As a part of language rules, one of the primary uses of quotation marks is to indicate direct speech or to highlight the words or phrases taken verbatim from another source. Beyond this, the rules also state that quotation marks can be used to denote titles of short works, indicate irony, or introduce unfamiliar terms, thus adding depth and precision to your writing.
Definition: Quotation marks
These punctuation marks are mostly used to represent direct speech. They can also imply alternative meaning or represent the titles of books or other works.
When to use quotation marks
There are two types of quotation marks: Single (‘…’) quotes and double (“…”) quotes. In British English and American English, these two punctuation marks are used differently.
Single quotation marks
These punctuation marks are mostly used in British English, and they can indicate direct speech. They are commonly used for quotes within quotes in American English. Here are some examples:
Double quotation marks
The use of these punctuation marks differs depending on whether you are using American English or British English. In American English, they usually depict direct speech. In British English, these marks are commonly used for quotes within quotes. Here are some examples to illustrate the difference:
Quotation mark rules
When using these punctuation marks, you will need to take note of the following rules.
Quotations and capitalization
If you are quoting a complete sentence, the first word after the quotation has to be capitalized. This rule applies even if the quote is in the middle of a sentence. Here are some examples:
You will not need to capitalize the sentence if you are only quoting a phrase. For example:
When you split the quoted text, you will not need to capitalize the second part of the sentence. For example:
You should take note of the use of commas. After the initial quote, you will use the comma within the quotation mark. In the second part of the quotation, the comma has to be outside the quotation mark. However, the period or full stop will be placed within the quotation mark.
Quotation marks and other punctuation marks
Punctuation marks that introduce quotes are never placed within the quotation marks, but the rules are different for punctuation marks that end the quotes. In American English, commas and periods are always placed within the quotation marks. However, in the UK, commas and periods or full stops are only placed in the quotation marks if the quote is a full sentence or if the punctuation marks are part of the quotation.
When using question marks and exclamation points, you only need to place them in the quotation marks if they are part of the quote.
Quotes within quotes
The punctuation of quotes within quotes will vary depending on the version of English you are using. In American English, you have to use single quotation marks for quotes within quotes. On the other hand, you need to use double quotation marks for the same purpose in British English.
Quotation marks – Examples
These punctuation marks are primarily used to represent the exact language used by someone else.
Double quotation marks are commonly used to indicate direct speech, while single quote marks are used to enclose quotes within quotes or quotes within headlines.
These punctuation marks are only placed in the quotation marks if they are part of the quote.
You can use double quotation marks for the main quote and single quotation marks for the quote within the quote.