Speech Summary

GCSE English

When we want to indicate in writing that someone is talking we enclose what they say in speech marks: "This is all I have to say!"

We normally include the name of the person speaking with the speech:
"I wish you hadn't said that," moaned Daniel.
Simon replied, "Not half as much as I do!"

Punctuation must be enclosed within the speech marks, not outside:

Right: "This parrot is dead," said the customer.
Wrong: "This parrot is dead", said the customer.

When writing conversations, a new paragraph is begun each time a different person speaks:

"Is your beard made of cream like ours?" said the cow.
"No, cotton wool," said Santa.

Instead of using said to denote speech, use a variety of alternative words (as long as they are appropriate) such as:

cried, explained, shouted, whispered, announced

Break larger amounts of speech up into smaller chunks by pausing to desribe what is happening, before continuing:

"I just can't get this lightbulb out of its fitting!" screamed Alastair, reaching for a hammer, "I wish we'd bought energy efficient ones."

Whatever you do with speech, keep it flowing so you don't lose the reader's interest. You've read this far, haven't you?

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