Quotation marks are punctuation marks and are also called inverted commas. They are used in pairs to set off direct speech, a quotation, and a few other things.
The other punctuation marks are used with quotation marks in the following way.
Full-stops and commas are placed before the last quotation mark.
Colons and semi-colons are placed outside of the end quotation mark.
Question marks and exclamation marks can be used inside or outside of the end quotation mark depending on how they are to be used.
A quotation mark is used to show the beginning and end of the exact words spoken.
- "Stop looking at my hair." she said to him.
(A full stop is placed before the last quotation mark.)
- Mum said to me, "Eat your lunch quietly."
(A comma is used before the first quotation mark to separate the quote from the rest of the sentence.)
- "Those horses are mine," said John Wayne.
Use quotation marks to enclose a quoted word, phrase or title.
- Word: What does 'anthropophagi' mean?
- Phrase: He habitually says, 'money cannot buy love.'
- Title: "War and Peace" is a novel by Leo Tolstoy.
A question mark that belongs to a quote is enclosed inside the quotation marks of the quote.
- Incorrect: She asked, "Do you like me"?
- Correct: She asked, "Do you like me?"
- Incorrect: Who is the girl who asked, "Do you like me?"?
- Correct: Who is the girl who asked, "Do you like me?"
- Incorrect: Did she actually say, "I don't want to see you again?"
- Correct: Did she actually say, "I don't want to see you again"?
A quote or title within a quote is set off by single quotation marks. This quote is enclosed within the double quotation marks.
- He said to me, "I have read twice 'War and Peace' by Leo Tolstoy."
- She said, “ ‘Ali’ is the name of my new pet camel.”