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What do you call two or more characters in a story talking to one another? Dialogue! In this lesson, you will read dialogue, find out why writers use dialogue, and learn how to write dialogue in your own stories!

What Is Dialogue?

Have you ever wished someone had written down one of your interesting conversations? If your conversation was written down, then you’d have an example of dialogue!Dialogue refers to two or more characters talking to one another in a story.

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Writers use dialogue for a number of reasons.Writers use dialogue for a number of reasons. For one, dialogue helps bring characters to life. Dialogue may include unique accents, expressions or quirks of characters which reveal their personalities.

Another reason is dialogue is another way to give the reader information and keep the action of the plot (the story) moving. And finally, dialogue can break up lengthy descriptive passages and grab the attention of readers.

Dialogue in Action

In the book ‘Seventh Grade’, Victor likes his classmate Teresa.

An example of dialogue from the story reveals the shy nature of Victor and that he’s been thinking about Teresa:In English they reviewed the parts of speech. Mr. Lucas, a portly man, waddled down the aisle, asking, ‘What is a noun?’‘A person, place, or thing,’ said the class in unison.‘Yes, now somebody give me an example of a person – you, Victor Rodriguez.’‘Teresa,’ Victor said automatically. Some of the girls giggled.

They knew he had a crush on Teresa. He felt himself blushing again.‘Correct,’ Mr.

Lucas said.

Dialogue in ‘Thank You, M’am’ by Langston Hughes

In this story, the main character Roger tries to steal Mrs. Jones’s purse. Let’s go over the unique way these characters speak to one another:The woman said, ‘What did you want to do it for?’The boy said, ‘I didn’t aim to.’She said, ‘You a lie!’By that time two or three people passed, stopped, turned to look, and some stood watching.

‘If I turn you loose, will you run?’ asked the woman.‘Yes’m,’ said the boy.‘Then I won’t turn you loose,’ said the woman. She did not release him.‘I’m very sorry, lady, I’m sorry,’ whispered the boy.

‘Um-hum! And your face is dirty. I got a great mind to wash your face for you. Ain’t you got nobody home to tell you to wash your face?’‘No’m,’ said the boy.‘Then it will get washed this evening,’ said the large woman starting up the street, dragging the frightened boy behind her.

This dialogue reveals interesting information about Roger and Mrs. Jones and moves along the action of the plot. Even though Roger tried to rob her, what she said indicated that Mrs. Jones was concerned about Roger’s well-being and wanted to care for him.

Punctuation in Dialogue

When writing dialogue, remember two things regarding punctuation:

  • Each quote needs to open and close with a (single or double) quotation mark.
  • The first word in any quote needs to be capitalized.

Lesson Summary

Dialogue is the conversation between two or more characters in a story. Dialogue makes the characters feel real, gives information, breaks up descriptive passages and moves along the action of the plot. Remember to always use quotation marks and capitalize the first letter in each quote.

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