Tag Archive - quote marks

Stay Inside the Quote Marks

Unless you are writing British (UK) style, always put commas and periods within the quotation marks in speech. I’m not sure why so many writers don’t follow this simple rule, and I often see them using single quotes randomly instead of double quotes. The rule is that you use double quotes for everything, unless you are putting a quote (single quote) inside another quote (double quote):

Wrong:

  • “Here’s your newspaper”, he said.
  • He called her a “wacko”.
  • They call him a ‘nutcase.’

Correct:

  • “Here’s your newspaper,” he said.
  • He called her a “wacko.”
  • They call him a “nutcase.”

The exceptions are em dashes . . .

“I wouldn’t do that”—he gave her a stern look—“if I were you!”

. . . and semicolons, if used in this type of manner:

I think you’re “cute”; however, not first thing in the morning.

There are also occasions when question marks belong between single and double quotes, such as:

“What do you mean by ‘I’m dumb’?”

The context determines the placement of question marks (and exclamation marks).