Narrative Basics Lesson 4: Speech and Dialogue

Ways of writing speech and dialogue

Reported speech

Dialogue gives you the detail of a conversation, but sometimes the details aren’t that important—you just want to summarise what was said and move on.

For that we use reported speech.

Brook always said I was born with natural track-and-field talent because of my mom.

Mango DelightFracaswell HymanSource

In this snippet, Mango is summarising what her friend Brook said earlier. She’s not spelling it out word for word.

Notice there are no speech marks or tags in reported speech.

Grandma said I was too smart for my own good, and one day it would catch up with me.

Today was not that day.

Tommy explained, in remarkable detail, the social standings of all the people coming to the party.

Your turn

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