What should I write before the colon in dialogue? Subject or object?

I: Do you love me? He: Yes, I do.


Me: Do you love me? Him: Yes, I do.

  • What is this for? A screenplay? Something else?
    – Kitkat
    Oct 12, 2020 at 14:54
  • Students' roleplay.. for practising dialogue/conversation in EFL class.
    – Teara
    Oct 12, 2020 at 15:10

1 Answer 1


This is not really a standard means of marking dialog, so you have some freedom here. The closest analogs I can think of are occasionally in fiction, where the author depicts a scene using play-style dialog tags and stage directions (e.g., The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald).

So, that gives you some freedom here. The eighteenth century grammarians would, citing how dialog is marked in Latin drama, insist on I/He, but to my ear, with this dialog, Me/Him sounds more natural. A lot, however depends on the overall narrative voice and whether the narration is overall in a strict Johnsonian English.

  • What about if I extend the sentences like these... 1). I asked whether he loved me, 2). He said yes he did. Are they correct? If so.. Does it mean that I can use "I" and "He" in the dialogue?
    – Teara
    Oct 12, 2020 at 15:06
  • 1
    @Teara - Extending them like that would make them no longer dialogue. You are just explaining an action. When written that way, it's no different then saying 3) I threw the ball over the fence, which obviously isn't dialogue. Dialogue usually refers to the exact words spoken. You didn't actually say, "Whether he loved me," so it isn't dialogue. Oct 12, 2020 at 22:30

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