Quotation Marks

It’s right in the name — quo­ta­tion marks go around a quote, which is some­thing some­one said. Here are the details:

  • Periods and com­mas always go with­in quo­ta­tion marks, unless you’re quot­ing an exact word or phrase where the addi­tion of the punc­tu­a­tion would be inaccurate. 
    • All oth­er punc­tu­a­tion: deter­mine if it applies to the whole sen­tence. If so, it goes out­side the quo­ta­tion. If the punc­tu­a­tion only applies to what’s with­in the quo­ta­tion marks, it goes inside them.
  • Single quo­ta­tion marks should be used only for a quote with­in a quote, or for a quote with­in a headline.
  • If a run­ning quo­ta­tion spans mul­ti­ple para­graphs, you only need the clos­ing quo­ta­tion mark on the last para­graph. (You still need open­ing quo­ta­tion marks at the begin­ning of each new para­graph in the quote.)

But they don’t stop there. Quotation marks are used when ref­er­enc­ing books or movies, or to be iron­ic. Also add them when you use a term or phrase your audi­ence may not be famil­iar with (i.e., jar­gon), or to call out words or phras­es you’re refer­ring to.

Last Updated: 5 May 2020 at 2:13pm CDT