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Speech Marks / Inverted Commas KS2 – 7 of the best SPaG worksheets and resources

Get primary pupils properly punctuating direct speech with these worksheets, activities and ideas for teaching inverted commas (or ‘speech marks’)...

  • Speech Marks / Inverted Commas KS2 – 7 of the best SPaG worksheets and resources

What are inverted commas?

Inverted commas, also known as speech marks or quotation marks (sometimes ‘quote marks’), are punctuation marks used in writing to indicate speech or a quotation.

They can also be used to indicate a phrase or quote, but typically in British English we use single quotation marks for this, whereas American English uses double.

But we all still use the double bunny ears when doing air quotes

Inverted commas National Curriculum programme of study links

Year 3
Introduction to inverted commas to punctuate direct speech

Year 4
Use of inverted commas and other punctuation to indicate direct speech [for example, a comma after the reporting clause; end punctuation within inverted commas: The conductor shouted, “Sit down!”]

1 | How to use inverted commas video guide

For a nice little introduction or recap to inverted commas, watch this video of Mr Thorne take you through their uses.

It’s clearly explained with large captions across the bottom so that children can see his examples written out with the correct punctuation.

2 | Punctuating direct speech resource pack

This powerful KS2 grammar resources pack provides everything you need to teach a series of five lessons on punctuating direct speech, culminating in an extended writing task where children can use their grammatical understanding in context.

Get this resource pack here.

3 | Direct speech challenge worksheets

Similarly, this bright, appealing grammar worksheet is an excellent way to practise and revise using direct speech in Year 4.

It is divided into five sections: understand, challenge, test, explain and apply.

Activities include SATs style questions and opportunities for creative writing responses, with eye-catching images as prompts.

Find this one here.

4 | Quotation marks worksheet

This two-page worksheet has six tasks and an extension all revolving around punctuating speech.

So it starts with putting speech marks into sentences, then putting speech marks and all other punctuation, before building up to punctuating longer passages.

Print it here.

5 | Speech marks washing line

This handy idea was created by Clarice Morley, an English teacher in a Pupil Referral Unit, who found her boys were struggling with the use of speech marks.

They invented three characters – male, female and a rabbit – and produced some labels such as “Rory exclaimed” and “Brenda whispered”. Clarice then stretched a washing line across the board, and had two pegs with the speech marks on.

The boys would write something someone would say onto a piece of paper, then they matched one of the labels with one of their speeches, and hung the speech on the washing line.

They soon grasped it is only the reported speech that hangs on the line, and the pegs (speech marks) keep it in place.

Print out the worksheet for this resource here.

6 | Speech mark rules

There are many “rules” of speech marks, but no definitive list, and you don’t want to overwhelm children with too many while they’re just learning.

So this Rising Stars list of five rules is a nice size for children to read and take in.

Check it out here.

7 | Inverted commas worksheet set

This resource set has three parts. One is ‘Witch and Tiger Conversation’, which shows ten pictures with blank speech bubbles. Children choose names for the witch and the tiger, then create the contents of the conversation.

Next they re-write this conversation in the form of a story by adding phrases such as ‘said Tom’ and ‘asked Joe’ as well as speech marks and other punctuation.

The second and third parts are ‘Missing Speech Marks’ worksheets, where children need to add speech marks to sentences.

Get all this here.

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