Quotation Marks

Quotation marks are used to bring writing to life: to show who said what. That being said, quotation marks are also quite tricky to use correctly. Where do you put them? What happens to the other punctuation marks inside a quotation?

Let's take a look at some common rules for using quotation marks:

Use quotation marks to attribute a direct, word-for-word quotation.

  • "I can't wait for your birthday party," he said.

You should always capitalize the first word in a complete, word-for-word quotation.

  • My brother said, "The laundry detergent was my gift to you."

Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks.

  • My mom said, "Come to the kitchen and eat your cake."
  • "Come to the kitchen and eat your cake," my mom said.

If a quotation ends in a question mark, the question mark replaces the comma.

  • "Do you want cake or ice cream for your party?" my friend asked.

Use single quotation marks for quotations with quotations.

  • My brother said, "When I went to the store, the cashier said, 'You picked a good present!'"

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You can use quotation marks in a sentence with technical terms, sarcasm, or words/phrases used in an unusual way.

  • I got a special birthday surprise from my "friend" the tax man.

Common Questions about Quotation Marks

How do I use quotation marks correctly?