Two Tips for Punctuating Interrupted Dialogue

Grammar and punctuation rules change along with new technology and new methods of publishing and reading. Also, the way we read and process what we read is constantly in a state of morph. This is so helpful. Have to share with other writers. Will get back to my own writing next week. Promise.

Keli Gwyn's Blog

In this segment of Copyediting with Keli I’m discussing how to punctuate two different cases of interrupted dialogue using the em dash.

The em dash is the long dash that used to be shown, back in pre-computer days, by typing two hyphens.

Those who use Word can make use of the program’s “auto correct” feature to replace an old-fashioned two-hyphen em dash with an actual em dash (—).

First let’s consider one character being interrupted by another. Here’s an example.

“You don’t get what I’m saying, Tiff, but if you’d just let me expl—”

“I get it all right. You never want to do what I want.”

To show the angry wife cutting off her husband, I used an em dash. When one comes at the end of a sentence like this, it’s followed by the close quotation mark. No period or other punctuation is used.

The second example involves…

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