Punctuation: Quotation marks

There are two types of quotation marks: single (' ') and double (" "). Quotation marks enclose quoted matter . In the UK double quotations are used to mark a quotation within a quotation.

Names and titles

Quotation marks are not used around names of sacred texts or their subdivisions, musical works identified by description or houses or public building.

Use quotation marks for titles of short poems and of TV and  radio programmes, and for title of chapters of books , articles and periodicals:

But when the subject of the paper is paraphrased or is a proper name, quotation marks are removed.

Use quotation marks to enclose an unfamiliar or  technical   world or a phrase . The effect is similar to that  of highlighting the term using italics.

Quotation marks shouldn't be  used around slang or colloquial words or phrases.

Relative placing with other punctuation

When the punctuation mark  is not part  of the quoted material, it is placed outside  the closing quotation:

  • They were called 'The blues band', i was told.

But when the quoted matter is a complete sentence or question, the terminal punctuation falls within the closing quotation mark :

  • He asked  'Will we ever see you again?'

When the omission is part of the quoted matter , the terminal punctuation falls within the closing quotation mark.

If the quoted matter is long or made up of more than one sentence, the terminal punctuation falls within the closing quotation mark.

Direct speech

In direct speech every change in speaker normally requires a new paragraph. A quoted speech may be interrupted at the beginning, middle or end:

  • 'Do this', he said, 'and you will be fine.'
  • 'No', he said,' this cannot be done.'

The words yes, no, where and why  are enclosed in quotation marks if they represent direct speech, but not when they represent speech or tacit paraphrasing:

  • He said 'Yes!', but he retorted 'No!'

Displayed quotations of poetry and prose take no quotation marks. If you are reporting extended speech passage of speech, use an opening quotation mark at the beginning of each paragraph, but use a closing one at the end of the last paragraph.

A transcript of a person's speech is usually treated like any other quotation as long as the identity of the speaker is clear.

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