Use quotation marks to set off a direct quotation only. Use quotation marks to set off a direct quotation only


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Use quotation marks to set off a direct quotation only.

  • Use quotation marks to set off a direct quotation only.

  • Examples:

    • "When will you be here?" he asked.
    • He asked when you will be there.


Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks, even inside single quotes.

  • Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks, even inside single quotes.

    • Quotation marks always come in pairs. Do not open a quotation and fail to close it at the end of the quoted material.
  • Examples:

    • The sign changed from "Walk," to "Don't Walk," to "Walk" again within 30 seconds.
    • She said, "Hurry up."
    • She said, "He said, 'Hurry up.'"


Capitalize the first letter of a direct quote when the quoted material is a complete sentence.

  • Capitalize the first letter of a direct quote when the quoted material is a complete sentence.

  • Example:

    • Mr. Johnson, who was working in his field that morning, said, "The alien spaceship appeared right before my own two eyes."


Use a comma to introduce a quotation after a standard dialogue tag, a brief introductory phrase, or a dependent clause.

  • Use a comma to introduce a quotation after a standard dialogue tag, a brief introductory phrase, or a dependent clause.

  • Examples:

    • The detective said, "I am sure who performed the murder."
    • As D.H. Nachas explains, "The gestures used for greeting others differ greatly from one culture to another."


If a direct quotation is interrupted mid-sentence, do not capitalize the second part of the quotation.

  • If a direct quotation is interrupted mid-sentence, do not capitalize the second part of the quotation.

  • Example:

    • "I didn't see an actual alien being," Mr. Johnson said, "but I sure wish I had."


Do not use a capital letter when the quoted material is a fragment or only a piece of the original material's complete sentence.

  • Do not use a capital letter when the quoted material is a fragment or only a piece of the original material's complete sentence.

  • Example:

    • Although Mr. Johnson has seen odd happenings on the farm, he stated that the spaceship "certainly takes the cake" when it comes to unexplainable activity.


The placement of question marks with quotes follows logic. If a question is in quotation marks, the question mark should be placed inside the quotation marks.

  • The placement of question marks with quotes follows logic. If a question is in quotation marks, the question mark should be placed inside the quotation marks.

  • Examples:

    • She asked, "Will you still be my friend?"  
    • Do you agree with the saying, "All's fair in love and war"?
    • Here the question is outside the quote.
  • NOTE: Only one ending punctuation mark is used with quotation marks. Also, the stronger punctuation mark wins. Therefore, no period after war is used.



When you have a question outside quoted material AND inside quoted material, use only one question mark and place it inside the quotation mark.

  • When you have a question outside quoted material AND inside quoted material, use only one question mark and place it inside the quotation mark.

  • Example:

    • Did she say, "May I go?"


Use single quotation marks for quotes within quotes. Note that the period goes inside all quote marks.

  • Use single quotation marks for quotes within quotes. Note that the period goes inside all quote marks.

  • Example:

    • He said, "Danea said, 'Do not treat me that way.'"


When continuing a quotation through multiple paragraphs, there is no quotation mark at the end of the paragraph, but there is one at the start of the next paragraph.

  • When continuing a quotation through multiple paragraphs, there is no quotation mark at the end of the paragraph, but there is one at the start of the next paragraph.

  • Example:

    • “…I told you I didn’t know where he was hiding, why won’t you believe me?
    • “Just because we used to date, doesn’t mean I’d stick up for him…”


With a quote that is more than three lines long use an indented block.

  • With a quote that is more than three lines long use an indented block.

  • Example:

    • Five years ago the College Board added a writing section to the SAT test and many schools started requiring it, now however, more and more are not longer asking for that score:


When you are quoting something that has a spelling or grammar mistake or presents material in a confusing way, insert the term sic in italics and enclose it in brackets. Sic means, "This is the way the original material was."

  • When you are quoting something that has a spelling or grammar mistake or presents material in a confusing way, insert the term sic in italics and enclose it in brackets. Sic means, "This is the way the original material was."

  • Example:

    • She wrote, "I would rather die then [sic] be seen wearing the same outfit as my sister." Should be than, not then.


If the original quote is too long and you feel not all the words are necessary in your own paper, you may omit part of the quote. Replace the missing words with an ellipsis (…).

  • If the original quote is too long and you feel not all the words are necessary in your own paper, you may omit part of the quote. Replace the missing words with an ellipsis (…).

    • Original: "It's quite simple. They played a better game, scored more points, and that's why we lost.“
    • Omitted: "It's quite simple. They . . . scored more points, and that's why we lost.“
  • Make sure that the words you remove do not alter the basic meaning of the original quote in any way.



If the context of your quote might be unclear, you may add a few words to provide clarity. Enclose the added material in brackets.

  • If the context of your quote might be unclear, you may add a few words to provide clarity. Enclose the added material in brackets.

  • Example:



Quotation marks may additionally be used to indicate words used ironically or with some reservation.

  • Quotation marks may additionally be used to indicate words used ironically or with some reservation.

  • Examples:

    • The great march of "progress" has left millions impoverished and hungry.


Do not use quotation marks for words used as words themselves. In this case, you should use italics.

    • Do not use quotation marks for words used as words themselves. In this case, you should use italics.
    • Examples:
    • The English word nuance comes from a Middle French word meaning "shades of color."



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