HomeBlogHow To Write Dialogue In An Essay

How To Write Dialogue In An Essay

Want to spice up your essay to make it stand out from others? Maybe you want to score higher than the rest of the class. Perhaps you want to nail that scholarship. Essay writing is a staple of exams in many academic fields. A proper dialogue in essays can really engage the audience if used correctly in any kind of essay. However, dialogue essays can be difficult to master. If you're interested in how to write dialogue in an essay like an expert, you need to know when it is appropriate to use dialogue in an essay, as well as how to write dialogue in an essay. Those can be tricky, even for experienced academic writers. But fret not! We are here to give you the idea behind how to write dialogue in an essay with the examples to help you better understand this technique.

So, for a start, we have some questions we need to answer as we go into the meticulous details. We will answer all of them to help you understand the technique to how to write dialogue in an essay.

The definition of a dialogue:

  • Dialogue usage
  • The six rules of punctuations
  • The three rules of dialogue essays format
  • Writing dialogue in essays in MLA or APA format

A dialogue is, essentially, a conversation between people. It is framed in quotation marks, but it is NOT a quotation. We use both of them as a hook in our essay.

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There is a certain similarity between a dialogue and a direct quote, though. There is also a difference: dialogue acts as a part of a larger story, while quotes are aimed at proving the author's point of view. Quoting implies restating other authors' thoughts word-for-word. So, if you refer to a dialogue to prove your point, you are basically using direct quotes - in the form of a dialogue. If you use it as an integral part of the paper, the dialogue becomes a creative component of your work. So, the difference is in the intended use. Simple as that!

Note that you can only use dialogue in essays when the essays are narrative. This way, dialogue will help you advance with the story you are working on - which is, essentially, its purpose. Dialogue in essay like that can give your narrative extra depth and really engage the readers. In other types of assignments (i.e., argumentative and/or expository papers), dialogue in essays can weaken the argument. Don't forget that the whole point of writing an argument paper is to convince the audience in your point of view - using actual evidence from the secondary sources. So, you will need direct quotes.

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There are six rules on how to write dialogue in an essay when it comes to punctuation, and you can learn them from the following dialogue essays examples:

The periods are placed inside the quotation marks.

Incorrect: He said, "Call me if you get into any more trouble. I'm your man".

Correct: He said, "Call me if you get into any more trouble. I'm your man."

Other punctuation marks are placed inside the quotation marks (if they are part the person's speech).

Incorrect: The man yelled, "Call the cops"!

Correct: The man yelled, "Call the cops!"

Punctuation marks are placed outside the quotation marks when they are a part of the larger story or question.

Incorrect: Did she just say, "We're done?"

Correct: Did she just say, "We're done"?

The commas are placed after say, exclaim, ask, or any synonyms of that verb if they come before the quote.

Incorrect: My father always says "Don't take anything for granted."

Correct: My father always says, "Don't take anything for granted."

Place the commas inside the quotation marks if the verbs above come after the quote.

Incorrect: "It is cold outside. Bring your jacket" he said.

Correct: "It is cold outside. Bring your jacket," he said.

If you want to quote a split-up sentence, you place a comma within the first part of your quote (within the quotation marks); then, another one after said, exclaimed, asked or any synonyms of those verbs.

Incorrect: "Well" He chuckled "No rest for the wicked, I guess."

Correct: "Well," He chuckled, "No rest for the wicked, I guess."

Plus, there are some more rules on dialouge essay format. Remember three of them on how to format dialogue in an essay:

Ordinary quotes are farmed in double quotation marks.

Incorrect: She said I like you.

Correct: She said, "I like you."

Quotes inside quotes are placed in single quotation marks.

Incorrect: The lecturer asked, "What did you expect when I said your mark will be zero if I catch you cheating?"

Correct: The lecturer asked, "What did you expect when I said, 'Your mark will be zero if I catch you cheating'?"

When a dialogue goes on for several paragraphs, you are supposed to use quotation marks for each new paragraph and at the end of the entire dialogue.

Example: He smiled and said, "You know, there is so much more to life than you think. Love isn't the only thing you should go for.

"But yeah, it's not healthy to dwell on the past. Nothing good ever comes out of it, trust me. You should do something fun! Speaking of fun, do you want to come hang out at the bar?"

There is more to dialogue essays than the rules above, however. You need to know how to put dialogue in a paper, be it MLA or APA style. Both of them are similar but have small differences that set them apart.

For APA style, things can be a bit tricky for dialouge essay. If there is only one person speaking, and that person spoke a little, you put the dialogue tag and the quote in the same paragraph. Remember to separate the quote from the tag with a comma.

If a dialogue is over forty words, put the quotation mark at the beginning of the paragraph and another one at the end of the final paragraph. Take these dialogue essays examples:

During his passionate speech, he said,

"We should put aside our differences and work toward a common goal. Unity has helped mankind survive since the dawn of time, and that concept remains true to this day.

"In order for us to solve the world problems, we must first learn to accept each other's differences. Let there be no more discrimination against anything. Let us strive for the advancement of mankind as a whole!"

However, if there is more than one person speaking, then you put what a new speaker said in another paragraph. For example:

The lecturer asked, "Have you done your homework?"

"Yes, I have." She replied.

The MLA style is pretty straightforward compared to APA style. In writing dialogue in essays, you write what that person said in another paragraph. Plus, put commas to separate dialogue tags. If that person said more than one paragraph, then put a quotation mark at the beginning of each paragraph and another at the end of the final paragraph. For instance:

In his presentation, he said,

"For many people, war is simply destruction. It destroys the home, it separates family, it scars you for life, and it brings about poverty. Looking at the surface of war, that is very true. It should go without saying that no one wants war. However, there is more to it than that.

"To the powerful people, ironically, war is a means to bring about peace. It is a way to do business."

Sure, it is true that it can be hard to wrap your mind around the punctuation rules for the dialog essay. More so with how to format dialogue in an essay and how to put dialogue in a paper in a specific style. It is worth the effort in boosting the quality of your writing, especially in a narrative essay. Narration without anyone saying anything seems very dull and will bore the readers even before they are one page in. You don't want your passionate essay to turn into another sleeping pill for your readers, do you? Moreover, it helps to get your ideas across to the readers more effectively.

That's pretty much everything on how to write dialogue in an essay, so you can now write dialog essay with confidence! Go out there and impress your readers with powerful writings!

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