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Speech Marks: How to Use Them

In this worksheet, students revise how to punctuate direct speech, including the use of a comma before closing speech marks.

'Speech Marks: How to Use Them' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:  Grammar and Vocabulary

Curriculum subtopic:  Extend and Apply Grammatical Knowledge

Difficulty level:  

down

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

In writing, we use speech marks (also called inverted commas) to show the actual words that somebody speaks. This is called direct speech.

 

It is important to remember to use other punctuation as well as the speech marks.

for example:

"I live in Newcastle," said Tom.

In this sentence there is a comma after the word 'Newcastle' but before the closing speech marks.

 

If the order of the sentence is changed so that the direct speech is at the end, then the punctuation is different.

Tom said, "I live in Newcastle."

There is a comma after the word 'said' and a full stop after the word 'Newcastle' but before the closing speech marks.

 

If the speech ends in an exclamation mark or a question mark, then that comes before the closing speech marks and a comma is not needed.

"Go away!" shouted Pete.

"Are you listening?" asked Jonny.

 

The words 'shouted' and 'asked' do not need capital letters even though they come after an exclamation mark and a question mark.

 

If the word order is changed the sentences look like this:

Pete shouted, "Go away!"

Jonny asked, "Are you listening?"

 

The first word of the direct speech always begins with a capital letter even if it is not the start of the sentence.

 

It is common in books for a single speech mark to be used instead of two. This is done on your keyboard by using the apostrophe key.

Pete shouted, 'Go away!'

Read the following sentence and decide whether it is punctuated correctly or not.

 

"What time is it"? asked Jacob.

correct

incorrect

Read the following sentence and decide whether it is punctuated correctly or not.

 

'I hate school!' Screamed Nell.

correct

incorrect

Read the following sentence and decide whether it is punctuated correctly or not.

 

Sally said, 'I am looking forward to my holiday in Spain.'

correct

incorrect

Read the following sentence and decide whether it is punctuated correctly or not.

 

"Shut the window" ordered Mr Brown.

correct

incorrect

Read the following sentence and decide whether it is punctuated correctly or not.

 

The ticket collector said, "All tickets from Birmingham, please."

correct

incorrect

Rewrite the following sentence, adding all the necessary punctuation.

 

are we there yet asked Joey

Rewrite the following sentence, adding all the necessary punctuation.

 

Andrew said it's time to go home

Rewrite the following sentence, adding all the necessary punctuation.

 

Paul asked can I come to the dance with you

Rewrite the following sentence, adding all the necessary punctuation.

 

Mrs Matthews shouted be quiet and listen

Rewrite the following sentence, adding all the necessary punctuation.

 

How long have you lived here asked Christopher

  • Question 1

Read the following sentence and decide whether it is punctuated correctly or not.

 

"What time is it"? asked Jacob.

CORRECT ANSWER
incorrect
EDDIE SAYS
The question mark should come before the closing speech marks.
  • Question 2

Read the following sentence and decide whether it is punctuated correctly or not.

 

'I hate school!' Screamed Nell.

CORRECT ANSWER
incorrect
EDDIE SAYS
The word 'screamed' does not need a capital letter.
  • Question 3

Read the following sentence and decide whether it is punctuated correctly or not.

 

Sally said, 'I am looking forward to my holiday in Spain.'

CORRECT ANSWER
correct
  • Question 4

Read the following sentence and decide whether it is punctuated correctly or not.

 

"Shut the window" ordered Mr Brown.

CORRECT ANSWER
incorrect
EDDIE SAYS
There should be punctuation before the closing speech marks. Depending on how Mr Brown gave his order, either a comma or an exclamation mark should be used.
  • Question 5

Read the following sentence and decide whether it is punctuated correctly or not.

 

The ticket collector said, "All tickets from Birmingham, please."

CORRECT ANSWER
correct
  • Question 6

Rewrite the following sentence, adding all the necessary punctuation.

 

are we there yet asked Joey

CORRECT ANSWER
"Are we there yet?" asked Joey.
'Are we there yet?' asked Joey.
  • Question 7

Rewrite the following sentence, adding all the necessary punctuation.

 

Andrew said it's time to go home

CORRECT ANSWER
Andrew said, "It's time to go home."
Andrew said, 'It's time to go home.'
  • Question 8

Rewrite the following sentence, adding all the necessary punctuation.

 

Paul asked can I come to the dance with you

CORRECT ANSWER
Paul asked, "Can I come to the dance with you?"
Paul asked, 'Can I come to the dance with you?'
  • Question 9

Rewrite the following sentence, adding all the necessary punctuation.

 

Mrs Matthews shouted be quiet and listen

CORRECT ANSWER
Mrs Matthews shouted, "Be quiet and listen!"
Mrs Matthews shouted, 'Be quiet and listen!'
EDDIE SAYS
An exclamation mark is needed because Mrs Matthews is shouting.
  • Question 10

Rewrite the following sentence, adding all the necessary punctuation.

 

How long have you lived here asked Christopher

CORRECT ANSWER
"How long have you lived here?" asked Christopher.
'How long have you lived here?' asked Christopher.
---- OR ----

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