Grammar GuideQuotation MarksHow to use quotation marks correctly?

How to use quotation marks correctly?

How to use quotation marks correctly?

Quotation marks are used with direct quotes, with titles of certain works and to imply alternate meanings.

American style uses double quotes (“) for initial quotations, then single quotes (‘) for quotations within the initial quotation. British style uses single quotes (‘) for initial quotations, then double quotes (“) for quotations within the initial quotation.

The American style places commas and periods inside the quotation marks, even if they are not in the original material. British style places unquoted periods and commas outside the quotation marks. For all other punctuation, the British and American styles are in agreement: unless the punctuation is part of the quoted material, it goes outside the quotation marks.

Here are some examples of correct US English usage:

  • "I don't know about you, but I'm tired," he said.

  • The truth was too embarrassing, so Ben always pretended his favorite film was "Reservoir Dogs."

  • "Julie, remember what the Principal said: 'Everyone has a special talent.' What do you think yours could be?"

And here are a few examples of correct British English usage:

  • 'I wouldn't exactly call it "genius", but it was funny,' she conceded.

  • Adam sighed at the thought of spending his evening writing an essay on 'Wuthering Heights'.

  • 'Hey, look, Amy! It says "Open as usual", so we should try the door.'