How to Write Dialogue in an Essay – Useful Guide

how to write dialogue in an essay

Learning how to effectively write dialogue in an essay can be challenging when you do not have the right kind of guidance. Not unless an individual would wish to write a textbook, one must learn how to correctly develop a dialogue and use it correctly since there are numerous ways a person could go wrong. Even the book that has the best plot will be rendered useless if it does not have an effective dialogue. This is because, if the dialogue is not impressive, the majority of the readers will not be interested in reading the book. Most readers pay more attention to the dialogue.

A dialogue can be defined as a literal technique used by writers to describe a conversation involving two or more people. The use of dialogue is utilized in different areas such as books, plays, movies, and it could also be used in writing essays. People should be careful not to mistaken a dialogue with quotations. The primary objective of a dialogue is creating a more dramatic and visual effect. One of the common mistakes made by most writers is using dialogues in place of direct quotes; something which occurs because they are used at including quotes when making a speech.

At times, adding dialogue in your paper could be one of the most effective ways of scoring impressive grades in your studies or increasing your reader`s impression. The use of dialogue is a great way of demonstrating your character`s emotions and bringing out the kind of relationship that exists among the characters. Writing impressive dialogues requires a lot of time, patience, and practice. The challenge in writing dialogue in an essay is often because the skills required to complete such tasks is not the same as those required in writing a thesis or top-notch essays. The writer begins by writing a story instead of an essay. Nonetheless, you will also be required to expose your thesis statement in regards to a certain issue, not just to make the reader reflect and think of it, but also to be able to make a comparison of the counter-arguments. Individuals struggling to write dialogue in their essay can always seek assistance from Peachy Essay.

Difference between the Quotes and the Dialogues

Quotes are used for a variety of reasons. To begin with, they support evidence or arguments and they are also used in naming the original source by providing first-hand information. The primary objective of quotes is setting off and representing the exact words from another person.

Dialogue is one of the literary techniques in which the writer uses two or more characters to engage in a conversation. There is also an inner personal dialogue, also referred to as a monologue. Dialogues are mostly used in narrative essays, movies, and books during the unravelling of the plot.

Important Things to Consider when Writing Dialogue in an Essay

Things to Consider when Writing Dialogue in an Essay


The primary objective of including dialogue in an essay is expressing opinions. Therefore, let us say that you have identified your topic and you have gathered all the necessary information to support your thesis. In your introduction, you should present your dialogue`s main character; and provide a short description of their personal convictions or bibliography.

The use of quotes

Unlike in other types of writing such as research papers and essays, you should not include direct quotes in your paper. However, the writer can incorporate other people`s theories or ideas without directly quoting them.


When writing dialogue in an essay, you do not need to struggle so much to be creative. Instead, all you need to do is to improve your imaginative skills.

The number of characters

A typical dialogue will require two characters so as to demonstrate the two sides of a given situation. Some writers will prefer using Plato`s dialogue, while others may use the Socrates` method. Both of these techniques are complex and hence, it is recommended to use a simple method such as employing two characters.


There are two ways through which a writer can communicate their arguments. The first method is through the use of en bloc, where all the arguments are presented in one paragraph. In the second method, the writer exposes their arguments using different paragraphs. The second method is more advisable since the reader is able to follow the point of the argument by point.

Dialogue Writing Topics

Is it easy to generalize an entire group of people based on one identity such as race?

Why should you bring spirituality into business?

Two zookeepers talk about an elephant and its baby.

Child and Elderly Parent talk about ageing

Parent and young adult child talk about problems such as being into a relationship

Parent and elementary student talk about school

Parent and young child talk about shopping in the supermarket

A child calls the parents about joining a football team

A conversation between the doctor and a sick person

A neighbour calls another one complaining about the noise

A conversation between a seller and a buyer who was delivered wrong items

A sister and a brother discuss a family event

A father reminding her daughter to complete her assignments

A child requesting permission from the parent to attend a party

A difficult patient speaking to the hospital manager

How to Punctuate Dialogue in an Essay

Dialogue is an essential part of any kind of writing since it can relay information or facts, reveal characters, or drive action. A writer must have a lot of practice and skills for them to write compelling and realistic dialogue; and so does punctuate your paper using the correct format. There are a set of rules and individual should adhere to when making a dialogue. Apparently, some of these guidelines can be difficult to uphold.

Learning how to correctly punctuate a dialogue neither sounds like an interesting topic nor fun to study. However, it plays an essential role especially when it comes to ensuring the communication between all the involved characters makes sense to the audience. A well-punctuated paper will assist your audience in connecting effectively to the characters.

The good thing is that dialogue punctuation rules are mostly simple and straightforward. Therefore, once an individual learns the basics, the process becomes second to nature. You will be surprised by how fast you will be writing those spoken exchanges with your fictional characters. The following punctuation rules will assist you in coming up with top-notch papers;

Punctuation Dialogue Rules

Rule 1 – Use quote marks and commas

Use quotation marks to surround your dialogue and end it with comma. Identify the speaker by ending with a dialogue tag. For instance:

“This is my favourite dress,” said Pauline.

“I have kept your keys on top of the table,” Arnold insisted.

Rule 2 – Create a new paragraph for the new speakers

Every time you have a new speaker, you should create your paragraph on a new line. For instance:

“This is my favourite dress,” said Sheila.

“It looks terrible on you,” said Martin.

Rule 3 – Insight periods inside the quotation marks when you are not using dialogue tags

You should always use a comma inside the quotation marks when your sentences end with a dialogue tag. In situations where you are not using a dialogue tag, you may want to introduce a period inside your quotation marks. For instance:

Alvin walked across the bedroom to the dresser. “I swear I put your books here.”

