Quotation Marks Punctuation Rules and Examples

Quotation marks are used in English writing to serve various purposes. Let’s look at their rules, purpose, and examples.

Quotation Marks: " and '

There are two types of quotation marks in English: double quotation marks " and single quotation marks '.

Direct Speech:

Double quotation marks are used to enclose someone’s exact spoken or written words.

Example: “I’m going home now,” she said.

Quotes within Quotes:

When a quotation appears inside another quotation, you typically use single quotation marks inside double quotation marks.

Example: “She said, ‘I’m going home now.'”

Highlighting Specific Words or Phrases:

Quotation marks can be used to highlight a specific word or phrase, such as when defining it or indicating that it’s being used in a special way.

Example: The word “apple” comes from the Old English word “æppel.”

Titles of Short Works:

Double quotation marks are often used to enclose the titles of short works like articles, poems, and short stories.

Example: “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe.

Sarcasm or Irony:

Quotation marks can be used to indicate sarcasm, irony, or that a word is being used in an unusual or special sense.

Example: He’s a “great” friend, always talking behind my back.

Dialogue in Writing:

In writing, especially fiction, quotation marks are used to denote dialogue or conversation between characters.

Example: “How are you?” asked John.

Not for Emphasis:

It’s important to note that quotation marks shouldn’t be used for emphasis. For example, writing “Fresh” Fish is incorrect. Use italics or bold instead for emphasis.

See also  Em Dash Punctuation Rules and Examples


Quotation marks guide the reader, indicating where someone’s words begin and end, or highlighting a specific term or phrase. They help maintain clarity and show how language is being used within the text.


Quotation marks are valuable punctuation marks used to enclose direct speech, highlight specific words or phrases, and indicate quotes within quotes. They add precision to writing and assist the reader in understanding the author’s intent. By using them correctly, you can enhance the clarity and expressiveness of your writing.

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