The ProWritingAid Team
ProWritingAid: A grammar guru, style editor, and writing mentor in one package.
Published Apr 25, 2016

How to Use The Dialogue Tags Check

Dialogue tags are the words that refer dialogue to a specific character. The two most common examples are “said” and “asked”.

  • “I’m not going!” said Charlie.

They are essential in writing, particularly in scenes that include several characters, because they help the reader follow the conversation. Novice writers, however, have an annoying tendency to use more flowery dialogue tags and pepper them with adverbs.

  • “I’m not going!” said Charlie angrily.
  • “I’m not going!” shouted Charlie.
  • “I’m not going!” roared Charlie furiously.

More than anything, tags like these tend to distract the reader. Ideally, your dialogue tags should be invisible within your writing, just signposts that point out who is speaking. The character’s actions or the dialogue itself should be carrying the emotion. Don’t depend on an adverb to make your reader feel something.

Where possible, try to omit dialogue tags altogether. Instead, use description and action to point out your speaker and build your scene.

  • Charlie slammed his fist on the table. “I’m not going and that’s final.”

In this example, Charlie’s anger was shown, not told. The reader knows that he is the one speaking – even without a tag – and his fist shows that he is angry instead of an adverb. It gives much stronger sense of the scene. ProWritingAid Improve your writing

What are dialogue tags?

Use the ProWritingAid Dialogue Tags Check so that you can find a better way to demonstrate emotion. Note: this report is currently only available in the online editor. We will add it to the desktop app asap.

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The ProWritingAid Team
ProWritingAid: A grammar guru, style editor, and writing mentor in one package.

The most successful people in the world have coaches. Whatever your level of writing, ProWritingAid will help you achieve new heights. Exceptional writing depends on much more than just correct grammar. You need an editing tool that also highlights style issues and compares your writing to the best writers in your genre. ProWritingAid helps you find the best way to express your ideas.

I love these tips. Trialling this aid is fantastic. Great tools. Constructive editing from a computer. Wow! Thanks for making this available to try before we buy. Charles Anchor

By c.anchor11 on 13 February 2017, 08:08 AM

Concurring with Charles, it´s clear that vast improvement is required in my dialogeu scenes.

By paul.dolan on 03 March 2018, 05:33 PM

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By julieparkerbonjour on 19 May 2018, 08:23 PM

I've been using this program for nearly half a year...first only in a cursory way, then later I discovered just how much one can drill down and check everything. Amazing for a computer program! It's so good I got the 3-year version!

By tarra.thomas on 31 May 2018, 02:42 AM

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By baboo239 on 05 January 2019, 04:56 PM