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Dialogue Tags

By
Mignon Fogarty,
November 6, 2015

dialogue tags

The name comes first in dialogue tags.

Let’s say you’re writing a brilliant piece of dialogue for your novel: “The zombie was wearing a pink carnation.” Is it said Squiggly? or Squiggly said?

I always have to look that up. It’s a ubiquitous thing. You probably see dialogue or a quotation in a news story 100 times a day, but for my brain, it’s background noise. It doesn’t register.

Here's the answer: The name comes first in dialogue tags.

“The zombie was wearing a pink carnation,” Squiggly said. 

‘He Said’ or ‘Said He’?

It’s the same for pronouns. The pronoun comes first too.

“The zombie was wearing a pink carnation,” he said.

From now on, I’ll try to remember that who said it is the important part, so it comes first, and you can remember it that way too. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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