4 Tips on Crafting Effective Dialogues in a Composition

Using dialogue or speech in your composition is definitely a good way to make your writing come to life! It gives the characters their voices and brings out their personalities. Previously, we have seen how we can use dialogue to start a composition. However, most students struggle to use accurate and effective dialogues in their compositions. I would like to share with you 4 tips to help you write accurate and effective dialogues! Let’s go!

4 Tips on Crafting Effective Dialogues in a Composition

1. Correct punctuation

The most common pitfall in writing dialogues is to use incorrect punctuations. This becomes a problem when the punctuation errors are repeated throughout the story for every single dialogue written, and language marks will be penalised.

First and foremost, take note that there are two basic dialogue structures.

For both types, the spoken words should be written with open and close inverted commas.

On top of that, the first letter must be capitalised in the spoken dialogue.

The first type are those that begin with the spoken dialogue.

 

Correct punctuation. CW & Compo

1) Take note that we always have a punctuation before we finish the spoken dialogue with (”).

However, when a spoken dialogue starts a sentence, take note that we do not use a full stop(.) before we end the spoken dialogue as the sentence does not end there. The only punctuations we can use will be comma, question mark and an exclamation mark.

2) On top of that, be sure to use a lower case for the dialogue tag after the spoken dialogue.

The second type are those that end with the spoken dialogue.

The second type are those that end with the spoken dialogue.  CW & Compo

1) Take note that we always have a comma (,) before we open the spoken dialogue with (“).

2) However, because the sentence ends with the spoken dialogue, we can use a full stop(.) to end the sentence before we close with (”).

Other punctuations that we can use will be the question mark and exclamation mark.

2. Keep it short but impactful.

Students have the tendency to write long dialogues that becomes draggy.

Let’s consider a scene where there is a burglary and the main character called the police.

Keep it short but impactful. CW & Compo

This is one long dialogue! It is understandable that students have the tendency to include details into the story, but some details are unnecessary as it does not help to develop the plot further.

1) For example, there is no need to write in the exact address as it does not help to develop the plot. Whether or not the address is mentioned, the burglary is still ongoing. Development of the plot in this case would be what happened after calling the police and were the burglars apprehended in the end.

Moreover, there are certain details in the dialogues that can be omitted and instead, woven into the story. For example, instead of writing what the burglars were wearing in the dialogue, the descriptions of the robbers can easily be woven into the build-up scene when the main character first saw the robbers:

CW & Compo

A better example of the dialogue above would be:

CW & Compo

3. Avoid writing a script – use indirect speech or thoughts

Let’s take a look at this particular scene:

Avoid writing a script - use indirect speech or thoughts. CW & Compo

Avoid writing dialogue after dialogue! Writing a composition is very different from writing a script. A composition should be descriptive and there should be a series of actions/events happening than just two characters talking to each other.

The tip here is to change some of these dialogues into indirect speech or thoughts:

CW & Compo

On top of that, we can also change some dialogues into actions!

CW & Compo

4. Look out for your speech tag and actions!

Students need to ensure that their dialogues end with a speech or dialogue tag. A speech tag is simply to tell the readers who spoke and how was the dialogue spoken. 

Look out for your speech tag and actions! CW & Compo

There is an entire list of words to replace the word “said”. Some of these words include – muttered; mumbled; spoke; greeted; explained; whispered; retorted; mocked.

On top of those, there are also words to replace the word “shouted” (exclaimed; bellowed; hollered) and “asked” (questioned; requested; queried).

Vary the choice of words you use!

Furthermore, we can attach actions to dialogues to create a visual image of the scene for the readers.

CW & Compo

When we attach a speech tag and an action to the dialogue, the readers can visualise the character speak in their heads!

Check out this link to learn more about writing exciting dialogue tags!

https://www.lilbutmightyenglish.com/blog/insert-exciting-dialogue-tags-to-your-primary-school-composition

These are the tips I have for you today. I hope that by following these pointers, you will find the use of dialogues in your composition to be more meaningful and effective.

