Using inverted commas

Learning focus

To use inverted commas correctly when writing direct speech.

In Years 3 & 4, students are aiming to:

  • use inverted commas and other punctuation to indicate direct speech


Watch this short clip to learn about what inverted commas are and when they need to be used.

Learn about 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 Super Movers video and listen carefully to what is said about inverted commas.

Learn about inverted commas with Mr Smith.


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

Activity 1

Complete this short activity by highlighting the words that should be in inverted commas.

Activity 2

Watch the Super Movers video again.

This time, join in! Make sure you have some space, copy Mr Smith’s moves and see if you can sing along.

Pause the video at 2 minutes and 25 seconds. The four sentences below are just about to appear on your screen.

  • How are you? Mr Ahmed asked.

  • I’m really hungry, Rohan exclaimed.

  • Morgan said, I’m nearly ten.

  • What time is it? Terrance requested.

Either copy out these sentences and put the inverted commas in the right places, or explain where the inverted commas should go to someone at home.

Once you have identified where the inverted commas should go in all four sentences, play the video and Mr Smith will show you the answers.

Activity 3

Let’s see what you have learnt about inverted commas.

In this quiz, choose the sentence that is correctly punctuated with inverted commas (speech marks).

Activity 4

Now show off what you've learnt with this quiz. Can you get all five questions right?

Where next?

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

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