Back to Basics: A Compilation of Tips, Part 2

If you missed it on Twitter the other night, Kas90 put on her teacher glasses and got to work, teaching the class some of her pet-peeves in writing, which led to getting down to the nitty-gritty basics of grammar and punctuation. She covered things ranging from misused words, dialogue / action tags, semicolons, and commas. If you missed it, or you just need a refresher, you’re in luck! Here is a post covering the topics she discussed the other night!

Dialogue Tags vs. Action Tags:

A dialogue tag describes how someone is speaking. Ex: said, saying, yelled, whispers, slurred, shouted, whined, fought, countered, complained, started, continued, asked, pondered, etc.

An action tag is the action that the speaker does between speaking. Ex: smiled, laughed, yawned, waved, moved, walked away, came forward, winked.

When a dialogue tag is used, there is always a COMMA before the quotes, and the tag is LOWERCASED. Ex: “I love you, Edward,” she said. “I’m tired,” my dad complained. Even if it is a question, the tag should still be lowercased. Ex: “What time is it?” she asked.

For an action tag, there is always a PERIOD before the quotes, and the tag is CAPITALIZED.

Ex: “I want to kiss you.” He took a step forward. “Do you feel this?” His hand swept across my cheek. “Will you marry me?” He smiled widely.

If the tag contains an action tag and a dialogue tag, use the rules for dialogue tags.

Ex:  “I want to marry you,” he said as he stepped forward. “May I kiss you?” he asked, stroking my lips with his thumb.

If the tag comes before the quotes, the rules are the same. Actions have periods and dialogue tags have commas.

Ex: He yelled, “I want to be with you!” ß dialogue. He stepped forward. “What are you doing?” ß action.
*Notice that even if the tag is before the quotes, the first letter of the spoken word is always capitalized. Ex: He said, “My name is Edward.”

Something a little bit more advanced: a tag in the middle of a spoken sentence. If a dialogue tag or an action tag sits in the middle of a sentence, then it should be lowercase and surrounded by commas.

Ex: “Bella,” he started, “where are you going?” “Will you,” he got down on one knee, “marry me, Bella?”

There is one more part of helpful tips left! They will be posted later this week, along with some exciting news from EBS–make sure you follow @emergencybeta so you don’t miss the announcement!
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