To learn more about how to write a good line of dialogue to start a composition and captivate the reader, visit this link: https://www.lilbutmightyenglish.com/blog/composition-writing-3-ways-to-write-a-good-line-of-dialogue

Thank you for reading and happy writing!

Leaving comments? Write them below in dialogue form to apply what you have learnt! (:


 

Ms. Sze Li

Ms Tan Sze Li is an English Teacher at Lil’ but Mighty. As a teacher, she strongly believes that learning is a journey for everyone – student and teacher alike. After every lesson, the students leave with new knowledge. Her hope is to inspire students to become inquisitive learners who will spark a change in the world with their thirst for knowledge.

Have something to share? Drop us a comment below!

Leave a Reply

Share
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest

Other related posts

3 Quick but Effective Tips on Editing
Introducing: Mighty Monsterella!
Study Smart! | 3 Revision Tips for Primary School Students!
Announcing the Winner of our ‘Queen of Your Heart’ Mother’s Day Contest!
Situational Writing: Check for Accuracy in These 3 Things!
Comprehension | 6 Steps to Tackle “Support With Evidence” 2-Part Questions
Last Comprehension Question (3 Types) in your Primary School Examination Paper
3 Ways to Express Appreciation Using English (Father’s Day Special)
3 Good Study Habits for Primary School Students
Announcing the Winner of our ‘A Poem for Dad’ Father’s Day contest!
3 Writing Skills to Learn from Reading a Book!
“What if…?” 4 What-Ifs That Make Students Panic During a Stimulus-Based Conversation
3 Things to Look Out for When Faced with a Composition Topic!
Primary School Vocabulary: Confuse, Confused, Confusing? Which is Which?
3 Tips On How To Prepare For Primary School Oral | Stimulus-Based Conversation
3 Tips to Secure More Marks in Visual Text Comprehension (VTC)!
A Lil’ Passion Drives Learning!
A Lil’ Grit Goes A Long Way
Tackling 3 Important Question Types in Comprehension: True/False, Referencing and Sequencing
Visual Text Comprehension | 4 Types of Non-Linguistic Features You Need to Know
4 Examination Components That Test You on Irregular Verbs
Grammar | “I” vs “Me” (Subjective VS Objective Pronoun)
Vocabulary | 5 Common Homophone Mistakes
Composition Writing | 3 Ways to Write A Good Line of Dialogue
3 Ways to Build A Confident Child With Your Choice of Words!
Look Back in a Flash! 3 Ways to Craft Effective Flashbacks
Building Grammar Foundations: Start Young, Start Now
“E” is for Empathy | What Every Primary School Child Needs!
PSLE Oral SBC | 3 Things to Avoid When it Comes to Answering the 1st Question
PSLE Grammar | It’s Time! Stop Neglecting the Apostrophe – 2 Functions!
Primary School English | 3 Ways to Learn and Improve Your English at Home (or Just Anywhere!)
3 Netflix Animated Series to Watch
2 Ways to learning the English Language through Songs!
3 Board Games to Help You Brush Up Your English | Learning While You Are Having Fun!
Lil’ but Mighty School Workshops!
Usher in the new decade with Lil’ but Mighty!
Lower Primary | 2 Types of Comprehension Questions
PSLE Synthesis | STEP BY STEP ON HOW TO ACE THEM! (2019 Review)
Lil’ but Mighty Open House (2019)
Creative Writing & Compo | How to Punctuate Direct Speech
Composition Unpacking: See, Think, Wonder!
Wuhan Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Vocabulary Infographic + Resources to discuss related topics!
Beauty World Centre Branch is moving to Bukit Timah Shopping Centre (right next door)!
PSLE Grammar | 3 Tricky Subjects that are Commonly Tested
Top 3 Inaccurate Sentence Structures that You Hear in a Classroom
“Our Lil’ Red Dot!” (54th National Day Contest)
PSLE Stimulus-Based Conversation | Stop Doing These Three Things In Your Ending (Conclusion)
PSLE English | Focus Tips During Revision
Previous
Next

Like what you are reading?

Subscribe now to receive news and tips hot off the press!