QUOTATION MARKS [ " " ]
Unlike British (Canadian and Australian) English which puts periods and commas outide quotaion marks,
American English always places them inside quotation marks.
However, both Americans and the British prefer to place a dash, semicolon, question mark, or exclamation point
inside quotation marks when these punctuation marks apply to the quoted matter only.
Nevertheless, the Americans and Canadians would still place this last group of punctuation marks outside quotation marks when they apply to the whole sentence.
The following rules apply when using quotation marks according to the American convention.
To begin, find out about the purposes for which quotation marks are used. Click on a link below to read the rules and see examples, take a guided tour by clicking the 'start' button below.
Note: Single quotation marks [ ' ' ] are used to enclose a quotation within a quotation and may be used around words that are special terms or for words referred to as words or sentences referred to as sentences.
- For direct quotations. Each part of an interrupted quotation begins and ends with quotation marks, as "I am getting worried," she said, "that he has not called."
- 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.
- For expressions following introductory terms such as 'entitled', 'the word', 'the term', 'marked', 'designated', 'classified', 'named', 'endorsed', 'cited as', 'referred to as', 'signed' - which indicate a borrowing, special use, or definition.
- Around mottos, slang, nicknames, misnomers, coined words, unfamiliar terms, proverbs and maxims, ironical reference, and unspoken dialogue.
- Around words referred to as words, e.g. "I said "tomato," not "potato.", and around sentences referred to as sentences, e.g. An example of a question is, "Where the heck are they?". Single quotation marks may also be used in this way.
- For translations/definitions of foreign terms, e.g. E pluribus unum means "Out of many, one."
- For single letters within a sentence, e.g. His name begins with a "K."
- Sometimes to enclose document titles and parts, and addresses within a sentence, e.g. Her book, "Roget's International Thesaurus," is a bestseller.
- For quotes within quotes, alternate between double quotation marks and single marks. Use three marks together if two quoted elements end at the same time, e.g. She said, "Paul told me, 'I love you.'"