Dialog tags are used often in writing, particularly fiction writing. What is a dialog tag? Here are examples:

  • she said.
  • said George.
  • he replied.
  • George asked.

They either precede or follow dialog in quotation marks:

“Why did you order pizza, ” George asked.

Dialog tags can be complete sentences that show action while identifying the speaker. For example:

“Why did you order pizza?” George stared pointedly at the casserole in the oven. “It’s my night to cook.”

The following is not an example of a dialog tag and should never be used in writing (And I wish it was never used. Period!):

“She was like, ‘why am I here?’ and I’m like “you’re the bridesmaid. You have to help pick out the dress.’ And she’s like, ‘It’s your wedding. Pick what you want.’ and I’m like, ‘It’s your dress. I want your input.’ And she’s like, “Girl, it’s not as if I’ll ever wear it again. I have, like, a dozen bridesmaids’ dresses hanging in my closet now that I wore one time.'”

Yuck! I definitely don’t like reading this passage of dialog!

Next post will cover proper punctuation for dialog.