, said, etc. Like, “No,” he said, “I don’thave any specific plans for tomorrow.”

When you know how to use proper punctuation, your sentences areeasier to understand. If you don’t use any punctuation in yourdialogue, you may confuse your reader.

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