Punctuation and Dialogue
Short pause: Commas.
Medium pause: parentheses, semicolon, em dash.
Long pause: period, question mark, exclamation mark, colon.
- A readers’ reaction to punctuation is involuntary.
- Remember to always create a new paragraph for each change of a different character speaking and keep the punctuation inside the quotation marks.
- If you are using a dialogue tag, then use a comma inside the quotation marks before the tag. Use a period if you are not using a tag after.
- If the action or dialogue tag comes first, a comma goes after the tag and a period falls inside the quotation marks at the end. If the period or exclamation mark punctuates the main sentence, then it falls outside the quotation marks.
For your writing reference library, add THE CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE.