Dialogues — Some Formatting Styles You Can Use

These are examples from other students’ writings.


Setting: Midnight; Number 6 Train to The Bronx. I board at 42nd Street. A poorly dressed man and woman board the train behind me.

MAN:             I’m on my way uptown all because of you and your nagging me.

WOMAN [sitting down]: No you are not. You would have to go uptown anyway, even if I didn’t want you to. That’s so unfair.

MAN: Please don’t argue with me any more – and don’t hold that seat for me. I refuse to sit down next to you!

I’m watching all this, and I’m thinking to myself, “Why do these people even hang out together; they clearly don’t like each other.” I wish they wouldn’t talk so loud.

MAN: I really mean it!

WOMAN: I know you do. Suit yourself. You don’t have to sit down. Just don’t talk to me any more.


Another Example:

Midnight. Starbucks on Madison Avenue and 57th Street, Manhattan

No one is sitting near me, but there are a number of people at the other end of the room. Man, it’s pretty empty. I feel kind of self conscious, writing in the corner. I am drinking tea.

“Hi, could I get a macchiato?”

“Vente or grande?”


[Music. “Uptown Funk.” Again?!] “Julio, get the stretch!”

“Um, I asked for a vente and this is a grande. Can you please get my order right?”

Wow, this woman is picky. Why is she even ordering a coffee at midnight anyway; doesn’t she ever want to sleep? My herbal tea is getting cold.

“We show up when we show up – smoother than a fresh jar o skippy…”

“Here’s your change.”

“Um, okay.”


Listen, Class: You can even make up a format of your own, as long as it is consistent and clear and uses quotation marks correctly. I will be looking for clarity and good punctuation. What people say is what they say. I can’t – and won’t – correct that! Some more…

Example 3:

7AM. At the Church Avenue F and G trains stations. There are a bunch of upset people late for work or school. Man in suit keeps checking his watch and looking down the tunnel for the train coming.

Man That Can’t Keep His Pants Up: “Where the &*(%)%* is the train?”

[Woman In Red Sitting Two Seats Down From Me is staring at me, writing.]

Group of children running down to the other side of the platform.

Woman in Red: “Where indeed?”

There is a train arriving. Everyone gets up as I stay seated. The green reflection of the trains shows that it was a G Train. Everyone returns to their positions, upset.

Man That Can’t Keep His Pants Up: “Oh my ^&^&^E god, where is this $%($%$ train?!” (He yells as if it will make the train come faster.)

Surprisingly, the train is now arriving. Man in the Suit rushes to the door in the exact spot where the door will open.

etc etc.


Example 4:

7 Train. 7:40PM. A man of around 19 is standing, holding the pole. He talks to another man who appears to be his friend.

First Guy:             I broke up with my girlfriend. She flirted with other guys. Basically, cheating on me. I wasted six months with her, and this is what I got.

Second Guy:      Damn, I feel bad for you. Wasn’t she your first girlfriend?

etc. etc.


Example 3, modified text:

7 Train. 7:40PM. A man of around 19 is standing, holding the pole. He talks to another man who appears to be his friend.

“Only wanted a girlfriend to just have.”

“You picked wrong.”

Gosh, these people are having a tough day. I wish I didn’t have to sit here.

“Why did you even go out with her?”

I wonder what he’s going to say now. Oh no.

“Man, you always choose the wrong girl.”

etc etc.