TEST YOURSELF ON DIALOGUE PUNCTUATION


 In the following exercises, I don’t want you to look for different possibilities or unusual styles.  It is purely repetition of the same pattern so that it becomes second nature to you.


All the first batch will contain  two sentences spoken by the same person (Bill), with the tag in the middle.  Here is the model.  Bill said     will be the tag for each set.


1. Components: “I hope Mandy is coming.”   “She is always fun.”
ANSWER:  “I HOPE Mandy is coming,” Bill said.  “She is always fun.”

2.  “Life is full of surprises.”     “Sometimes I wish it wasn’t.”


ANSWER: …………..............

3. “Hold out for more money.”    “They’ll give in eventually.”


ANSWER: ……..................

From here down, I’m going to give the two sentences that are to be connected by the ‘Bill said’ tag, but I will leave out ALL punctuation. You have to do the lot.   Follow EXACTLY the same pattern, however.


4.  She broke my heart              I will never forgive her


ANSWER ..........................

5.   The banks open at ten        I’ll get you the money then, don’t worry


ANSWER: .........................

6.  Rats know when to leave a sinking ship               It’s time you got out

ANSWER: .........................

Here’s a variation.  You know to always replace that first full stop with a comma.  However, if the end punctuation of the first sentence is a question mark or exclamation mark, they remain unchanged.


Eg:  What sort of dog is that                     It has very large teeth


ANSWER:  “What sort of dog is that?” Bill said.  “It has very large teeth.”


Holy cow, look at that unicorn      That horn is solid gold


ANSWER: “Holy cow, look at that unicorn!” said Bill. “That horn is solid gold.”


YOUR TURN
1.  Do you have any matches      We need them to light the fire


ANSWER: ...........................


2.  Could you open the door wider        I don’t think this crate will fit


ANSWER: .............................


3.  That’s flippin’ incredible                  How did he do that

ANSWER: ..............................
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The next batch will be ONE sentence that gets broken in two.  I will identify the word that will commence the second half after the dialogue tag is inserted with bold.  The tag will always be:  Bill said.


Examples.
a) I hope that Amelia gets home before we have to leave
ANSWER: “I hope,” Bill said, “that Amelia gets home before we have to leave.”


b) Is there any possibility that you missed her as you walked through the park


ANSWER:  “Is there any possibility,” Bill said, “that you missed her as you walked through the park?” [note that it was a question.]


YOUR TURN
1. As I walked through the park I  did notice a man in a raincoat


ANSWER: .............................


2. No matter which way you twist it,  what you did was inexcusable

ANSWER: ..............................

3.  Her father is an OK sort of guy, but  her mother is a real dragon


ANSWER: ...............................


4.  How do you expect  two men to look after a three week old baby


ANSWER: ................................


I hope you have found these exercises useful. If you would like me to test your basic novel writing skills free of charge - in preparation for writing a book - please download the writing tasks HERE.  I will assess what you do well and what you need help with.