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.