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Quotation Marks and How to Use Them

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Pro Tips

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Singles quotes introducing themselves

Quotation marks come in various forms – double and single, curved and straight. If you’re here, you’ve probably been searching for answers, so we’re here to help!

Double Quotes ()

Double quotes are typically used for the following purposes. They are the standard convention for both American and British English.

Purpose Example
Direct speech The teacher asked, Who can solve this problem?
Quoting a source The article stated, The study concluded, Exercise enhances mental well-being.
Title of short literary works I just finished reading the book To Kill a Mockingbird.
Set apart a word They called it a luxury cruise, but the accommodations were far from lavish.
Nicknames or terms The Rock Johnson is a wrestler.

Single Quotes ()

Single quotes are less commonly used. They replace double quotation marks within other quotation marks, especially when quoting someone who’s quoting another person.

Here’s where the differences in British and American styles come into play. In British English, single quotation marks are standard, while American English leans towards double quotation marks. However, it’s increasingly common for people to mix British and American conventions today, especially for punctuation. The key is being consistent in your usage.

Purpose Example
Nested quote

British style:

The professor said, In his essay, John remarked, The author’s perspective is intriguing.

American style:

The professor said, In his essay, John remarked, The author’s perspective is intriguing.

Quote within a quote

British style:

She said, My favourite line from Shakespeare is To be or not to be.

American style:

She said, My favourite line from Shakespeare is To be or not to be.

Titles of works within titles

British style:

We discussed the article The Power of Yet in Learning.

American style:

We discussed the article The Power of Yet in Learning.

Curved Quotes () vs. Straight Quotes ("")

If you’ve spent hours trying to figure this out (we know it can be frustrating – we’ve been there!), it’s alright! Just know that there really is no right or wrong to curved and straight quotes as it all boils down to personal or stylistic preferences. The key is to be consistent and check that you’re using the same type of quotes throughout the copy, especially when you’re copying and pasting things from multiple sources.

We hope we’ve helped!

Whether you’re crafting dialogues, citing sources, or titling works, you’re going to have to use these quotation marks, so there’s no time like the present to master it. Need help navigating these nuances or seeking a meticulous proofread? We’re just a short message away. Tell us what you need, and we’ll get right back to you.