SHARON’S BLOG

punctuation in dialogWelcome to the third in a series of grammar tutorials! You can find the first one on commas in compound sentences here. The second one teaches the position of commas, periods, colons, and semicolons when used with quotation marks. What could be more exciting?!

Now . . . on to today’s tutorial.

Do you have students who love to hide in their bedrooms and write story after story?

Most likely, they are hoping to be published one day, their stories read and loved by millions, their names on the covers of sought-after books.

One thing editors look for in a new writer is proficiency in grammar and punctuation. Granted, it’s not a huge thing; it’s more important to know how to write a great story. But grammar is an indicator of how well the writer knows the language and its conventions, and it is something that editors take into account when determining whom to publish.

Let’s make sure our students have access to the skills they need to get published.

A tiff between Tarzan and Jane in this fun tutorial will guide your students through the punctuation-in-dialog jungle. The infographic shows the rules, and the exercise that follows it will reinforce the material. Answers follow the exercise. For another tutorial on using punctuation with end quotation marks (whether in dialog or not) click here. (Yes, dialog can also be spelled dialogue.)

Here’s Tarzan, Jane, and the infographic. Click here for a PDF version of the graphic.

Follow Tarzan and Jane as their spat teaches your students how to punctuate dialog correctly. Complete with goofy infographic and dialog.

 

 

Exercise for Dialog Punctuation

Here’s the exercise for your students, complete with real dialog from the original Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Feel free to copy and paste them into a document and then print it out so your students can fill in the correct punctuation and quotation marks with ease. Or click here for a PDF of the exercise. >>

Directions: These sentences are missing some punctuation and quotation marks. Fill them in correctly according to what you just learned.

1. “Close and bolt the door, Alice     cried Clayton. “I can finish this fellow with my axe

2. “Back, Alice      shouted Clayton    “for God’s sake, go back

3. “Come back to me      she whispered. “I shall wait for youalways

4. “Mercy, Mr. Philander      interrupted the girl.   I never can remember so many questions

5. Jane asked     Where is the forest man who went to rescue you? Why did he not return?

6. “What are you Tarzan?    he asked aloud     An ape or a man?

7. “Then you knew your mother, Tarzan   asked D’Arnot.

8. “Yes. She was a great, fine ape, larger than I     replied Tarzan     and weighing twice as much

9. “Oh, I beg your pardon!     she exclaimed, pausing on the threshold.    I thought you were alone, papa

10. “What shall I call you    she asked     What is your name

11. “I was Tarzan of the Apes when you first knew me     he said.

12. “Tarzan of the Apes!   she cried     And that was your note I answered when I left?

13. “This is not an African jungle      she said     You are no longer a savage beast. You are a gentleman, and gentlemen do not kill in cold blood

14. “I am still a wild beast at heart     he said, in a low voice, as though to himself.

15. “Jane Porter    said the man, at length    if you were free, would you marry me

 

Teacher, here are the answers to the exercise:

1. “Close and bolt the door, Alice,” cried Clayton. “I can finish this fellow with my axe.”  OR “Close and bolt the door, Alice! cried Clayton. “I can finish this fellow with my axe!”

2. “Back, Alice,” shouted Clayton“for God’s sake, go back!”

3. “Come back to me,” she whispered. “I shall wait for you—always.”

4. “Mercy, Mr. Philander,” interrupted the girl. I never can remember so many questions.”

5. Jane asked, “Where is the forest man who went to rescue you? Why did he not return?

6. “What are you Tarzan?” he asked aloud. “An ape or a man?”

7. “Then you knew your mother, Tarzan?” asked D’Arnot.

8. “Yes. She was a great, fine ape, larger than I,” replied Tarzan, “and weighing twice as much.”

9. “Oh, I beg your pardon!” she exclaimed, pausing on the threshold. “I thought you were alone, papa.”

10. “What shall I call you?” she asked. “What is your name?”

11. “I was Tarzan of the Apes when you first knew me,” he said.

12. “Tarzan of the Apes!” she cried. “And that was your note I answered when I left?”

13. “This is not an African jungle,” she said. “You are no longer a savage beast. You are a gentleman, and gentlemen do not kill in cold blood.”

14. “I am still a wild beast at heart,” he said, in a low voice, as though to himself.

15. “Jane Porter,” said the man, at length, “if you were free, would you marry me?”

To get the tutorial on using commas, periods, colons, and semicolons with end quotation marks, complete with an exercise for students and answers, click here.

Your student can learn all about using commas with compound sentences and coordinating conjunctions here. A student exercise and the answers are included as well!

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Would you like more grammar tutorials? Check these out:

How to use commas in compound sentences with coordinating conjunctions
How to punctuate dialog with Tarzan
How to use quotation marks and punctuation
How to use question marks and exclamation points with quotation marks
How to use gender-neutral writing
“Everyone” is singular
Indefinite pronouns and verbs The link to the tutorial is in the introduction.
Sorting out confusing words like “its” and “it’s”
23 fun grammar lessons in the eBook Let’s Eat Fifi

 

Yours for a more vibrant writing class,

Sharon Watson

 

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Copyright © 2014 by Sharon Watson
Infographic copyright © 2014 by Sharon Watson

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