Direct speech is when you report what the other person said in their own words. You put the dialogue in inverted commas to separate the speech (what is being said) and the rest of the writing.

“This is how you punctuate direct speech,” said the teacher.

– a comma before you close the inverted commas
– that ‘said’ does not need a capital letter

The writer said, “It’s so difficult punctuating direct speech.”

– a comma before opening the inverted commas
– the capital letter as the speaker starts talking
– the full stop is before the inverted commas.

When having a dialogue between two people the inverted commas must be put before and after each person’s speech, and NOT at the end of the sentence.

Each time the speaker changes, start a new paragraph by leaving a line.

“Are you paying attention, Thabo?” asked the teacher. “Thabo, I’m talking to you!” he shouted.

“Yes, Sir,” Thabo replied looking away. “I’m paying attention.”

-punctuation marks (question mark, exclamation mark, comma, full stop) are put inside the inverted commas at the end of the speech.
-if the direct speech is broken up by giving information (eg ‘asked the teacher’) these words must not be included in the inverted commas. So you use two sets of inverted commas.