Quotation Marks Rules: Grammar Guide - Owlcation - Education
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Quotation Marks Rules: Grammar Guide

Quotation Mark Rules

How to use question marks properly. Below is a list of rules and usages. If you have any additions, please feel free to leave a comment below!

Quotation Marks Around Dialogue

Quotes around dialogue is the most common use of quotation marks. We use quotes around direct quotations or a person's exact words. (This includes printed words or spoken words.) Remember:

  1. Each set of direct quotes receives its own set of quotation marks.
  2. Use a capital letter at the beginning of each direct quotation unless the quotation is only part of a sentence.
  3. When quotations are interrupted mid-way through the sentence, do not begin the second part of the sentence with a capital.
  4. When stating who is being quoted, use a comma after the dialogue tag and before the quotation marks.
  5. When you are rephrasing a quoted passage, do not use quotation marks.
  6. Each new direct quote begins a new paragraph even if it's short.
  • David said, "I would rather go to the city on Friday night because they are having a great play in the park."
  • David stated that he, "would rather go to the city on Friday night" because of a show in the park.
  • "He loves to see plays," Jaymee said, "especially outside."

Quotation Within a Quotation

Use single quotation marks when quoting inside a quote. Note: at the end of my example is a single quote and a double quote.

The professor explained, "I love the quote by Mark Twain that said, 'Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.'"

The Long and Short of It

When quoting long passages, more than four typed lines, indent one inch from the left margin or two tabs, and do not use quotation marks. When quoting poetry that is three lines or longer, indent to the same specifications as a long passage. The poem should be quoted as the poet wrote it. (My indentation is not working, so just pretend the poem is indented.)

  • In his poem, "House," Drax writes:

I miss you,

feet of rain on the tin,

wind whispering the weather,

silent stars and satellites,

mist creeping up from the lake,

When quoting one or two lines of poetry, use the rules for any other short quotation.

  • In his poem, "House," Drax writes: "I miss you, / feet of rain on the tin," (I used a slash mark to represent a new line.)

Titles-When Don't I Use Quotes?

Underline or italicize these works; DO NOT use quotation marks with these titles:

  • Books
  • Plays that contain more than three acts
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Journals
  • Movies
  • Television or radio shows
  • The Bible or other religious texts or documents
  • Conference proceedings
  • Collections of plays, poems, essays, and short stories
  • Operas
  • Long musical compositions
  • Albums or CDs
  • Works of Art
  • Legal cases

Titles-When do I Use Quotes?

Use quotation marks with these titles:

  • Songs
  • Short stories
  • Short poems
  • One-act plays
  • Essays
  • Chapters in books
  • Articles in newspapers
  • Magazine articles
  • Journal articles
  • Periodicals
  • Television or radio episodes
  • Short literary works
  • Theses
  • Dissertations
  • Unpublished lectures, speeches and papers
  • Manuscripts
  • Reports
  • Official titles of art exhibits

Quotes to Indicate Irony

Use quotation marks when you want to emphasize an irony or something unusual. I once had a student ask me, "Mrs. Edmondson, do we have 'homework' tonight?" He put the term "homework" in quotes with his fingers or air quotes. Although his use of quotes was incorrect, he really did have homework that night, it made me laugh. Here's a correct example:

  • Even though she has a lot of time off, she claimed that she was too "busy" to help with the school project.

Punctuation with Quotation Marks

  1. Use commas or standard punctuation within quotation marks unless a parenthetical reference follows the quotation.
  • She said, "I love to dance."
  • In his book, From Beruit to Jerusalem, Thomas Friedman said, "Every serious Beruit militia...had a spokesman and a few assistants" (66).

2. Colons and semicolons belong OUTSIDE of quotation marks.

  • Corie described the day as "absolutely gorgeous"; the sun was shining and the air was crisp.

3. Refer to the complete sentence when providing ending punctuation.

  • When did she exclaim, "We won first prize"?
  • She exclaimed, "We won first prize!"

Italics or Quotes with Specific Words

Use quotes or italics when specifically referring to a term.

  • We use the word it's when referring to the contraction it is.

or

  • We us the word "it's" when referring to the contraction "it is."

Thoughts, Comments or Questions?

Sarah Forester from Australia on February 24, 2014:

My English teacher will tell you that I struggled with quotation marks like it was going out of fashion, thanks for the Hub!

