punctuation in dialogue
- i know this may seem a simple question but when writing dialogue, after
a question mark or an exclamation does the dialogue tags first letter
stay in lower case or does it go to capital letter?
eg.1: "What were you thinking?" he yelled at her.
as opposed to,
eg.2: "What were you thinking?" He yelled at her.
- On 6/23/06, saffy_ol <saffyol@...> wrote:
>It stays in lower case, just as it would if the dialogue ended in a comma.
> i know this may seem a simple question but when writing dialogue, after
> a question mark or an exclamation does the dialogue tags first letter
> stay in lower case or does it go to capital letter?
Think of it this way - a dialogue tag (the bit attached to the
dialogue) is still a dialogue tag whether the dialogue is a question
or an exclamation. And part of the reason is that the subject of a
dialogue tag is the dialogue itself.
In other words, the dialogue tag isn't a complete sentence on its own.
So, for example, you wouldn't write a sentence that consisted solely
of the words 'He said.'
So it's the first example that's correct, i.e.
> eg.1: "What were you thinking?" he yelled at her.Just because 'He yelled at her.' is a complete sentence in another
context, doesn't mean that it is in this context. He's not just
randomly yelling at her. He's yelling *those specific words*,
therefore they're part of the same sentence as the speech.
That's a good way of spotting dialogue tags. They're elements to
expand and explain what's going on with speech - who's talking, how
- if you can take them away and still have the sentence make sense; and
- they don't really form a sentence on their own (i.e. if you take the
then chances are that they're a dialogue tag and you need to use a
comma not a full stop and lower case.
This link gives some more information and probably a better explanation :)
love and Thorntons' chocolates
unconsciousmind - www.unconsciousmind.co.uk