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How to Write Dialogue in an Essay: Essential Rules

For any student who needs to write an essay, it is imperative to understand various writing regulations. A big part of this is knowing how to craft the text properly. Many students forget about this and make simple mistakes that cost them precious points when their assignments are assessed. You can include all the right information, study the best research papers, and have the strongest arguments but if you don't follow the necessary structural regulations, you won't get the score you deserve.

From writing citations the right way to including personal sayings to achieve the right kind of effect on the reader, students must learn how to stylize different aspects of an essay. When learning about formatting a college application essay, a thesis paper, or any other kind of text, knowing how to write dialogue in an essay is essential. Let's go over everything vital in this regard so you never have to struggle with formatting in the future.

An Introduction to Essay Dialogue

Writing dialogues in an essay is often used in order to express certain ideas or emotions in a more effective way. Using quoting symbols to include sayings in a text is also helpful in portraying conversations between two or more people. Whether we talk about direct or indirect quotes, these are great for achieving a greater effect in some cases.

One crucial distinction to make is between dialogue and direct quotes. The purpose of the two is different. Dialogues add a creative or emotional touch to your words while quotes are often used to support some claims or arguments. The former helps the reader view the text from the perspective of the speaker while the latter puts more weight on what is written.

Why Essay Dialogues are Important

Before we go on to talk about how to write a dialogue in an essay, it is vital to understand the need for this literary device. Even if you buy college essays online to save yourself the time and stress of crafting something on your own, learning the need for using dialogues will help you submit better papers. In most instances, formatting dialogue is needed in creative or narrative texts. That is because they help add more to the story. Readers of such texts feel more involved when they come across a dialogue spoken by an actual character.

In persuasive or argumentative essays, it is suggested to use quotations by experts. This helps students support certain information or claims, which is crucial for writing a compelling piece of text on essay topics that require strong citations and references. The more expert opinions you add to such an assignment, the more substantial your work will be.

Dialogue Variations

When utilizing dialogue writing in your text, whether crafting your research paper outline in MLA format or in another one, you should know what types of dialogues you can use. There are two main options. Each of these two has a very different effect on the reader, so knowing the differences between them is essential to use them effectively.

Active Dialogue

This is when you put exact sayings inside quotation symbols without changing the text in any way. This is a great way to give the readers a clearer and more direct view of a situation. Here are two examples of this:

Dan said, "I don't want to go to dinner tonight because I'm tired."

"It's okay. We can reschedule it for next weekend," replied Joanna.

Passive Dialogue

This is when you paraphrase someone's saying to provide a general idea of what they said. When writing passively, you can add more information or background to the paragraph and include more details for the readers. Here is how the above-mentioned exchange would look if written passively:

Dan said that he didn't want to go to dinner as he was tired. Even though Joanna was disappointed to hear this, she agreed and suggested rescheduling it for next weekend.

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Ways to Type Dialogue in an Essay

Following the right punctuation rules is key when it comes to learning how to format dialogue in an essay. There are simple, yet crucial, regulations to note when adding speech to any piece of text. The good news is that you can ask PapersOwl to help with your work and rest assured, the academic writing process will be handled carefully, with separate speech tags and everything else that's needed. Still, students must know everything about including dialogue correctly in papers. Here are the main steps to follow:

       1. Very comma, question mark, and exclamation mark remain within double quotation marks when writing dialogue. Here is an example:

"I've just had the best pizza ever!" said John excitedly".

       2. Commas are used to set off dialogue tags. These are also placed inside the quoting symbols, like so:

"I won't have any more of this," he said, "It has been too long since I've done anything of my own accord."

       3. A period is placed after the closing quotation marks if the quote is located at the end of a sentence. Here is how such text is written:

Tiffany looked sadly at her brother and said, "I can't believe we have ruined this cake so badly."

       4. Use single quoting marks when including a quote within a quote:

"The popular saying 'Less Is More' about modern architecture signifies this style very well," the teacher said.

       5. In a conversation that goes beyond one paragraph, you should use opening quotations when it starts. The ending sign, however, is used only when the conversation ends, even if it's after several paragraphs.

APA & MLA Formats for Dialogue

Students often forget that there are differences to keep in mind when creating papers in different formats. For example, writing an essay in APA format requires some specific things when including speech in the text as compared to an MLA essay.

APA Speech Writing Tips

For writing in APA, there are many small things to consider if you want to create an accurate piece of text. As far as including sayings in your work is concerned, here are some points that writers should keep in mind:

  1. If the subject says something short, starting the speech with a new paragraph is not necessary.
  2. For sayings in which the number of words exceeds 40, each paragraph needs to have opening quotation marks as well as ending ones.
  3. If more than two people are having a conversation, each person gets their own passage in the text. This is one of the most crucial tips to keep in mind when you make an APA-compatible piece of text.

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MLA Text Guide

There are many things you need to check when wondering how to format dialogue in MLA. To make things easier, you can just buy your MLA paper online and rest assured that you won't find any mistakes in any line of the text. Still, here are the points you should check before submitting the final task:

  1. Even if the saying is very small, it should begin in a new passage.
  2. A comma should be used to separate each dialogue tag.
  3. In longer sayings that span more than one passage, a quotation mark should be in place at the beginning of each passage.
  4. The ending symbol needs to be placed at the end of the full saying, however.

These are the main points of change between APA and MLA assignments. It's not a long list but each point is vital whether you're creating one page of text or publishing complete books.


When you write any piece of text, it is crucial to remember how to put dialogue in an essay to ensure better readability. Not only that but professors will analyze your work for these points to see if you're aware of these nuances. Everything from direct to indirect quotes has its own regulations that need to be included in your text. The realistic examples shown here are a good way to figure out how to craft each sentence of someone's saying. By using the right kind of punctuation and including each dialogue tag in the proper location, you can describe multiple or single quotes effectively. Just follow the info laid out here and you'll never have to worry about this issue any further.

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