Writers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for authors, editors, reviewers, professional writers, and aspiring writers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I understand that you should have a new paragraph for a new speaker however what should the indentation be with subsequent speakers like this?

I have this case in my writing, each is currently indented but as they're all indented (rather than alternating) I'm not sure it's clear enough.

"Come on," Aki said, striding off into the dim light, "It's not far, a few minutes’ walk.".

Remy caught up quickly and fell in step beside him, "You've been there before?" he asked.

"Okaasan snuck me in a few times..."

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The way you have it is fine. It's clear that each paragraph is a different speaker, even if the dialogue doesn't begin the paragraph.

You may also want to browse other questions here under the dialogue tag.

share|improve this answer
To add to Lauren's answer: The basic underlying rule is that each paragraph has one subject. When the subject of the text switches, a new paragraph begins. The rules for dialogue formatting follow from that. See my explanation in this answer: writers.stackexchange.com/a/10936/5645 – what May 27 '14 at 7:03
also - no special rules of indentation for dialogue. If you indent (tabulate) normal paragraphs, do the same with dialogue. If you flush all to left but make wider paragraph breaks, same for dialogue paragraphs. There may be an extra space or so of indent (on top of the tab indent) in case you separate dialogue with em-dashes, instead of enclosing in double quotes, but that's fairly rare in English prose. – SF. May 27 '14 at 13:58

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.