I m trying to create a new short command for the dialogue package. While the regular use of \speak{} inside the environment works, the \newcommand that I have created using it doesn't.


While compiling it gives the error

LaTeX Error: Something's wrong--perhaps a missing \item.

I am sure the problem is with my definition of a newcommand using \speak but not sure how to resolve it.

MWE is appended below.


% custom commands for speaking



% this works


\speak{Teacher} This is going to be fun

\speak{Student} How so?


% this doesn't


\tchr This is going to be fun

\std How so?


  • Just to complement Matts answer, it is the braces here that is the problem {\speak{Teacher}}. \speak is implemented as starting a new list item, aka \item[...], but with the extra braces this becomes {\item[...]} and not the list cannot see the first item in the dialogue and thus gives an error about text in a list without a \item.
    – daleif
    Apr 2, 2020 at 11:11
  • 1
    Thanks for an explanation of the error!
    – Damitr
    Apr 2, 2020 at 11:12

1 Answer 1


When using \newcommand, I believe the format should be as such:


So in your case, it would look like:


The problem with your code is that \speak should appear at the outer level, and the additional braces hinder its working.

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