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Bookhooks Style Guide

Using our Word template, you can annotate student work, adding comments for the 30 Common Errors listed in this style guide. The template facilitates mark up by teachers, and generates comments with links to these resource pages!

   Error Punctuating Dialogue

30 Common Writing Errors and Their Solutions

Sentence Fragment
Run On/Comma Splice

Parenthetic Expression
Comma Before Independent Clause
Punctuation at end of Quotation
Single Quote Marks
Dangling Modifier
Misplaced Modifier
Vague Pronoun Reference
Number Agreement
Parallel Structure
Verb Tenses
Fused Words
Passive Voice

Negative Form
Choppy Sentences
Qualifiers and Intensifiers
Vague, Stilted or Flowery Language

This listing of 30 common writing errors was compiled by The Pingry School and is used with permission.

Dialogue should sound like actual speech (contractions, fragments, slang, etc.). Use a comma followed by a lowercase letter if a spoken sentence is interrupted (“how’d”); use period followed by uppercase if it is not (“How’d”). Start a new paragraph when switching speakers. These paragraphs, like any others, indent the first line only, then wrap to left margin. A character’s actions go in the same paragraph as his dialogue, avoiding needless he said’s. Avoid such purple synonyms for said as whimpered, chortled, etc.

“All right, Arthur,” the gray-haired man said sharply. “This is getting us nowhere. But nowhere.” He took a lighted cigarette from the girl. She had lit two. “Just incidentally,” he said, exhaling smoke through his nostrils, “how’d you make out today?”


“How’d you make out today?” the gray-haired man repeated.

“How’d the case go?”

( – Salinger, “Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes,” Nine Stories)