Rule 4 – Avoid the use of multiple sentences. AVOID RUN-ON SENTENCES

Rule 5 – Avoid using a comma for action within the dialogue

Rule 6 – Learn how to punctuate your dialogue in reverse

How do you Write Dialogue in an Essay MLA?

Different kinds of writing will require different formatting styles. There are a couple of things an individual should pay more focus on when writing using the MLA format. For instance, when it comes to formatting indirect quotes, the MLA approach does not require any quotation marks:

Arnold explained that he was late because his puppy tried eating a chilly pepper.

The use of quotation marks and commas are used for separating speech tags:

“Your work here is completed, you may leave now.”

Tips for Writing Impressive Dialogue in an Essay

Writing top-notch essays is not easy; it requires a lot of hard work. As a writer, you are tasked with capturing the reflexive dynamic of human conversation, which is not easy. Unfortunately, most writers do not get it right from the start. Most writers fall into two categories; they love writing dialogue but they fill their writings with useless exchanges or they do not love writing dialogue and hence, they try to avoid the task as much as they can. However, there is also the third group of writers were very few writers manage to join. This is the group of writers who have a good understanding of the importance of dialogue in a story. These writers know how to use dialogue as a tool for enhancing their storytelling.

Dialogue is an essential tool that can assist the writer in developing the story`s characters. It can aid in establishing a backstory as well as revealing important plot details, which the reader may not be aware of yet. A dialogue can establish the mood, tighten, or ease the tension created among the characters. A well-written dialogue should fulfil the following criteria;

It must push the story forward in the sense that each the exchange or conversation should direct the audience closer to the climax of the story`s conclusion.

It should reveal the character`s relevant information, in the sense that dialogue should provide the audience with insights regarding the character`s emotions, feelings, and source of motivation.

It should assist the audience in having a better understanding of the kind of relationship that exists among the characters.

tips to write excellent dialogue in an essay

Keep it brief

Your dialogue should not be too long. If you realize that what you are writing is long, chances are high that you might not be writing a novel, but a play. Most of the well-written dialogues are brief. The writer does not have to dive into so many details so as to reveal a certain fact concerning the character`s emotions, motivations, and their perception of the world.

Avoid the small talk

You should avoid ruining your dialogue with small talks. Each dialogue should provide essential information that will add value to your writing. Some people will try to make their dialogue sound real by including small talks, which is wrong. The truth is that small talks could ruin the effectiveness of your scene. Therefore, rather than beginning with “Hey, how are you?” “I’m fine, how are you?” you should dive straight into the action: “I cannot believe that you still have the audacity to speak after what you did to my father.”

Give each character a unique way of speaking

Generally, every person has a unique way of speaking. The same thing should apply to your characters. You need to ensure that each of your characters has a unique way of delivering their thoughts and speaking. Whereas some people are more deliberate and forceful, others tend to be meandering and passive.

Create suspense

A dialogue should assist the writer in creating suspense among the characters. It is human nature for an individual to withhold their emotions or feelings. Most people have a lot of things that are unsaid and the same is true for the characters that are in novels. For the writer to create a realistic scenario, they must be cognizant of the fact that people have a lot of unsaid things.

Be consistent

Every time you write your dialogue in an essay, you should always remember to be consistent with your characters. It is not possible for an individual who speaks in a shy and self-deprecating manner to automatically begin speaking acerbically and boldly. Even without the character tag, the audience should be able to tell the person who is speaking.

Focus on showing and not telling

When creating a dialogue, it is very easy for the writer to tell the character`s emotions and feelings instead of showing them. Rather than saying that character X is angry, the right way would have been describing the character`s body using words such as deep breaths, narrow eyes, and tight lips.

Minimize the use of identity tags

Your audience will quickly get bored if they frequently come across words such as “she said” or “he said.” Using these words removes the audience from the immersive world and reminds them that they are just watching a film.

It is not always necessary to use greetings and goodbyes

Whereas the use of greetings and goodbyes may denote your politeness, they are not always necessary when it comes to writing dialogues.

Read it out aloud

This step is always involved in the editing phase, where the writer is required to read their manuscript aloud. Apparently, if you notice that your paper seems to lack a flow, chances are high that it will also be the same to your audience.

Common Dialogue Mistakes Writers Should Avoid

Too much talk

At times, silence could communicate a message more effectively as compared to using too many words. In most cases, the things which are left unsaid end up carrying more weight than those that were said. There are times when words may never be enough to communicate a character`s emotions. Therefore, when writing your dialogue in an essay, avoid using too much talk.

Unimportant conversations

As a writer, your conversations should create tension, friction, and communicate vital information. If your sentences are doing none of the three above mentioned purposes, you should consider leaving them out.

Incorrect dialogue punctuation

You need to be careful not to confuse the readers with wrong punctuations. Therefore, you should make correct use of quotation marks and thereafter, take enough time to make a decision about your dialogue format.

Forgotten dialogue tags

If there are chances that the audiences have difficulties in telling which character is speaking, you will need to introduce more dialogue tags in your writing. However, you should be careful not to overcrowd your page with too many unnecessary tags.

Concluding Remarks

From psychology reports, personal reflections, and narrative essays, writing dialogue in an essay could easily affect a student`s ability to delivering top-notch papers. Writing such kind of papers requires the writer to have a lot of skills and experience. A dialogue represents a special kind of literary device that permits the writers to portray conversations involving two or more characters. People should be careful not to mistaken a dialogue with quotations. The primary objective of a dialogue is creating a more dramatic and visual effect. It is understandable that not every person can have the right skills of writing impressive dialogue in an essay. As a result, individuals can always seek any form of writing assistance from this website. However, it is important to always remember that with adequate experience, you will be able to write top-notch papers.

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