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Punctuation

Quotation Marks: Quote/Unquote

Nothing spices up your writing like a few juicy quotations. Just consider what a letter would be like without a little dialogue—as dry as rice cakes. Here's how to use these cute little partners in crime.

  • Use quotation marks to set off a speaker's exact words.
  • Example: “Is that person a man or a woman?” we asked.
  • Use quotation marks to set off the titles of short works such as poems, essays, songs, short stories, and magazine articles.
  • Example: “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
  • Use single quotation marks to set off quoted material or the titles of short works within a quotation enclosed by double quotation marks.
  • Example: As the wit said, “‘Health’ is the slowest possible rate of dying.”
  • Use quotation marks to set off a defin-ition.
  • Example: The word karaoke means “So you think you can sing? Think again.”
Quoth the Maven

Place periods and commas inside of the end quotation mark; place colons and semicolons outside of the end quotation mark. Question marks and exclamation marks go inside or outside of the end quotation mark, depending on the meaning.

book cover

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Grammar and Style © 2003 by Laurie E. Rozakis, Ph.D.. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book direct from the publisher, visit the Penguin USA website or call 1-800-253-6476. You can also purchase this book at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.


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