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.