Quotation Marks are used for
various reasons and in various forms (In Britain, however,
they are called inverted commas). Depending on the
situation, either single quotation marks (‘’) or
double quotation marks (“”) can be used.
common use of double quotation marks is in dialogue
or direct quotation (using the exact wording from another
spoken or written source).
told me she turned twelve today,” said Fred.
According to sources, “This is how you would use double
quotes” (Smith, 7).
common way to use double quotation marks is for indicating
titles of short stories, poems, newspaper or magazine
articles, chapters of books, and episodes of television
story: “When Mr. Pirzada Came To Dine” by Jhumpa Lahiri
“Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allen Poe
A third way
to use double quotation marks is to set off words to show
irony or slang. These types of quotations are often
indicated with finger gestures (air quotes) when people are
said he couldn’t come with us because he was too “busy”
preparing his Martian defense system.
sneered and told me my car was “cool.”
Single quotation marks are used in
only one fashion in American English: to indicate a
quotation within a quotation.
told me to tell you to ‘go to the store and get some milk,’”
Note: In American usage, commas
and periods always go inside closing quotation marks.
Colons and semicolons are always placed outside the
In a side
note, the British do just the opposite: they use single
quotation marks where Americans use double quotation marks
and double quotation marks where Americans use singles.
going to the park’, I said. (British use)
told us he “saw a Martian”,’ said Burt. (British use)
Note: Unlike American style, which
requires commas and periods to go inside the quotation
marks, in the British style, commas and periods can go either
inside or outside the punctuation, depending on the
logic of the quotation and where it occurs in the sentence.
According to Michael Quinion, writing in
World Wide Words, “British style now prefers to
punctuate according to the sense, in which punctuation marks
only appear inside quotation marks if they were there in the
original.” In other words, the punctuation
belongs inside the quote itself if it logically goes with
what was spoken or written.
style, as well, colons and semicolons are always placed
outside the quotation marks. Also, in both styles,
exclamation marks and question marks go either inside
or outside, depending on meaning.
asked, “Did the cows come home?”
Ursula ask “Did the cows come home”?
first example sentence, the quotation itself is a question,
so the question mark logically goes inside the quotation marks.
In the second example sentence, the full sentence is a
question, so the question mark goes outside the