Writing Mini-Lessons: How to Punctuate Dialogue

Punctuating Dialogue

Quotation marks began in ancient Greek texts as two curved lines that represented the lips of a person speaking. One curved line was placed at the beginning, as if the writer were saying, “I’m telling you something someone else said.” The other curved line came at the end, to say, “I’ve finished writing the words that came out of the other person’s mouth.”

An Editing Exercise:  Punctuating and Paragraphing Dialogue

Now that you know the rules for punctuating and paragraphing dialogue, edit the selection below, being certain that the dialogue is punctuated and paragraphed correctly.

Within five minutes the snow was falling so hard we couldn’t see the streetlights. I went into full panic mode. Where was my father? My mother said don’t worry—he’s a good driver. He’ll be okay. Do you really think so I asked. Yes I do she said. She put her arm around me and hugged me close to her. Together we stood at the window and watched the storm. Have you ever seen it snow like this before I asked like it will never stop? My mother waited a moment before she answered. Never she said never.

Scroll down to find one possible solution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Possible Solution

Within five minutes the snow was falling so hard we couldn’t see the streetlights. I went into full panic mode. Where was my father? My mother said, “Don’t worry—he’s a good driver. He’ll be okay.”

“Do you really think so?” I asked.

“Yes, I do,” she said. She put her arm around me and hugged me close to her. Together we stood at the window and watched the storm.

“Have you ever seen it snow like this before,” I asked, “like it will never stop?”

My mother waited a moment before she answered. “Never,” she said, “never.”