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A dialogue is a conversation between people and/or characters. For example, within a novel, the dialogue sections would be the ones offset by quotation marks, where the characters speak in their own voices. Likewise, dialogue is crucial to all plays, with dialogue only being interrupted either by chorus or soliloquy. Dialogue enables the author to represent social situations and enable characters to speak for themselves. 

You, like almost all people, surely engage in dialogue multiple times a day. In the simplest terms, a dialogue simply consists of two or more people talking. The opposite of dialogue would thus be monologue: a situation where one person is talking, with no response.

Dialogue examples

In order to clarify the meaning of dialogue, here are a few examples of the term being used within sentences. 

"In the classical Platonic dialogue, Socrates prods other people with questions so that they come to realize the fallacies in the beliefs that they claim to hold."  

"When the man realized that his friend had stopped responding to his text messages, he worried that their dialogue had now degenerated into a monologue." 

"The dialogue between the friends what emotional intense; at least in part, this was surely because of all the beer they had consumed thus far."

In case you would still like a little more information about how to correctly use the term dialogue, here are a couple basic rules you can follow

1. A dialogue always involves more than one person. In a real dialogue, one person talks; then another person responds; then the first person talks again; and so on. Dialogue can thus be understood as just another word for conversation. If there is only one person involved, then dialogue would only be possible if he has personified a part of himself as someone else and thus literally talks to himself as if to another person. 

2. Within a specifically literary context, dialogue refers to the parts of a work of literature that are set off by quotation marks. So, dialogue would differ from (for example) prose exposition on the part of the author. Dialogue can be more or less prevalent depending on the genre and style of the author. For example, most plays are almost all dialogue, whereas a philosophical treatise usually has no dialogue at all. 

Use in literature and origins

Dialogue has been an important element of Western literature since its very beginnings. To a large extent, this is perhaps due to the influence of Plato. His works consist almost entirely of dialogue: Socrates consistently goes and engages in dialogue with other characters. This perhaps established the basic idea that dialogue is a fundamental method for pursuing the truth, whatever that may be. This basic conviction about dialogue has surely influenced Western culture every since. 

In addition, dialogue is always crucial if a writer is to allow his/her characters to "speak for themselves". In truth, much of the dramatic energy of any narrative plot comes from the interplay between the voices of the various characters within the plot. If a writer were to simply describe an entire story in the third person without using any dialogue at all, most readers would probably find this to be tedious. This is one reason why (for example) the novels of Dostoevsky are surprisingly easy to read: they are completely packed with dialogue, to the point that they sometimes almost resemble plays. 

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