Quotation Marks

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Why Do We Need Quotation Marks?

Quotation marks are needed to mark a phrase or sentence as a quotation, direct speech, or literal title or name.

e.g. “Whoa, guys, did you launch a hurricane here?” Jim asked when he entered our room and saw the mess all over the floor.

Quotation marks can also be used to mark an ironic or even sarcastic intonation.

e.g. In all those “stylish” motley clothes she usually wears, she definitely looks weird.

How to Use Quotation Marks Properly

1. If you insert direct speech in the middle of a sentence, you should put a comma before the quotation marks. However, if you use direct speech first and then comes the indirect speech, put a comma at the end of direct speech, right before the closing quotation mark.

e.g. I looked for her everywhere, so I lost my patience and cried, “Lisa, stop hiding and come out!”

e.g. “There are things that nobody except you can do,” my dad told me once.

2. If you need to use a colon or a semicolon right after a quotation mark, you must put it outside.

e.g. I called to that fancy pizza house and ordered a thing called “Super-duper Thelonious Stuff”; I hope it tastes better than it sounds.

3. If you need to use a dash along with a quotation mark, you should put it outside as well.

e.g. One silly friend of mine had once said: “I think, therefore I am”—and disappeared.

4. Unlike the previous two cases, question and exclamation marks are used inside quotation marks.

e.g. “Look, I’ve found a hedgehog! Come here, take a peek at it!” my small sister decried.

5. Single quotation marks can be used inside double quotation marks to indicate direct speech within direct speech.

e.g. I heard Ann saying, “And then John yelled, ‘Everybody get the hell out of there!’”

6. A period indicating the end of direct speech is usually put inside quotation marks.

e.g. Her intense conversation with her boss was finished with his short phrase, “You are fired.”

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