Punctuating dialogue can be tricky, so let’s start with a few basics.
- Punctuation marks like a comma, full stop or exclamation mark should come before you close the inverted commas.
“I’ll never forget you,” Jason said.
- If a dialogue tag follows the utterance, then the punctuation mark cannot be a full stop, but it can be a comma, exclamation mark or a question mark.
“I’ll miss you,” he said.
- If there is no dialogue tag after the utterance, then we use a full stop.
Jason caressed the dragon’s snout. “I’ll miss you.”
- When using a dialogue tag, use lower case after the utterance, unless you’re using a proper noun (a name).
“It’s time,” the dragon said.
“It’s time,” it said.
“It’s time,” Urkan said.
That’s it for today. One final note: Americans prefer to use double inverted commas and the British prefer using single.