How to Format a Dialogue in an Essay 

How to format dialogue in an essay, just like other things to do in an essay, is not difficult or confusing if you know the right things to do and what’s expected of you. The way dialogue appears in an essay is not the same way it appear a creative literary piece of art. Therefore, you should know how to format a dialogue in an essay so it doesn’t lead to loss of mark for you.

A dialogue appearing in an essay, of course, means that it is a quotation or the quoted words of another writer. Most essays are not written in a dialogue format; it is maybe only narrative essay that has some forms of dialogue. However for research or critical essays, any dialogue appearing there is the quoted words of another writer.

In this post, we will show you different examples of how to format a dialogue in an essay with different types of essays in view.

Example of How to Format a Dialogue in a Research or Critical Essay

As it has been written earlier, if a dialogue appears in a research or critical essay, it is the quoted words of a writer and should be fully cited. If it is a short dialogue of a single character and is less than four lines then it can be enclosed in quotation marks. However if it is longer than four lines then it should be 1 inch left-indented and in block form like the example below,

Ukwueze (2020), in Death House, brings up characters that conquer their fears and are able to defeat the enemy. He writes,

Zoba: (shouts from up the tree). Is he dead already? Let us leave here, I am in pains.

Nene: (checks pulse). I think he is still alive. We have to leave right now before he gets up.

Zoba: Won’t you shoot him?

Nene: No! He should wake and ask God for forgiveness.

Zoba: What if he decides to come after us. (p. 15)

Example of How to Format Dialogue in a Narrative, Expository and Descriptive Essays

In these essay types, you simply format the dialogue in the essays like you do to that of a story. Since these essays aren’t research essay, the dialogue in the essay is from your own mind and doesn’t need citation. Example of this is,

Another lost client–a middle-aged chubby man had come grinning, making jokes, talking excitedly to everyone, and when he sat down, Chancellor thought he would get him to do business with them. After all, he was all excited and seemed very happy. The client took a complimentary coffee and remarked that the office was unsuitable. “God damn that man!” Chancellor barked under his breath. He kicked in the air. 


How to format a dialogue in an essay is not a big problem. Simply know the steps to follow, and what to do, and what not to do. You should ensure you get how to format a dialogue in an essay right so you don’t lose marks at all.

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