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Dialogue in an Essay and Other Rules of Writing an Essay

At first, we will learn what the essay is. The word «essay» has come from the French and historically dates back to the Latin word «exagium» (weighing). The French word «ezzai» can literally be translated as an experience, a trial, or a sketch.

Essay is a composition made in prose of a little volume, which can be written on any topic. In essay students need to express personal impressions and thoughts on a particular occasion or issue. Essay doesn’t pretend to be exhaustive or decisive treatment of the issue.

Some Essay Characteristics:

  • Existence of a certain issue. Essay can be devoted to the analysis of wide range of problems, and by definition, can’t be executed in the essay genre.
  • Essay expresses personal experiences and views on specific issue and certainly does not claim to define or comprehensively treat the subject.
  • As a rule, an essay suggests a new, subjectively colored word about anything. Such composition can have a philosophical, popular scientific, biographical, fictional, journalistic, or historical character.
  • The content of the essays is evaluated by place of the author’s identity in it – authors’ outlook, thoughts, and feelings on a certain subject.

The genre of essay has become popular in recent years. Montaigne («Essais») is considered the creator of this genre. Today essay is often given as a main task to students. It is one of the main components of all documents required for admission to university or a job interview. Essay contests help to choose the best candidates among the rest of the applicants.

Essay writing is also important for young professionals.

The way, in which the applicant was able to describe himself or herself, allows an employer to determine whether this person is good enough for the business, whether he or she has enough experience in order to meet the expectations of the future and benefit company (organization, enterprise).

The purpose of the essay is to develop such skills as creative thinking and the ability to express your own thoughts.

Knowing how to write comprehensive essays is very important, as it allows the author to learn how to correctly formulate thoughts, arrange the facts, apply basic concepts, single out causal relationships, illustrate the gained experience with relevant examples, and substantiate conclusions.

It is very important to know the basic rules of writing an essay, such as inserting the dialogue in an essay, creating a good introduction and comprehensive ending.

There are several ideas you can use in your essay in order to attract the attention of a reader:

  • Surprising information.
    This information should be accurate and verifiable, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be completely new to your readers. It can be a simple fact that illustrates what you want to convey to your reader. If you use surprising information, write about it in details using a couple of sentences.
  • Accident.
    Accident is a story that confirms the basic idea. The story should be brief and correspond to the topic you are writing about. Stories can serve as a very effective introduction to your essay, but use it carefully.
  • Dialogue.
    Relevant dialogue in an essay does not have to identify the speakers, but a reader should understand what you are trying to say. Use only two or three sentences of dialogue in an essay to convey the basic idea. After the dialogue in an essay, write one or two explanatory sentences.
  • Summarizing information.
    Several sentences, explaining your topic in general terms, can gradually bring a reader to the thesis. In order to take the reader to the thesis, progressively make every sentence more specific.

What is Dialogue?

If you need to know how to insert a dialogue in an essay, first you need to know the notion of a dialogue.

Dialogue is a conversation between two or more people. You can see dialogues in movies, plays, fiction stories, or essays. You should not confuse a dialogue with the quotations from external sources.

As the marks of quotation are used both with a dialogue and quotations from the sources, it is important to differentiate these two notions. The main differences of a dialogue and quotations from the sources are the following:

  • Dialogue.
    A talk between two people or more. It is used as a part of a story or a hook.
  • Direct quotes.
    Quotes are information from an external source used word-for-word in an essay. Quotes are used as a hook to support an argument in your essay.

The most common error is directly quoting from dialogue. In this situation, think what you are using the dialogue for – to show the idea in your argument. In this case, quoting of a dialogue will be a part of the direct quote category.

When to Use a Dialogue in an Essay?

As it was mentioned above, dialogues can be seen in movies, plays, or fiction stories. However you can only insert a dialogue in a narrative essay.

This is due to the fact that other types of essays (expository or argumentative essays) aim to claim. In argumentative essays, you are claiming that your argument is the right one, while in expository essays you are explaining an idea or claiming about how something works.

On the other hand, narrative essays are about a story-like character. In narrative essays you tell a reader about your experience. Many of the experiences you are writing about in an essay include other people and conversations you had with them.

Using dialogues in expository and argumentative essays won’t add to your point of view and may in fact make it weaker. This is because your friends and family are probably not the best sources to your support from, at least not in the case of writing essays. Instead, it is better to paraphrase or directly quote from experts in the topic you are writing your essay about.

Using dialogues in narrative essays is a great technique, as they help to move the story along, add dimension to the characters, and create more interest for a reader.

Imagine reading a novel, where characters don’t speak, or a movie, where actors don’t have a single line. It is pretty boring. The same applies to inserting a dialogue in an essay.

How to Correctly Insert a Dialogue in an Essay?

There are several various ways when inserting or quoting a dialogue in an essay may be necessary.

If you are using any stage or narrative directions in your quote to prove your idea together with a dialogue, the narrative will be surrounded by double quoting marks, while the dialogue will be surrounded by the single marks of quotation.

If the part you are quoting in your essay is a line of a dialogue itself, then you can insert the dialogue as any other text quoted and surround it with double marks of quotation.

If for proving your point, you want to insert the whole dialogue in an essay, you can do it using the block quote. For the block quote you need to leave the marks of quotation, indent every line of the paragraph so that it will stand alone in your essay as one block, and then you need to add the reference after the period.

If you want to quote a dialogue in an essay that is more than three lines long and the lines are from the same speaker, you will also need to use the block quotation.

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