When you state the speaker's exact words or if you write a dialogue, you have to use direct speech. In writing, direct speech is shown by enclosing the spoken words in inverted commas: " ... ". Note: In British English, you normally use single inverted commas (' ... '); however, double inverted commas are acceptable (" ... "). Whatever you do, DON'T mix them - be consistent. Double inverted commas (" ... ") have been used in these quizzes. Here are some simple rules to help you:
- Rule 1 - Direct speech must be enclosed in inverted commas, e.g. He said, "It's hot in here."
- Rule 2 - Start a new paragraph whenever you change speakers in a dialogue.
- Rule 3 - Enclose a comma, full stop, question mark, or exclamation mark at the end of the direct speech INSIDE the closing inverted comma(s), e.g. "Do I know you?" he asked.
- Rule 4 - Place a comma BEFORE the first inverted comma(s) to introduce the direct speech if the direct speech comes after a named speaker, e.g. She said, "I like strawberries."
- Rule 5 - If the direct speech is split up by a named speaker: put a comma, question mark or exclamation mark to end the first part and a full stop or another comma before the inverted comma(s) of the second part, e.g. "You’re very knowledgeable," he said. "It's a pleasure to listen to you." "Now I come to think of it," he said, "I didn’t see him yesterday."
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