How To Use Quotation Marks

Long quotations of prose are usually introduced by a sentence ending with a colon. Use double quotation marks to set off a direct (word-for-word) quotation. There are a few rules that you must consider when splitting quoted material in this way. You will want to capitalize the first word of the quotation, but you will not want to capitalize the quoted material that continues the sentence.

when should you use quotation marks

They were used to quote direct speech as early as the late sixteenth century, and this practice became more common over time. In typewriter keyboards, the curved quotation marks were not implemented. Instead, to save space, the straight quotation marks were invented as a compromise. Even in countries that did not use curved quotation marks, angular quotation what is the purpose of a descriptive essay marks were not implemented either. In Brazil, however, the usage of angular quotation marks is little known, with almost solely the curved quotation marks (“quote” and ‘quote’) being used. This can be verified, for instance, in the difference between a Portuguese keyboard (which possesses a specific key for « and for ») and a Brazilian keyboard.

Using Quotation Marks Correctly Is key

That’s probably not a good idea if there is a lot of it because the indents can be confusing and italics can become tiresome to read after a while. The decision will probably depend on the amount of silent speech within the text. Probably the best way to handle silent speech is to find an author whom you like who does a lot of this—Graham Swift in his novel Last Orders, for instance—and copy that author’s style. Although it is acceptable to break the rules, it is usually better to use a method other than quotation marks to highlight your instructions. Bold face, italics, and colored fonts all work for highlighting text.

when should you use quotation marks

In a double‐spaced paper, indent and single‐space direct quotations that are longer than five typed lines. A long quotation should be preceded by a colon and does not need to be enclosed in quotation marks. Double quotation marks are used for direct quotations and titles of compositions such as books, plays, movies, songs, lectures and TV shows. They also can be used to indicate irony and introduce an unfamiliar term or nickname. Quotation marks are used primarily to enclose or set off exact words. They are used to indicate a person’s exact written or spoken words, and in certain situations they are also used to set off words, phrases, or specific types of titles.

Quotations And Other Punctuations

When using quotation marks, certain rules apply regarding capitalization and punctuation. Words used as words are usually set off by the use of italics or underlined to indicate italics. However, enclosing them in quotation marks is also acceptable. An indirect quotation does not state the speaker’s exact words. The direct quotation of a person’s exact words, whether spoken or written, must be in quotation marks. The comma comes inside the quotation marks, unless the reporting verb is positioned inside a reported sentence that itself does not require a comma. Some writers will set such unspoken language in italics or indent it in order to set it off from other “regular” language.

when should you use quotation marks

Other languages use an escape character, often the backslash, as in ‘eat \’hot\’ dogs’. In the United States, the prevailing style is called American style, whereby commas and periods are almost always placed inside closing quotation marks. The American style is used by most newspapers, publishing houses, and style guides in the United States and, to a lesser extent, Canada as well. When dealing with direct speech, British placement depends on whether or not the quoted statement is complete or a fragment. According to the British style guide Butcher’s Copy-editing, American style should be used when writing fiction.

Quotation Dash

There is generally no space between an opening quotation mark and the following word, or a closing quotation mark and the preceding word. When a double quotation mark or a single quotation mark immediately follows the other, proper spacing for legibility may suggest that a thin space ( ) or larger non-breaking space ( ) be inserted. In all major forms of English, question marks, exclamation marks, semicolons, and any other punctuation are placed inside or outside the closing quotation mark depending on whether they are part of the quoted material. Different varieties and styles of English have different conventions regarding whether terminal punctuation should be written inside or outside the quotation marks. North American printing usually puts full stops and commas inside the closing quotation mark, whether it is part of the original quoted material or not.

Single ( ‘ ’ ) and double ( “ ” ) quotation marks have distinct purposes that are often confused. When you misuse quotation marks, readers may not be able to tell when you are quoting another good ways to start an essay writer or using language in a specialized way. In addition, use of quotation marks in American English differs from British English, which can cause problems for international students.

