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Dialogue Tags: Yeah, Those Jerks

Oh, Dialogue Tags, Dialogue Tags, how we love to punctuate thee!

- Said NO ONE, EVER

Really, though, I know these things can be complicated. Commas and quotes and when to capitalize and it’s all so MESSY! But I’m gonna do my best to clear this up for y’all - ready? Let's go!

What is a Dialogue Tag – used in the same manner as a social medial photo tag, this attributes/assigns the speaker to the dialogue.

“I’m speaking for an example,” she said.

The “she” is the identifying pronoun of who spoke, and thus, the dialogue tag. Easy as that!

How to Punctuate!

Step 1: Cry.

No, don't cry! We can do this!

Point Blank: Dialogue tags get punctuated with the dialogue as part of a whole sentence together.

Meaning:

1. The dialogue isn’t punctuated to a close with a period

2. The dialogue tag is still ruled by normal mid-sentence capitalization rules, and

3. We need a finalizing punctuation mark at the end of the dialogue tag, unless we’re continuing the dialogue.

I promise that's not nearly as bad as it sounds.

Standard Tags

“I’m speaking for an example,” she said.

1. Notice the comma. The dialogue isn’t punctuated to a close with a period. It is continuing with a comma. The sentence isn’t done.

2. The dialogue tag of “she said” is lower case, because it is in the middle of a continuing sentence.

The tag is still ruled by normal mid-sentence capitalization rules. Had this been a proper noun like Jennifer or Joe, we would capitalize their names, but otherwise, we don’t capitalize random words in the middle of sentences, right? RIGHT?

3. We have a period at the end of the tag. The sentence has been ongo