Punctuation and inverted commas

Home learning focus

Learn how to use inverted commas to punctuate speech.

This lesson includes:

  • two videos

  • three activities


Remind yourself all about inverted commas by watching this video.

Inverted commas with Mr Smith

Watch the clip below to brush up on your understanding of why and how inverted commas are used.

Learn about inverted commas

Inverted commas

  • When you are writing, inverted commas (speech marks) go before and after direct speech. They surround what was said by the speaker.

Example: "I'm hungry," she complained.

  • If another character replies, use another set of inverted commas.

Example: "What's for tea?" she asked. "Delicious ants!" her mum replied.

Punctuating speech

  • Each new piece of speech must start with a capital letter.

  • Punctuation, such as question marks, full stops and exclamation marks go inside the inverted commas.

  • If you name the person who is speaking before the speech, you must use a comma before the first set of inverted commas.

Example: Mr Fox exclaimed, “Let’s go for a run!”.


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

Activity 1

In this activity, highlight the speech within the text.

Activity 2

  1. Look and think:

Find an animal picture and imagine you are writing a story about it.

  1. Write:

Write a description of what is happening in that picture including speech (dialogue) between the characters (the animals) that is accurately punctuated with inverted commas.


One fine day the troublesome trio decided to relax by a serene river when, suddenly, a hippo popped up. "Good day fine canines." she bellowed.

Surprised, Rusty the dog exclaimed, “Oh wow! I’ve never seen a water dog before!”

Top tips!

Try to use a synonym to make your writing more interesting. For example, you could use the word said to show how the character is speaking.

Examples: whispered, shrieked, shouted, screamed, mumbled.

Activity 3

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

Try this activity to explore using inverted commas.

Direct speech punctuation worksheet

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt about using punctuation and inverted commas.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize to help you to understand more about nouns, verbs and expanded noun phrases:

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