Conversational English can be very difficult. While knowing proper sentence structure and correct grammar is extremely important, conversational English is how you will interact with other English speakers on a daily basis. If you don’t feel ready to hold a conversation in English, or if you want more practice, write your own dialogue!
Imagining an example of a conversation between two characters can be challenging without providing context or prompts. Conversational English is very different from English you would use for a written assignment, or from English you would read in a book or on a news website. However, you normally go through the same motions when completing a written assignment that involves answering an essay question, and a written assignment that asks you to come up with a natural sounding conversation between two characters. Therefore, learning to write dialogues is a fundamental skill in language education. With guidance, advice, and lessons, students can be empowered to master the art of writing dialogues and become confident communicators in real-life situations.
The following guide provides a step-by-step approach to writing engaging dialogues between two characters, incorporating common phrases, examples, and techniques to create authentic and meaningful conversations.
Remember to tailor your activity to the desired language proficiency level and ensure it aligns with the intended purpose of the conversation between the two friends.
Conversation starters and enders are vital tools that help set the tone and direction of a discussion between two characters. They serve as entry points into a rich exchange of thoughts and ideas. For example, a simple conversation between teacher and student in English, the teacher may be initiated with an open-ended question like, 'Tell me about something interesting you learned today.' This prompts the student to share their thoughts and encourages active participation. Likewise, in a conversation between two new friends, the use of warm greetings and introductory phrases like 'It's great to meet you!' or 'How has your day been so far?' fosters a welcoming atmosphere, fostering connection and sparking further conversation. However, misunderstandings can occur, leading to confusion or misinterpretation. In such instances, employing question tags becomes essential to seek clarification and resolve any potential ambiguity. For instance, you can write a conversation between two friends using question tags, for example, 'You're still up for the movie tonight, aren't you?' helps ensure mutual understanding and prevent any miscommunication. Overall, by incorporating common phrases, and question tags, dialogues between characters can evolve into engaging and meaningful exchanges, exploring diverse perspectives and enhancing the overall conversational experience.
These writing activities serve as invaluable tools, promoting effective communication and cultivating collaboration within the educational setting for those who are not native speakers. Whether undertaken individually or as part of a group, these activities provide unique advantages for both teachers and students, facilitating language development, fostering understanding of character dynamics, and nurturing the ability to construct meaningful dialogues. Worksheets can be designed for individual, paired, or group settings, accommodating different learning preferences and promoting collaboration among students. Individual worksheets offer students the opportunity to practice and develop their writing skills independently, allowing them to focus on their own ideas, creative expression, and personal growth in constructing meaningful dialogues. Paired activities for more than one person provide learners with the chance to engage in collaborative learning, where they can exchange ideas, perspectives, and feedback with a partner. Through the process of dialogue writing between two friends, students can hone their ability to create authentic and relatable conversations that reflect the nuances of real-life friendships.
Storyboard That gives you the opportunity to create visual scenarios in order to teach more natural conversations. Instead of writing out the conversation as lines of text, try to understand the context of the dialogue. There are a lot of nuances that come up in conversation that do not always appear in written communication, such as slang, colloquial expressions, interjections, immediate responses, interruptions, and more.
Open up the Storyboard Creator and you will see three empty cells. Look through the different scene options and try out different locations. Choose one that you like. Click on the scene and drag it to the empty cell. The scene may dictate the situation or conversation, so be creative!
You need at least two people to talk to each other in a conversation. Storyboard That has many fun characters to choose from. Characters can be modern people, historical figures, animals, monsters, silhouettes, and more!
Give your characters names. If you are going to have a detailed discussion, you can think about personality traits or opinions, too!
People talk about everything, so you can make a storyboard about anything! Here are some common things people talk about.
When choosing a topic, think about relevant vocabulary that you want to include. If you find yourself struggling with the vocabulary, don't worry! Select a different topic or ask for help from a teacher or native speaker. This exercise can be completed more than one time, so there's plenty of opportunity to practice new dialogues and vocabulary.
