Friday, October 9, 2009

Grammar Guru

Here's a sure-fire way to remember the ins-and-outs of those pesky little dialogue tags, beginning with an example:

"That was easy," she said.

Assuming you need the "she said," that is the dialogue tag. "She said," "he said," "he explained," "she exclaimed," are all dialogue tags. Most editors will tell you NOT to overuse them. If you must do so, however, it is crucial that you use them properly and, as a working editor, I see such universal misuse of these tags that it makes me wonder if they are still taught in English Composition. Let me illustrate:

"That was easy." She said.

NO-NO-NO! (Smile) This is incorrect because "She said" is the dialogue TAG. Remember, "tag" denotes that it is still attached. "She said" is a portion of the preceding dialogue and is still attached. It is not the beginning of a new sentence. It is not stand-alone. Therefore, end your dialogue with a comma (not a period) and begin "she" with a small "s," not a capital:

"That was easy," she said.
Try to remember when you write these: THEY ARE TAGS. THEY ARE STILL ATTACHED.

See if this method saves you a little grief!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this important grammar lesson! You are the best!