Writing Resources – Quick Edits – Grammar and Punctuation

download92Quick Edits

This  post will help you edit and format your work as you write.

Grammar and Punctuation.

Direct Speech

a. We use speech marks (” “) at the beginning and end of the words that a person says, including the sentence punctuation. For example:

“Are you going home?” – The question mark is included in the speech marks.

b. When a different person speaks, we begin a new paragraph.

For Example:

“I want to eat spaghetti tonight.  What about you?” she asked.

“Me too,” he said.

c. When the spoken words are split (as example below), as in, the spoken words are one sentence, but written in a spit form,

e.g. “Come back at once,” he screamed, “or I’ll have you executed!”

In this case, we put a comma before the first closing speech mark and after such words as said, shouted, asked, e.t.c.

If the spoken words are two sentences ( as example below), we put a full stop, exclamation mark or question mark before the first closing speech mark and a full stop after said, shouted, asked, e.t.c. 

For Example:

“Come back!” she shouted.  “Come back at once!

So if  you’ve written a story, your completed work should look something like this:

It had been a rainy day, she’d stood at the KenCom bus stop waiting for a citi-bus at around five-thirty in the evening.  She’d been holding her umbrella tight hoping to catch an empty bus.  Timothy had walked up to her and asked to share her umbrella.  Too startled by the tall handsome stranger, she’d agreed.  She’d bitten back a smile when he’d had to duck to fit under her umbrella.  When he’d kept bending, she’d felt pity on him and handed him the umbrella.  The fates must have been on her side because he could have been one of those that just run off with the umbrella.

“Where are you headed?” he’d asked making sure the umbrella covered her.

“Forty-six, my stop is in Kilimani” she’d said shyly.

“Great, we’re on the same bus.  I’m Timothy,” he’d said offering her his free hand in greeting.  “Timothy Limpo.”

“Janet Kerira,” she answered.

“Nice to meet you, Janet,” he’d said giving her a bright smile.

They’d sat on the same seat on the way home.  They’d talked about the weather, moved on to business and what each of them did for a living.

The spaces between the dialogue allow the reader to understand who is saying what.

Further Reading: (Make sure to Further Read, because Grammar and Punctuation is a pet peeve for any Editor.  They want you to know the rules, and know them well.  It definitely makes editing your story easier so make a little effort.)

Six Easy Tips for Self-Editing Your Fiction

How to use Quotation Marks

Brief Overview of Punctuation

The Punctuation Guide

Chicago Manual of Style FAQs –This source will answer any questions you might have.



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