How to Use Quotation Marks

Quotation marks are usually employed or used when writing a wide range of works including articles, journals, books, compositions, manuscripts, play scripts among others. Quotation marks symbol resembles double or single commas with the opening quotation marks being inverted and the closing quotation marks being normal (upright) double or single commas. Hence, visually, quotation marks may be single quotation marks (‘…’) or double quotation marks (“…”).

QUOTATION MARKS USE AND EXAMPLES

  1. DOUBLE QUOTATION MARKS

Double quotation marks are used in writing when one wants to include quotes, which may be a whole paragraph, a sentence or even just a part of the sentence in his or her writing. Inclusion of direct quotes in one’s written work is essential as it makes the whole article lively and even interesting since it makes the reader try to imagine the words as they were being said by the individual quoted, for example;

The teacher said, “You have to submit your assignments before the next class.”

Double quotation marks may also be used when writing the titles of something such as a movie, book and an article among others. In one’s write up, for instance;

The movie “Black Panther” premieres this month.

The book “Think Big” by Ben Carson is so inspirational.

Double quotation marks may also be used to indicate emphasis to a word used in a sentence, irony, sarcasm or a situation when the writer does not buy to the meaning of the word in the context of a statement or sentence, for example:

Most governments employ workers by “merit.” In this case, the writer does not agree that the governments employ workers using their merit which could be an educational qualification or work experience.

Politicians “care” and “represent” the people’s needs and wants and they work to satisfy them accordingly. In this case the writer is sarcastic or ironical about the politicians caring and representing the people.

All students have done some “experimenting” in their lives especially during their high school life. In this case the writer does not mean that the students did some experimenting.

  1. SINGLE QUOTATION MARKS

Single quotation marks may be used to enclose or rather indicate a quote within a quote, for example:

“When I say you should be ‘cautious’ when walking along the street at night, I mean you should be extremely careful.

“Why did the teacher refer to her as ‘lazy’?”

Single quotation marks can also be used in headlines, let’s say of news.

Moreover, single quotation marks may be used to indicate words that have not been used for their intended meaning in a statement or sentence but only when the words have been used within another quote, double quotation marks would be used to enclose such words, for example,

He said, “It rained ‘cats and dogs’ yesterday afternoon.”

From this statement, the use of cats and dogs is a metaphor and does not literally mean that it rained cats and dogs.

Even with the necessity of use of the quotation marks, whether single or double, it is important for any writer to use them moderately so that his or her work does not look heavy laden or without any flow of ideas which will make the reader lose interest in reading it. Hence, quotation marks should be used periodically in an article or any other form of write up.

 DEFINITION OF QUOTATION

Quotation simply refers to the act of taking words or statements said by other people and repeating the same words or statements in one’s write up. For example;

The farmer said, “We registered the best harvest last year since the rains were on time and the climate was favorable for growth throughout the year.” 

QUOTATION MARK RULES EXPLAINED IN A SIMPLE WAY

  • Double quotation marks should always be used to indicate words or a statement that is exactly as it was said, that is, a direct quotation. For example,

Correct: The teacher said, “Hand in your assignments before the end of the week.”

Incorrect: The teacher said that “we should hand in our assignments before the end of the week.”

  • The first word of a quotation should always begin with a capital letter even when the statement is in the middle of the sentence. For instance,

Correct: After the meeting had ended, the manager said, “You have all done a commendable job hence you all deserve the reward.”

Incorrect: After the meeting ended, the manager said, “you have all done a commendable job hence you all deserve the reward.”

  • The quoted words that are a continuation of a sentence should not be started with a capital letter. For example,

Correct: After the meeting had ended, the manager said that, “you all have done a commendable job” and that, “you all deserve the reward.”

Incorrect: After the meeting had ended, the manager said that, “You all have done a commendable job,” and that, “You all deserve the reward.”

  • Commas should always be used before writing the quoted text except when the quoted text is only one word. For instance,

My mother shouted, “Why have you not completed your homework.”

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He shouted, “Come.”

  • The quotation should end with a comma only if the quoted text comes before statements such as; he said, she reported, they said among others. For example:

Correct: “They should be arriving today,” he said.

Incorrect: “They should be arriving today.” he said.

  • No commas should be used before or after a quotation mark if the quoted text is the subject or object of the sentence. For example,

Telling him “Stop calling me” sounded so rude.

  • Do periods go inside quotation marks? This is a common question asked by many people. Go periods and commas go inside quotation marks. For example,

The bus driver said, “Kindly fasten your seat belts properly.”

The bill-board was written, “Pay less for more.”

The manager said, “See me before noon,” then he shouted, “Or you will face the consequences.”

  • Do punctuation marks go inside quotation marks? The position of question marks and exclamation marks is dependent on the statement or sentence. If the question or exclamation mark is part of the quoted text, it stays inside the quotation marks. For instance,

The writer asked, “Which kind of books do you like reading?”

The teacher exclaimed, “You repeated the same mistake!”

If the question or exclamation mark is not part of the quoted text, it stays outside the quotation marks. For instance,

Does she love “Black Panther”?

I was shocked at her reaction to the song “When He Cometh”!

In the case of semicolons, colons and dashes, they come after the quotation marks. For example,

The teacher tried to learn the song “I Care”-just after the band finished playing.

She has always loved the movie “Beyond the Heights”; you will always find her watching it.

  • If a quote is within a quoted text or statement, the single quotation marks should be used to enclose or indicate the quoted text. For example,

The students reported, “We saw some writings on the wall such as ‘I have done my part’ on their classroom walls.”

  • If the quoted statement or text is more than one paragraph, then each new paragraph should be started with opening quotation marks, but the closing quotation marks should be used only at the end of the whole text and not at the end of each paragraph.

DEFINING MLA QUOTATION

In the MLA writing style, quotations have different styles of being written depending on the length of the quoted text.

Short quotations

When writing short quotations in one’s work, the quoted text should be enclosed in double quotation marks. The writer should include the author and the specific page from which the quoted text was derived from in the text and also a reference on the Works Cited Page. Question and exclamation marks should be within the quotation marks if they are part of the quotation but after the citation or quoted text if they are part of the writer’s text. Punctuation marks, on the other hand, should be written after the quoted text.

Long quotations

For long quotations, those that are more than one paragraph, the quoted text should be placed in a free-standing block of text written at about half an inch from the left-hand margin with no quotation marks enclosing the whole quoted or cited text. If the writer wishes to add words or text within the quoted text, he or she should place those words in brackets to show that they are not part of the quotation.

DEFINIG APA QUOTATION

Short Quotations

If a writer wants to include a short quote in the write-up, the author’s last name, year of publication in brackets and page number should be written before the quotation.

Long quotations

If the quoted text is more than one paragraph, it should be written in a free-standing block, similar to the MLA format, half an inch from the left margin. It is good to understand how to use the quotations in your essay as it will help you come up with quality content.