When to Use Quotation Marks

When to Use Quotation Marks | Rules with Commas, Periods & More

I'm guessing you've seen at least a couple of quotation marks today. They're all over the place. If you are unfamiliar with the rules, using these upside-down commas may be challenging. These rules are the basic writing skills that everyone should know. As we all know that writing comes naturally (Stearns and Reid, 2004). So those who are unskilled have to learn. For example, when should you use single or double quotation marks? What happens to the punctuation?

For your Assistance...Quotation marks are the type of punctuation that is used to separate words in the text to show dialogue, direct quotes, and specific titles. The most frequent use of quotation marks is to indicate a direct quote or something that has been spoken. That is, they show something that was said word for word. They serve a few crucial grammatical functions, which can be confusing, especially if you're not sure whether to use double or single quotation marks.

We explain everything you need to know about quotation marks in this guide. We go over things like how scare quotes function when to use quotation marks in titles, and the difference between double and single quotation marks. When to use quotation marks (including the Golden Rule).

Not only that you can see how quotation marks are used by looking at the numerous quotation examples we provide. First, go over the definition of the quotation marks to establish the concept.

What is the quotation marks symbol?

The quotation marks symbol is just a type of punctuation that is used to differentiate words and passages from the rest of the text. Quotes, also known as "blocks," are punctuation marks that resemble commas but are placed above lines rather than below them.

The difference between single and double quotation marks is simply the placement of two "commas" next to one another. However, quotation marks can be used either way, unlike commas. Whether a quotation mark comes before or after the quote determines which way it faces.

Now you will probably think, “what are the quotation marks rules and how do we use them?”

But wait before we go over the quotation marks rules we will discuss the difference between single and double quotation marks.

What’s the difference between double and single quotation marks?

Single and double quotes serve different purposes, but writers frequently mix them up. When quotation marks are used incorrectly, it is difficult to determine their purpose.

In your writing, direct speech should typically be denoted with double quotes. The following example uses double quotes, which are shown in bold:

I said, “This is the quotation examples”

Single quotes are frequently used alongside double quotes in sentences even though they aren't in the same way. To demonstrate a quote within a quote, use single quotes. Single quotations are also useful for displaying a quote in a headline or a title within a quote.

The single quotation marks are highlighted in the following illustration to show what that would resemble:

She said, “He is the writer of ‘Peace and life’ and three other books.”

International students may find it difficult to use quotations because American and British English have different grammar rules for doing so. In this article, we'll concentrate on the quotation conventions that apply to American English writing and literature. Always refer to your style manual or other relevant writing references when writing in British English.

Quotation marks: when to use them

It is beneficial to divide quotation mark rules according to their function. So, here are the six most common uses for quotation marks.

  1. Directly quote a source

    When a passage is taken verbatim from another source, it is one of the most frequent uses of quotation marks to denote a direct quote. Put the words in quotation marks if you're quoting someone else and using their exact words, sentence, or phrase.

    There are many different types of quotations, but you always need to use quotation marks when quoting someone verbatim. The use of a sentence or phrase from an earlier work, typically to support the writer's thesis, is most prevalent in nonfiction writing.

    Stephen Hawking told that the Higgs boson could cause "catastrophic vacuum decay" in the universe, which would be caused by "a bubble of the true vacuum expanding at the speed of light."

  1. Display or transcribe the dialogue

    In written texts, speech is indicated with quotation marks. They are frequently used in nonfiction to record what people said, such as during interviews or eyewitness accounts. Whenever a character speaks aloud in a work of fiction, they are used to write the dialogue.

    He asked the nurse urgently, "Where is the emergency department?"

    You don't need quotation marks if you're paraphrasing someone else's words.

    He asked the nurse urgently where the emergency department was.

  1. Indicate the titles of brief works

    Apart from quotes and speeches, quotation marks are also used in the titles of works in English. The titles of some types of works, but not all, are surrounded by quotation marks so that the reader will understand that they are references.

    Songs, short stories, and other short literary works frequently have quotation marks in their titles. Long-form titles, such as those for plays, films, and books, are in italics.

    "Tulips," a poem by Sylvia Plath, has a joyful title but is a depressing subject.

  1. Talk about words as words

    Set a word, phrase, or letter apart with quotation marks if you want to discuss it in writing without referring to it in its original context. Depending on the style format, some writers use italics without quotation marks for this purpose.

    The letter "p" in "pterodactyl" is silent.

  1. Quotes about scare

    Scare or tremble quotes are used to indicate that a term is used in an unconventional manner or that the writer is attempting to distance themself or the subject from the term. As an example:

    She considers herself to be a "talented" artist.