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on January 07, 2014:

Thanks, Earl! My sister got me a t-shirt for xmas that reads, "I'm silently correcting your grammar." I'm not likely to snap one's knuckles! Thanks for stopping by. ;)

Earl Noah Bernsby from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on January 05, 2014:

Thanks for this refresher on proper usage, Mrs. E. I didn't realize that I had forgotten some of the finer points of quotation vs. italics until I read your Hub! (I can almost feel the snap of my former English teacher's ruler on my poor suffering knuckles!)

Minecraft on October 06, 2012:

This was really helpful!!! I'm writing this paper for school, and this will really help improve the quality of it. Thank you SOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!

louromano on March 20, 2012:

This was so useful! I'm editing my end of the year English project for grammar and I totally would have gotten allot wrong! :S Thanks so much :)

turtle on March 07, 2012:

how would you phrase a quotation in the middle of a non-quotated snetance????

Aisha! on February 05, 2012:

Hello,this blog is awesome, and way more simple than my own English teachers ever were! I have a question though because aafter reading some responses I got confused... I am writing an exposatory paragraph for English class and wanted to know if I should be italicizing the sentence fragment that is in quotation marks. (in the sentence below)They are some of Pip's thoughts in Great Expectations.

When reading one of the scenes where Estella is cruel towards him, the reader feels sympathy for Pip and has disdain towards Estella… but would not have imagined that "pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day…” (p. 75) and that link grew into said chain that would affect Pip’s life forever.

I said, " " on January 31, 2012:

Robin,

Thanks. This is all very informative. I do have a question though. When the the person is quoting something they said such as: I said, "this or that." Is this correct? We've been discussing this at work and it appears everyone has their own opinion of what it should be or whether it is correct or not. Please help.

Jack on January 18, 2012:

I am writing something where you have to say the name of a book in it like this- Cara from "The Lost World" and then you underline the title also correct?

Turnstile138 on January 12, 2012:

Why did you put quotes before the period with your phrase, "it is," in your section on specific words?

kay kamp on January 02, 2012:

what about using "pop"? As in, the kids heard "Pop!" "Pop!" "Pop!" ? or "Bang!"? or etc.?

Zen on December 11, 2011:

Hello here, this was useful to confirm my knowledge, correct any misunderstandings I had, and to explain why it is the way it is. However, I still have a question. When someone stutters like:

He said, "I-I really like your shirt."

or

"W-Where is the bathroom?"

Would we capitalize the second "W" or would we leave it lowercase (like: "W-where is the bathroom?")?

Thanks in advance!

Stacy on December 03, 2011:

HI,

Do I need quotation marks in this sentence?

I said the pig is fat.

sara on November 28, 2011:

hello i need an immediate response my short story is due tommorow

okay say for instince the teacher is talking for more than 3 sentasnces like this

the soup was good. it was delicious . very tastey

would i put quotation marks from the all the way to tastey or from the to good from it to delicious and from very to tastey plase help robin

Arturo on November 22, 2011:

Hello there, Robin.

I was wondering if new paragraphs are to be started in quotes with new dialogue, or if the quote continues without a new paragraph.

Thanks.

Ken Long on November 10, 2011:

When writing a series of words which are all in quotes, where does the comma go. The words he cited were "broken", "fixed", and "rebroken." Or, is it "broken," "fixed," and "rebroken"?

Gabrielle on November 10, 2011:

I have questions about punctuation and capitalization in chapter names of a book. I'm writing a book with catchy chapter names that sometimes contain a quote that someone said. It feels like I should not capitalize the words in the spoken part of the title and should use normal sentence capitalization and capitalization for that section of the title, but use title caps for the rest of the title. Is that correct? Are the examples below correct?

“It’s a ringtone on my cell phone.”

“I got into college!” on a Highway in Singapore

“I love you, Mannoo” or, If You Don’t Like Baby Talk, Skip to Chapter Two

That last one is tricky. Should there be a period after Mannoo? I don't like to start sentences with a conjunction, but should it be like this:

“I love you, Mannoo.” Or, If You Don’t Like Baby Talk, Skip to Chapter Two

Thanks!

jen on November 10, 2011:

Robin, I am writing an academic essay in which I state "...to bring quality reading initiatives into the classroom to positively impact the Logans of our schools." Do I need to put Logans in quotation marks? (It refers back to a previous anecdote in the paper of a struggling reader) Thanks!!!

gladys P on November 08, 2011:

I'm writing a novel. A Grandmother is telling a story to her Grandchildren. It is several paragraphs long. Do I open and close each paragraph with double quotation marks? I have a feeling I use quotation marks to open each paragraph but don't use closing quotation marks until the end.

