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Grammar Time: Double and Single Quotations

September 4, 2017

For today’s Grammar Time, we’ll discuss double and single quotation marks. Quotation marks are straightforward, right? Well, not always.

There are different rules that can be confusing, especially when it comes to quotation marks inside other quotations.

To keep things simple, we’ll go over the basics of double quotation rules. Many avid readers know that double quotation marks can be used to denote dialogue, but they can be used for more than that.

Correctly Using Double Quotes

Double quotes are generally used to set off direct quotations, some titles, and words that should be read with an ironic or sarcastic tone.

Direct quotations

  • “Our room is on the fourth floor. . . . That’s high,” said Sam.

Titles of shorter works, like blog posts, articles, songs, poems, and episodes of TV shows

  • The “Yellow Fever” episode of Supernatural is my favorite.

Words used ironically or sarcastically in a sentence

  • The pirates have plenty of “rules” for situations like this.

Using Quotes within Quotes

Now, let’s get to the rule in question—using quotation marks inside other quotations. Essentially, the inner use of double quotation marks is switched to single quotation marks. This rule makes it easier to visually tell the difference between the two separate quoted sections. Here are some examples:

  • “And then Danny yelled, ‘Get out before I call the cops!’ I couldn’t believe it,” Heather said.
  • “I could not stop laughing when I watched the Phineas and Ferb episode called ‘Meapless in Seattle.’”
  • “I’ve never had so much ‘fun’ in my life,” she said as she scraped the mud off her face.

If you ever have to quote something within a quote, just remember that the smaller quotes (the single quotes) go inside the double quotes. Thanks, folks!

By WritersDomain

WritersDomain is a team of in-house writers, editors, and support staff.

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