  1. Distinguish between a nickname and a given name

    As a final tip, use quotation marks to separate a person's nickname from their given name when writing it next to their name so that the reader is aware it is not a part of their legal name. The quoted nickname is usually placed between the first and last names, but this is not always the case.

    Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson can't get away from his wrestling roots.

    If a famous person is best known by their nickname, as many historical figures are, no quotes are required.

    Although there is no longer any historical record of Richard the Lionheart being gay, many historians still hold this belief.

Quotation marks: Rules for commas, periods, and other punctuation

Fortunately, there aren't many rules for using quotation marks in punctuation.

  1. Rules for commas and periods

    As long as they don't alter the quotation's meaning, commas and periods should be used in American English when enclosing sentences. When introducing a direct quote, a comma is put before quotation marks. A comma is always inserted inside the quotation marks if the speaker's biography appears after the quote.

    He said, "I'm going to be late for class today."

    If you're breaking a phrase in two, use a comma after the very first part, as well as inside quotation marks.

    "My goodness," my father said, "take off your spoiled shoes before entering the house."

    But this only applies to American English, just like when you use single quotation marks. Outside of quotation marks, punctuation is used in British English.

  1. Rules for exclamation points and question mark

    When punctuation, such as an exclamation point or question mark, would alter the meaning of the quotation, however, that is when the punctuation does not relate to the quotation, it should be used outside the quotation marks.

    He asked, "Is it alright if I arrive at class a few minutes late today?"

    Does he always say, "I'll be late for class today"?

  1. Rules with Semicolons and Colons

    When the text presenting the quoted sentence could remain alone as a sentence, use a colon and semicolon. It is also the most common mark used to begin a block quotation. We return to a simple rule with colons, semicolons, and asterisk dashes. They go outside the quotation mark.

    She has two chosen personalities from “A Sample Short Story”: Jane and John.

  1. Rules with Period

    If the introductory text is a complete sentence on its own, a period should come before the block quotation. A colon is also appropriate and sometimes preferred in such cases.

  1. Rules with no punctuation

    There should be no punctuation before the quotation if the material is directly taken from your introduction. Punctuation is not required to start a brief quotation. The run-in quotation is the one that is most frequently used with the unpunctuated lead-in, but block quotations that directly follow the introduction can also use this format.

Wrapping up

Periods and commas must always be placed inside the closing quotation mark in American English. Semicolons, asterisks, colons, and dashes must always be placed outside the closing quotation mark. Question and exclamation marks must be interpreted in light of the context of the sentence.

As a result, all of these quotation marks uses and rules can be difficult to remember while writing. But it is important to hone these skills. Because these small things matter in case of persuading readers. If you fail in persuading readers that will be a minus point (masteressaywriters, 2022). However, with time and practice, you will be proficient in this frequently misunderstood aspect of grammar. Apart from this, you can also consult the Dissertation writing guide in case of urgency.


  1. Does punctuation go inside quotation marks?

    Periods and commas are only used inside closing quotation marks if an original quoted material used those punctuation marks as well. If the punctuation relates to the quotation itself, a question mark or exclamation point goes within the closing quotation marks. If the punctuation relates to the entire sentence, it is placed outside the quotation marks.

  1. How to use quotation marks?

    When a word's validity is questioned, when a direct quote is being used, when speech is being translated into text, when a title for a short work like a poem is being used, when a word is being used without referencing its intended meaning, and when distinguishing between a nickname and a formal name, quotation marks are used.

  1. Does a period go inside quotation marks?

    Periods should be inserted inside quotation marks in American English if they were included in the original quote or were added by an author to complete the sentence. They are only used outside of quotation marks if there is a phrase citation following the quotation, so in that case they are placed after the parentheses. For that, you can get examples from Oscola reference generator types services.

  1. Do commas go inside quotes?

    When directly quoting another person's speech, text, or thoughts, commas always come before the quotation mark. Additionally, whenever they are used in written texts to denote dialogue, they are placed before quotation marks.

  1. What are the 3 rules for using quotations?

    The three main rules of quotation marks are listed below.

    1. Put quotation marks inside punctuation marks.
    2. Make the first letter of a quoted sentence capital.
    3. At the start of each new paragraph that is being quoted, put in an opening quotation mark.
  1. What is the function of quotation marks?

    The main purpose of quotation marks is to distinguish specific words from other text, usually to denote direct quotations. But they can also be used to denote the titles from certain works or the fact that a phrase doesn't use a word in its literal sense.

  1. Does Grammarly help with quotation marks?

    Grammarly can be useful. Grammarly not only suggests punctuation but also detects inconsistencies such as different apostrophes or quotation mark styles. It also includes an "update all" option to ensure that the entire document is styled consistently. Not only Grammarly, but you can also look at assignment help UK based services. They also do the same thing for you in a different style.