Quick Reference Guide to Punctuating Dialogue in Fiction

speech bubbles punctuating dialogue
Original artwork by Dawn Hudson

Ciao, writer peeps!

For those of you who find yourselves either without a style guide, or too busy writing the next great American novel to get bogged down in the nit-picky details, I made you a handy-dandy, quick-reference chart for punctuating dialogue in fiction. Since most fiction is written in Chicago style (CMOS), that’s the style I used.

Of course, the chart doesn’t cover every possible case of punctuation in dialogue, but it covers the usual suspects. You can always ask me questions in the comment section if you come across a grammatical stumper. I’m here for you. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find it for you.

I made the chart as a two-page, downloadable PDF, so you can print it out on two sides of one paper, then slip it into a page protector to keep for easy reference. You have my permission to download, print, copy, and share for personal use. I’d appreciate it if you link back to this blog post if you’re sharing.

Get the PDF here > Punctuating Dialogue 2016

For those of you who just want to look at it online, I made the JPEG below, but that didn’t turn out so well. Womp, womp. I’m better with words than with pictures.

Whichever you use, I hope this will free up your time, so you can keep writing. Only you can write your story.


Punctuating Dialogue in Fiction p 1

Punctuating Dialogue in Fiction p 2





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