• Direct speech is the exact words that someone speaks. The words are written inside quotation marks. Example:

I’ve got a new cell phone, Khanyisa bragged.

  • Punctuation marks such as a question mark or an exclamation mark give meaning and show the reader how the speaker is speaking or feeling. Example:

That’s cool! Where did you get it?” asked Kagiso.

  • Punctuation marks separate the direct speech from the part of the sentence that names the speaker. If the speaker is introduced first, a comma is placed outside the quotation marks. The first word inside the quotation marks begins with a capital letter. Example:

Mpho suggested, “Let’s go to movies tonight.

  • If the name of the speaker follows the words or comes in the middle of the direct speech, the comma (or exclamation mark or question mark, but never a full stop) is inside the quotation marks. Examples:

My mom told me I have to stay in,” Luthando replied. I have to look after my baby sister.

That’s disappointing!” Mpho grumbled.

  • Instead of repeating the word “said”, use more descriptive words to show how the speaker spoke, such as: asked, replied, responded, whispered, shouted, suggested. These words are often (but not always) in the past tense.
  • When a character starts speaking, start a new line.