March 21, 2018

When to Use Single and Double Quotation Marks

Double Quotation Marks

In US English, quoted words and phrases should be enclosed by double quotation marks. These quotation marks inform the reader that the words are not those of the author but are taken from an outside source. The source may be someone the author has interviewed firsthand or a written source such as a newspaper article, book, or website.

Mickey said, “Donald had excellent diction and perfect pitch!” We can assume that Mickey was referring to Donald while he was not in the middle of one of his famous outbursts.

Single Quotations Marks

Single quotations marks are used when a quote is being referenced inside of another quote. Single quotation marks inform the reader that the quoted source is citing an additional source.

“Donald had excellent diction and perfect pitch!” Mickey said. “But Minnie just told him, ‘It was not half bad.’ I am not sure I can agree with Minnie; her comment seemed a little inconsiderate.”

Terminal punctuation, regardless of which type of quotations marks is used, is placed inside the quotation marks at the end of the sentence.

Block Quotations

Long quotes that span several lines should be moved to block quotations if possible. A block quotation does not require double quotations marks, as the block quotation itself informs the reader that the content was not written by the author. If the block quotation contains unoriginal work from the quoted source, then double quotations marks should be used instead of single quotations marks within the block quotation.

Micky continued on about Donald’s character:

Donald has a positive outlook on life that cannot be rivaled. He is a practical joker and indulges all too often in playing tricks on his nephews: Huey, Dewy, and Louie. Minnie told me, “That is giving Donald too much credit, he can dish it out, but can’t take it.” I would agree that he can be a little short-tempered over a worm with a mind of its own.

Quotation marks are used to inform a reader that the enclosed content is not the author’s original writing. It is an author’s responsibility to give credit to sources used to strengthen a thesis statement. Papercheck provides editing for popular writing styles such as APA, ASA, AMA, Chicago, CSE, Turabian, AP, or MLA. These writing styles help the author format cited sources and give the reader a quick way to verify the cited content.