Primary Quotations Versus Secondary Quotations

Whether these are single or double depends on the context; however, many styles, especially for poetry, prefer the use of single quotation marks. IBM character sets generally do not have curved quotation mark characters, therefore, keys for the curved quotation marks are absent in most IBM computer keyboards. One set of quotation marks will how to start a compare and contrast essay show the beginning of the quote and the other will show when it ends. Leave no space between the quotation marks and the text they surround. To quote more than four typed lines of prose, use indentation rather than quotation marks. Set off the quoted prose by indenting ten spaces from the left margin of your text and double space the lines.

Quotation marks are used to indicate the beginning and end of a quote. They tell the reader when you’ve used written material from other sources or direct speech. Use indentation rather than quotation marks to set off long quotations of prose or poetry. Use quotation marks around the titles of newspaper and magazine articles, poems, essays, short stories, songs, episodes when should you use quotation marks of television and radio programs, and chapters or subdivisions of books. If a question ends with a quotation containing an exclamation mark, the exclamation mark will supersede the question and suffice to end the sentence. On the mysteries of combining quotation marks with other punctuation marks. The comma is the mark most frequently used to introduce quoted material.

If you want to quote something that already contains a quote, do not use double quotation marks. Hart’s Rules and the Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors call the British style “new” quoting. It is also similar to the use of quotation marks in many other languages . A few US professional societies whose professions frequently employ various non-word characters, such as chemistry and computer programming, use the British form in their style guides . In Early Modern English, quotation marks were used to denote pithy comments.

Typing Quotation Marks On A Computer Keyboard

Unicode currently does not provide alternate codes for these 6/9 guillemets on the baseline, as they are considered to be form variants of guillemets, implemented in older French typography . Also there was not necessarily any distinction of shape between the opening and closing guillemets, with both types pointing to the right (like today’s French closing guillemets).

During the Renaissance, quotations were distinguished by setting in a typeface contrasting with the main body text . Long quotations were also set this way, at full size and full measure. This style is particularly common in Bulgarian, French, Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, and Vietnamese. James Joyce always insisted on this style, although his publishers did when should you use quotation marks not always respect his preference. Charles Frazier used this style for his novel Cold Mountain as well. “Have you read Romance of the Three Kingdoms?”, he asked me.White corner brackets are used to mark quote-within-quote segments in case corner brackets are used. In Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, where Traditional Chinese is used, corner brackets are prevalent, although English-style quotes are also used.

  • It is also similar to—and often used to represent—the double prime symbol.
  • However, the usage of English-style (ex. “quote” and ‘quote’) marks is growing in Portugal.
  • (For other languages employing dashes, see section Quotation dash below.) The dashes may be used entirely without quotation marks as well.
  • In Bulgarian, Icelandic, Estonian, Lithuanian, and Russian, single quotation marks are not used.
  • A colon should be used when the text introducing the quoted material could stand as a sentence on its own.

When she’s not diagramming sentences and reading blogs about how terribly written the Twilight series is, she edits for the Write Practice, causes trouble in Denver, and plays guitar very slowly and poorly. You can follow her on Twitter (@epbure), where she tweets more about music of the mid-90s than writing.


It is that also the chosen representation for displaying quotation marks in reference sources, and it is also the chosen representation from some sites dedicated to the Portuguese Language. In Polish books and publications, this style for use of guillemets (also known as »German quotes«) is used almost exclusively.

This is an indirect quote from Josh, so we didn’t put quotation marks in the sentence. Anytime you see that right before what someone said or wrote, it means the writer is using an indirect quote. Use single quotation marks to enclose a quotation within a quotation. Never use single quotation marks in sentences like the previous three. Quotation marks were first cut in metal type during the middle of the sixteenth century, and were used copiously by some printers by the seventeenth. In some Baroque and Romantic-period books, they would be repeated at the beginning of every line of a long quotation. When this practice was abandoned, the empty margin remained, leaving the modern form of indented block quotation.

Additional Common Uses Of Quotation Marks

In Mainland China, English-style quotes (full width “”) are official and prevalent; corner brackets are rare today. In South Korea, corner brackets and English-style quotes are used.

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