Quotation Mark Rules You’ll Never Forget

What are quotation marks?

Quotation marks (” “) are used for direct quotations. A quotation begins and ends with quotation marks: “I am getting worried,” she said, “that he has not called.” This signifies that someone actually said these words.

How else are quotation marks used?

1. Quotations marks can be used around expressions to offset (or call them out) from the other text. For example: The word “food”; It was marked as “ready for delivery.”

2. They can be placed around words when you are referring to the actual word, such as: I said “tomato,” not “potato.” They are also used in sentences referred to as sentences, such as: An example of a question is, “Where the heck are they?”.

3. Quotation marks may be used around mottos, slang, and unspoken dialogue, too.

4. Sometimes, they are used for translations of foreign terms. For example: hola means “hello” in Spanish.

5. Another use is around single letters within a sentence, e.g., His name begins with a “K.”

6. They are also used to enclose article titles or parts of a document, e.g., Her article, “14,000 Things to be Happy About,” is a must-read. Book titles are italicized.

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How do you punctuate with quotation marks?

In American usage, punctuation that goes inside the closing quotation mark includes a period or comma. (In British usage, the period and the comma go outside the quotation mark.)

The colon, semicolon, dash, question mark, and exclamation point fall inside quotation marks if they belong with the quoted matter (i.e., that’s how the sentence was in the book you are quoting) but outside if they punctuate the sentence as a whole.

For quotations which extend beyond one paragraph, a quotation mark begins each paragraph and the closing quotation mark is at the end of the last paragraph.

Some writers put a comma before a quotation and some leave it out. Either way, make sure your writing is consistent.

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