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Home / Blog / How To Write Dialogue In An Essay That Will Be Meaningful

How To Write Dialogue In An Essay That Will Be Meaningful

rules for using dialogue in essay

Dialogue is a conversation between two people. This crucial component of an essay supports a theory, providing evidence in the first person. There are two types of dialogues:

  • the internal (the inside voice): «I will marry her anyway,» Paul thought to himself;
  • the outer (talk between two people)

«It is an unexpected honor,» muttered one of the students.

«Honor? Nonsense!» said the Professor.

Quotes divide into:

  • direct that report the speaker’s words literally (quotation marks are necessary). 

«Won’t you come back at five o’clock?» she said. 

  • indirect that transmit the general meaning of a speaker’s words (omit quotation marks) 

She told him that she is desperately unhappy. 

Dialogue is a conversation between several people, appropriate for narrative essays only, while internal may refer to a monologue. Quotes provide evidence, support a theory, transmitting the information from the first source or person. They are rife with most types of academic assignments. 

Appropriate Dialogue Can Be a Breathtaking Essay Beginning

The beginning forms the style of the entire essay. An audience gets imagination through the first lines. They catch attention or not, sound moody or captivating. Remember how you choose a book in a store or a library: you read the title and look through the first page to decide whether it is worthy of attention or not. The beginning of an essay provides a similar effect.

The effect of the right chosen phrases is priceless. They focus your audience, describe the theme of conversation in a creative and personalized manner. An ordinary introduction does not possess these features being dull and conventional.

As soon as you determine the topic you will work with, it is worth thinking up a catchy dialogue to represent it spectacularly. Sometimes witty jokes can be a strong hook that will win all attention of the audience. Whichever dialogue style you choose, the correct approach will make a strong emotional impression on the readers. 

Using a dialogue, be as precise as possible for easy understanding. Be careful with using those that require background information or edgy humor due to possible ambivalent reactions. To avoid it, you should seek more appropriate phrases. Remember that you have no chance to give a detailed outline of the speakers and the reasons for their specific conversation. Hence, the idea must be transparent immediately. 

Dialogue focuses on the relevance of the topic and its emotional side, being a consistent beginning of any essay. 

Punctuation Rules for Dialogues in an Essay

Dialogues in narrative essays are sparkling and doubtlessly brighten the text. They express emotions, thinking, style of conversation, and the relationship between the speakers. Yet exclude the wordy pieces of text and long dialogues. They should be feasible and easy to understand.

Use punctuation correctly while formatting dialogues in an essay: 

  1. Use quotation marks for a speaker’s phrase. «You will marry the excellent Mr. Landers.»
  2. The words of different people must start from a new line. «I think I love you,» she said hoarsely. «Now you must go,» he said.
  3. Quotation within quotation requires a single quotation within double marks. «But he said, ‹You can go if you like, ›» exclaimed Julie.
  4. The dialogue and dialogue tag require coma for separation. «Let’s wait here and see the sunrise,» said Susie.
  5. Use the same terminal point as it is in the source text while using a whole phrase. «Martha! Dinner!» cried out the lady.
  6. Place between commas a dialogue tag between several phrases of one person. «Pardon me,» he went on, «but I am a little stiff.»
  7. The first word of a direct quote sentence always begins with a capital letter irrespective of its placing. She asked, «How did you find out?»
  8. The part of the same quote in one sentence does not require capitalization. «I don’t want to go,» said Susie, «but I suppose I must meet her.»

Being aware of how to insert source materials makes your work easier for reading and understanding, conveys the information you want to pass, making your work looking respectable and professional. 

Writing Dialogue in a Modern Language Association Style (MLA) Essay

Students should be aware of how to format dialogue in MLA format. It has a few specific features: 

Short quotations need a comma to divide phrase tags: 

He asked, «How did you do that?» 

Long quotations start from a new line with quotation marks: 

Arthur cried out,

«If Margaret has broken her word to me, if she has gone to him, it’s because it’s not the Margaret I know. Some devil must have taken possession of her. 

«Is it possible that Haddo cast some spell upon her that would make her unable to resist his will?» 

Indirect quotes do not need quotation marks. 

He said that he was glad to see her and asked about her travels with interest.

Place quotations that consist of four and more lines of prose or three lines of poetry in a separate block of text without quotation marks. Start a citing from the new line one-half inch from the left margin maintaining double-spacing throughout the entire essay. 

At last, he began to speak:

I  am  in  perfect  health.  I  work  hard,  but  I’m  never  tired,  and  I  enjoy  my  work.  It  is  very  important.  The  decisions  I  make  can  affect  the  welfare  of  the  country  and  even  the  peace  of  the  world.  I  must  have  a  clear  brain.  I  look  upon  it  as  my  duty  to  eliminate  any  cause  of  worry  that  may  interfere  with  my  work.  (Maugham  47) 

Adding words in quotation requires brackets to indicate that these are not related to the citing. 

«There is 2,500 km of motorway [mostly six lanes] and over 2,500 km of dual carriageway [divided high-way].»

Omission of words in the quotation must be indicated by ellipses (three periods) with a proceeding and following space.

«He sponsored an India Bill (1784), which provided a government board . . . to control political and military affairs in India» (110)

Quoting someone’s works in your assignment may distinguish according to the length of the source text.

Extra Rules for Several Dialogues and Long Speeches

Too long speech has specific features that differ from currently accepted formatting. Place the opening quotation marks at the beginning of the first line, each following paragraph, and the closing quotation marks once only at the end of the last one.

He looked at her and began. «We find it natural to make the distinction. Only we do not make it enough. When confronted with an object, which is not a human being, we must of course treat it reverently. We must, if we paint it, attempt to show what it is like in itself, and not treat it as a symbol of our moods and wishes. The great painter is he who is humble enough in the presence of the object to attempt merely to show what the object is like. But this merely, in painting, is everything.» 

«Upon an ordinary material thing, we can look with reverence, wondering simply at its being. But when we look upon a human face, we interpret it by what we are ourselves. And what are we?»

Em dashes for interruption indication mean the end of a dialogue. Use dashes within the quotation marks.

«How I agree with you!» she said.

«When we are in the presence of another human being, we are not confronted simply by an object —» He paused. 

Ellipses at the end of the dialogue do not require any additional punctuation (come, etc.). Ellipses mean the continuation of the conversation.

He looked at the night sky and sighed. «I did not know this for another five seconds, and during that time, I was back on the Earth, seeking for the comfort I could find from the past…» he said and closed his eyes.

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