I have two ways of writing dialogue.

(1st way)

Issac said in an angry tone, "I don't care what you want! Just leave me alone!" However, I comforted him and said, "All I care for is you. I can't leave you here alone! Never!"

(2nd way)

Issac: I don't care what you want! Just leave me alone!

Me: All I care for is you. I can't leave you here alone! Never!

I usually prefer the second one as it's neater. However, my teacher prefers the first one because it's more grammatically correct. So, which way should I choose for my further writing and why?

  • 3
    Are you writing dialogue for literature or a script?
    – CLockeWork
    Nov 19, 2014 at 15:05
  • 3
    If you use the 1st way, there should be a new paragraph when the speaker changes (i.e. before "However"). Each paragraph has one subject, especially in dialogue.
    – user5645
    Nov 19, 2014 at 15:22
  • 3
    Yes, the two formats are for different kinds of work. The first one is for prose. The second is for performance. You really can't mix them. It's nothing to do with grammar. Nov 19, 2014 at 16:08

2 Answers 2


Do not use the second form in narrative prose; it reads like a script.

The first version is fine. You do not need to write "said" repeatedly. For example, in the second sentence of the first version you can write:

I comforted him, "All I care for is you. I can't leave you here alone! Never!"

The use of "however" in this sentence is weak and unnecessary. You can leave that out too.

As long as I am doling out advice... I would leave out the "angry tone" also. It is clear from the sentence itself the guy is angry. Avoid descriptive language. Let the action speak for itself. The best way to convey emotions, like anger, is not to use flowery adjectives or talk about how angry somebody is. Just SHOW how angry they are, and you have already done that with the wording of what he says.


Like "what" said, custom dictates separate paragraphs when speakers change while using the first form. It's also been pointed out that the two forms are context sensitive. Is it a script or a dialog in a story?

But I'd like to point out something interesting. In the second form, we know Isaac is angry, and we know you are trying to help. So telling the reader the emotions is redundant. You showed it.

This is the classic, "Don't tell 'em, show 'em," advice. If you really want to point it up, you could simply...

Isaac blurted, "...!"

Sighing, I confided, "..."

Generally, dialog is best when uncluttered by explanations. You proved this already by your own evidence!

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