Quotation Mark Usage

In the workplace, correct usage of quotation marks is essential. Today, you’ll get a basic overview of quotation mark usage.

Quotation marks are called for in the following situations:

  • To note someone else’s exact written or spoken words. **Remember that quotation marks indicate that the words within the quotes are exactly what the person said — word-for-word.
    • Shelly said, “I would never do that in one million years.”

  • To note the title of short works or smaller parts of a bigger work. Short works include songs, book chapters, poems, articles, short stories and essays.
    • “Wild Horses”: A song by the Rolling Stones

Remember the following tips about quotation mark usage:

  • In the workplace or in research writing, it is crucial that your quotes are exact. Otherwise, you may state what someone wrote or said with an indirect quote.
    • Direct quote: Carol said, “I absolutely hate this restaurant.”
    • Indirect quote: Carol said that she didn’t like the restaurant.

  • Always make sure that you provide closing quotation marks for every quote.
  • Commas and periods should always be inserted before the closing quotation mark.
    • Stacy said, “Insert a period at the end of that sentence.”

  • Exclamation points and question marks should always be inserted after the closing quotation mark, unless they are part of the quotation.
    • “Do you believe his luck?” Robin asked me after the lottery drawing.
  • Colons and semicolons should always be inserted after the closing quotation mark, unless they are part of the quotation.
    • If you remember one thing about what your father said today, let it be, “Don’t let negative people get the best of you”; but I understand that sometimes that’s easier said than done.

  • When you need to use quotation marks within a quote, you should use single quotation marks for the interior quote.
    • “I don’t usually listen to the Beach Boys but I do like their song ‘Feel Flows’ a lot,” Mike said.
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