Once you have your topic, characters, and setting, you can start writing! Use the speech bubbles located in the "speech bubbles" section. For conversations, speech bubbles are really important. Like the characters and many of the scenes, you can change the appearance of the speech bubbles.
Write the conversation in order. Use a separate speech bubble each time a character speaks. Don’t try to make each sentence perfect yet, instead, focus on what the characters would say and how they might respond to each other.
Try to include some of the following in your dialogue.
Remember that conversations are more than just words! There are reactions, emotional changes, actions, and more to think about in actual speech. You can pose and edit the characters too, so make sure to use facial expressions and arm motions, if needed.
After you have the basic conversation, go back and check your grammar, expressions, and vocabulary. Did you get most of it right the first time? It’s OK if you didn’t, that just means you need more practice. As you practice, the right conjugations and vocabulary will come to you more easily!
Here is a completed example.
Maia: What's wrong, Jin? You look worried!
Jin: Well, my sister is coming to visit me this weekend.
Maia: Oh! That's great!
Jin: No! No it isn't! I have spent most of my time studying and working. I don't know what to do in this city!
Maia:I have done lots of stuff in the city! You don't need to be so anxious.
Jin: Really? You can help? Wow, thank you, Maia!
Maia: No problem, Jin! I'd be happy to give you some ideas.
Jin: OK, let's go!
Maia: So, what does your sister like? Clubs? Bars? Concerts?
Jin: Um, museums and architecture. Maybe I should do this on my own after all.
Another great way for students to practice writing dialogues is to combine it with an activity that allows them to master local customs. When doing things like dining out, shopping, visiting a friend, or more, there may be expectations that they are unused to. These activities will let students practice various scenarios, and can be customized and adjusted for difficulty as desired!
Think about the location and background of your story, as well as the characteristics of your characters. Are they from a certain region or cultural background? Are they teenagers or adults? This information will help you determine the appropriate slang and idioms to use.
Do some research to find out what slang and idioms are commonly used by people in your characters' age group, region, or cultural background. You can consult online dictionaries or language references, or ask people who fit the demographic you are writing for.
When writing dialogue, it is important to use slang and idioms in a way that feels natural and not forced. To do this, try to imagine how your characters would really speak in conversation, and use the slang and idioms that would naturally come up. Avoid overusing slang or idioms, as this can make the conversation sound contrived or exaggerated.
Sometimes slang and idioms can be confusing or difficult to understand, especially for readers who are not familiar with them. To avoid confusion, try to use context clues to clarify the meaning of slang and idioms. For example, you can use the dialogue itself or the surrounding narrative to provide hints about the meaning of a phrase.
After writing your dialogue, read it aloud to see how it sounds. Pay attention to the use of slang and idioms, and make sure they flow naturally and are easy to understand. If necessary, make adjustments to the dialogue to improve the use of slang and idioms.
Finally, share your dialogue with others and get feedback on the use of slang and idioms. Ask your beta readers if they were able to understand the slang and idioms, and if they felt the conversation was realistic. Use this feedback to further refine your dialogue and make it as natural and engaging as possible.
Dialogue is a conversation between two or more people. In literature, it refers to the written or spoken exchange between characters in a story, play, or other literary work. It is a tool used to convey information, reveal character, and advance the plot. In everyday life, it is an essential part of communication, allowing people to share ideas, express opinions, and build relationships.
To create a dialogue on Storyboard That, you should start by choosing a scene or situation from the available options and dragging it to an empty cell. Next, select at least two characters to participate and give them names and possibly personality traits. Choose a topic, such as decisions, social plans, or opinions on an issue, and think about relevant vocabulary to include. Finally, use the speech bubbles located in the "speech bubbles" section to write the dialogue.
To write realistic and engaging dialogue, think about the characters' personalities and motivations, and consider how they might speak to each other in the given situation. Use natural-sounding language and include pauses, interruptions, and nonverbal communication, such as body language and facial expressions. You can also use tags to add context and emotion to the conversation.
Here are some prompt ideas specifically designed to help generate short examples for students learning English as a second language: