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Dialogue In An Essay

I'm sure most of us have heard about dialogue essays. Looking at the details on how to write dialogue in an essay seems intimidating to many. We've all been there, too. We all used to take the easy road and avoided this altogether, only to get a moderate score. You may see others who write worse than you but scored higher by using dialogue in their essays. If used correctly, the dialogue in essays can really give your writing that oomph you need to be the top of the list. Trust us, you really need that when the stake is as high as a scholarship or an entry to an excellent university. Of course, it would not give you that much of an advantage if it is easy to understand and master. Dialouge essays, on the surface, can seem very complicated. There are a few things you need to know about how to write dialogue in an essay. Those things that we will talk here cover when you should use dialogue in an essay, the format, and a few more things. We will also be providing you with examples to help you master this technique. Ready? Let's go!

To start things off, we will look at what is a dialogue. You can't know how to write dialogue in an essay if you don't really know what a dialogue is, right? Dialogue is best described as a mere conversation between people. We frame those using quotation marks. However, you'd be wrong if you are thinking that it is like direct quotes. They are two different things. Sure, both of them are used as a hook, but here is the main difference:

  • Dialogue: Serves as a creative part of the main story.
  • Direct quote: Serves as a support to the writer's argument. Must be written word-for-word.

Note: If you are using a dialogue to support your argument, then you are using a direct quote. The key is how you want to use it.

Now that you know what a dialogue in essays is, you may be wondering when you should use it. Dialogue essays are very potent in narrative papers. How? Because dialogue is meant to add that immersive touch to your work. To tell a story is the entire point of a narrative essay. The dialogue in essays goes hand-in-hand when they are narrative. If used correctly, it can really grip your reader's attention instead of turning your hard work into a strong sleeping pill. The dialogue in essay serves as a break for the eyes in a wall of text. But we don't recommend you to use dialogue in essays if they are argumentative ones. You are supposed to convince your reader why your idea is right. You don't need storytelling element in your writing. If anything, it can even weaken your argument. If you encounter argumentative essays or any kind of essays that require you to prove your point, use direct quotes instead.

Next, on the list about how to write dialogue in an essay, we will talk about the dialogue essays format etiquettes. We have three rules about how to format dialogue in an essay. Take a look at these dialogue essays examples:

  • Use quotation marks for normal quotes.

Incorrect: She said I honestly think he's lying.

Correct: She said, "I honestly think he's lying."

  • Use single quotation marks for quotes inside other quotes.

Incorrect: She said, "I don't get it when he said the thing between us is done."

Correct: She said, "I don't get it when he said "the thing between us is done'."

  • If a dialogue has more than one paragraph, put the quotation marks at the start of each and every paragraph and only at the end of the final paragraph.

Incorrect: The policeman said, "The suspect tried to get in through the window that was partially open. Unfortunately, he made a terrible error. There was someone home.

The inhabitant turned out to be a really angry veteran. The suspect was shot in the shoulder before the veteran called the police."

Correct: The policeman said, "The suspect tried to get in through the window that was partially open. Unfortunately, he made a terrible error. There was someone home.

"The inhabitant turned out to be a really angry veteran. The suspect was shot in the shoulder before the veteran called the police."

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Next, we will look at punctuation rules. There are six of them to keep in mind. Take a look at these dialogue essays examples:

  • Periods are placed inside the quotation marks.

Incorrect: They said, "Alright. We'll do it if it makes you happy".

Correct: They said, "Alright. We'll do it if it makes you happy".

  • Punctuation marks are placed in the quotation marks if they make up for that person's speech.

Incorrect: The firefighter yelled, "Come on! We don't have much time"!

Correct: The firefighter yelled, "Come on! We don't have much time"!

  • Punctuation marks are placed outside the quotation marks if they are a part of a larger question or exclamation.

Incorrect: She asked, "Did the lecturer just say quiz tomorrow?"

Correct: She asked, "Did the lecturer just say "Quiz tomorrow"?"

  • Commas are placed after verbs like say, exclaim, and ask before the quote.

Incorrect: He said "Mum, I'm heading out to buy groceries!"

Correct: He said, "Mum, I'm heading out to buy groceries!"

  • Commas at the end of the dialogue inside the quotation marks, verbs like say, exclaim, and ask come after the quote.

Incorrect: "There will be a quiz tomorrow" he said.

Correct: "There will be a quiz tomorrow," he said.

  • If it is a separated sentence, place a comma inside the quotation marks of the first part; and another after verbs like said, exclaimed, and asked.

Incorrect: "Alright" He said, "here they come."

Correct: "Alright," He said, "here they come."

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Last but not least, we will discuss how to put dialogue in a paper in MLA and APA format. Yes, you can't just slap a dialogue in there without a proper format. That's not how to write dialogue in an essay.

MLA format dialogue essays are pretty straightforward. There are three rules you should know.

  • Put the dialogue in another paragraph, no matter how short the speech is. Use commas to separate dialogue tag. For instance:

He said,

"Alright, let's get back to work."

  • If the person's speech exceeds one paragraph, then put the quotation mark at the beginning of each paragraph and at the end of the entire dialogue. For instance:

During his speech, he said,

"If we take a look at the diagram, we can see that there is a steep fall in last year's sale. This has something to do with our PR disaster. We need to do something about this.

"I suggest that we try a rather risky tactic. Instead of trying to hide our errors, we admit to them and fix them accordingly.

APA format dialouge essays is a bit more complicated altogether. Take a look at these rules:

  • The dialogue tag and quotes remain in the same paragraph if the person's speech is short. Also, don't forget to use commas to separate them!
  • If a person's speech exceeds 40 words, then put the quotation mark at the beginning of each and every paragraph, and at the end of the last paragraph. For example:

During the conference, the speaker said,

"The world is a better place if we all learn to tolerate. There are so many problems out there that need solving. Instead, we spend most of our times quarreling over little things among ourselves.

"All religions strive to teach us just that. Living in harmony. You have no idea how much we can do to help out world, if we just put our differences aside."

  • If there is more than one person speaking, then put the other person's speech in another paragraph. For example:

"Hi, Charlie! Long time to see," She asked.

"Yeah, it's been a long while since I saw you. I've been doing well," he said.

To wrap things up, in a dialog essay, you need to know three things. How to format dialogue in an essay, the six punctuation rules, and how to put dialogue in a paper in APA or MLA format. It may seem hard to understand at first. That's why not so many people are successful writing dialog essay. That is exactly why you can score better on a writing test! Now that you know how to write dialogue in an essay properly, you can feel confident taking on essay writing!

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