Using Dialogue Tags

60 Second Advice by Anne Brees

Dialogue tags are the short sentences you put before dialogue to identify who the speaker is. Many people will encourage you to use a variety of words for dialogue tags. (Think yelled, exclaimed, questioned, etc.) However, those types of dialogue tags can mess up flow of writing. 

In all honesty, most people don’t truly read the dialogue tags. They skim them to get the speaker and move on. It’s best just to use the words ‘say’ or ‘ask’, rather than use a variety of different words. Better yet, describe an action that the speaker does as a dialogue tag instead. 

Dialogue tags should be simple, identify the speaker and let the reader move on to what they really care about: the dialogue.

What’s your favorite dialogue tag you’ve written?

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