Posted on 13 July 2018
So, we are agreed: speech tags are the bits outside of the dialogue which tell the reader who is speaking and the manner in which the dialogue is delivered.
The next decision is position: they can appear before or after the text, or in between.
Often, as in the examples above, the speech tag is unnecessary.
‘Hello, my name is Peter.’ is sufficient because the quote marks indicate someone is speaking, and what he says indicates he is a he.
So speech tags are not essential – you do not need one per pair of quote marks.
Review a piece of your own writing and look especially at the positioning of your speech tags.
- Can you lose any speech tags without introducing ambiguity?
- Might you reposition some speech tags to produce a more natural read?