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As we're going to be writing our own fiction story based on The Mousehole Cat in the not-to-distant future, today we're going to have a quick practice session on inverted commas - also called speech marks - as most fiction includes characters speaking. Ours hopefully will!

What are inverted commas? Don't mix them up with commas, which separate clauses in sentences. "Inverted commas," go around the words you would hear in your ear if you were actually there - they hug the start and end of what the character says.


So, let's say in The Mousehole Cat Old Tom says something to his cat, Mowser.


Here's some delicious fish for you said Old Tom


What's wrong with that? Well, no inverted commas even though Old Tom is speaking. Where should they go? What are the words that we would hear? A lot of people get mixed up and include the whole sentence - but Old Tom wouldn't say 'said Old Tom' unless he'd gone completely insane.


"Here's some delicious fish for you" said Old Tom

The red part would be in Old Tom's voice, so we need " at the start AND end of it.

We're not done yet, though! What do sentences end with, always? That's right.


"Here's some delicious fish for you" said Old Tom.


Still not finished! One more thing that so many people forget. You always, always, always need a punctuation mark before the last speech mark - the one just after you for our speech. But which punctuation mark to choose? If it's a question, ?. If it's shouted, !. But here we need a regular old comma, because we've got something after the last speech mark.


"Here's some delicious fish for you," said Old Tom.


But wait! I've seen speech marks with a full stop before them! How does that work? Well, if there's nothing after it - if the writer has already told you who is speaking, like this - 


Old Tom said, "Here's some delicious fish for you."


Notice anything? You can't escape the comma, this way round it goes before the first inverted comma. Commas and inverted commas are the best of buddies, don't be mean and separate them from each other.


Have a watch of the BBC bitesize website for more on inverted commas and a quick quiz:


Once you've done that, we've got on your PurpleMash 2dos Day 14 - Frank's clever window again. All you have to do is drag the punctuation in the right place to show where the speech is. If you follow the rules above, you'll have no trouble. Good luck!