Using inverted commas to show speech

Home learning focus

To understand how to use inverted commas to show when someone is speaking.

This lesson includes:

  • two videos to show you how to use inverted commas to show speech

  • three activities


Watch this short clip to learn about what inverted commas are and how they are used to show speech.

Learn about how to use inverted commas.

When you are writing, inverted commas (also called speech marks) go before and after any words that a character says.

For example: "I'm hungry," complained Goldilocks.

‘I’m hungry’ are the words that Goldilocks says out loud (also called direct speech), so the inverted commas go at the start and end of those words.

If another character replies, the rule is to:

  • use another set of inverted commas

  • put the new person speaking on a new line.

For example:

"There’s some porridge on the stove,” said her mum.

"But I've already had some porridge today!” exclaimed Goldilocks.

Any punctuation goes inside the inverted commas at the end of what the character is saying.

Now watch this fun video and listen carefully to what is said about inverted commas.

You could even join in!

Have a go at copying Mr Smith’s moves and singing along.

Learn about inverted commas with Mr Smith.

Let's recap on Mr Smith's groovy ground rules for using inverted commas.

1. If it's a new speaker, start a new line.

2. Use inverted commas when a character starts to speak.

3. Write the actual words the character is saying (starting with a capital letter).

4. End the speech with punctuation.

5. Show the speech has ended using inverted commas.

6. Don't forget to tell your reader who said it.

For example:

"It's time to learn about inverted commas. Here we go!" said Mr Smith.


You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.

Activity 1

Complete this quiz on inverted commas. Can you get all five correct?

Activity 2

Complete this Comic Strip Speech activity sheet.

First read the speech bubble, then write a sentence that shows what the character is saying by using inverted commas.

You can either print out the activity sheet or write your sentences on a piece of paper.

Top tip!

Don't forget about Mr Smith's groovy ground rules!

Comic Strip Speech activity sheet

Activity 3

Do you think you could be a teacher? Let’s see!

Complete this Be the Teacher activity sheet by spotting and correcting the children's mistakes.

You can either print out the activity sheet or write your corrected sentences on a piece of paper.

Be the Teacher activity sheet

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt about using inverted commas to show speech.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize.

Click on the links below to keep learning.

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