If this is right, what are the rules for speech within the spoken story. e.g.

The priest was probably trying to understand my motives."

Priest: “’Why do you want to be a nun?’ He asked.” (Is this right?: Priest's quotations around his speech and Narrator's quotations around speech (ie the story she is recounting)

Narrator: “’I’ve been thinking about it for a while.’” (Does narrator's speech have to have double and single quotation marks because she is telling the story and also speaking within the story?)

Priest: “’Lots of people think about it. What’s different about you?’” (Have I got this right: Double quotes for narrator and single quotes for priest)

rli on November 01, 2011:

When using quotation marks to indicate an ironic word and that word comes at the end of the sentence, does the punctuation go inside the quotation mark or outside?

taylor on October 31, 2011:

where do i put puncuation marks in this sentence?

1. ...and "Those winter Sundays".

or

2. ...and "Those Winter Sundays."

Im not sure on September 23, 2011:

your the best

Justin on September 08, 2011:

What if you're paraphrasing, or even making up what somebody would say? I'd imagine you don't use quotations if it's not exact, right?

Example 1:

It's not like John said get the hell out.

Example 2:

At the grocery store, the clerk said coupons were not accepted if they were printed.

Also, would you still put a comma after "said" in these cases? And yes I know, rephrase those 2 in some way I'm sure you'll say, but I hate rephrasing. I want to learn, not avoid how to do it.

Greg Kozel on September 08, 2011:

Thanks for showing me how to do this "correctly."

Yadi on September 06, 2011:

Would you use quotation marks around: No Child Left Behind Act, that is in an essay? Or would you use italics? Or just do nothing to it?

nr on August 31, 2011:

Would you end the following sentence with a period? Thanks!

One of the simplest things to do is ask survivors, “What can I do that would be helpful?”.

CSJW on August 05, 2011:

I have vague recollection that when writing a long dialogue, that the paired quotes are not maintained throughout the entire quotation. The start of teach new paragraph of the dialogue commences with a double quote, but a double quote only appears at then end of the final paragraph. What is the correct usage of quotes when the quotation spans multiple paragraphs, and indenting is not appropriate? Example:

He said, "A first paragraph.

"Continued then through a second paragraph.

"Followed by continuing that quote into a third paragraph.

" With a fourth paragraph being the end of the quote."

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on August 02, 2011:

Thanks, Wayseeker! I taught third grade so I tend to try to write the rules as simply as possible. Unfortunately, grammar jargon turns many people off and is confusing for some students. Thanks for reading my Hubs; I'm a huge fan of yours on HubPages! Cheers!

wayseeker from Colorado on July 28, 2011:

Robin,

This is by far one of the most common grammatical problems I encounter in my middle school classroom. This hub puts the rules into clear and simple terms. I may even send some of them here when they need clarification!

Thanks for making the complex simple.

Happy writing,

wayseeker

Amelia Griggs from U.S. on June 07, 2011:

Robin,

Thanks for the quotation tips, especially the ending punctuation rule, which clarified it for me.

Thanks!

htodd from United States on April 22, 2011:

Thanks Robin for writing such a Great Hub on Quotation marks.

LisaCanada on April 15, 2011:

What I need to know it; how do you write a note in a novel. Say a girlfriend leaves a boyfriend a note inside his desk. When he finds it he reads it. How should we see that note on the page? In italics? With quotations? Underlined? At the end of the sentence, or a small square in the center of the page with spaces all around? Thanks

me on March 16, 2011:

how do you put quotation mark(s) for thoughts instead of saying:she thought,"/' blah blahblah blah

Nancy V. on March 06, 2011:

I am a court reporter and very often have to extract quotes from various case law. In my transcript, how do I illustrate that

(a) a wrong word replaced a right word

(b) a word was repeated when speaking, eg. (like - like)?

JAne on March 05, 2011:

" David stated that he, "would rather go to the city on Friday night" because of a show in the park. "

I would prefer to leave out the comma after the word "he".

Also, look at this:

She likes to sing "Happy Day." She sings it every day.

In a long story, having the full stop inside the quotation marks can be confusing.

gredmondson on February 10, 2011:

Hi Reba,

What is important here is clarity -- making sure that the reader knows what are your words, and what words are from TKAM. A general rule is to use single quotation marks on a quote within a quote. If you have a long quote (and this may qualify), at least some guidebooks recommend indenting and single spacing the quote. I would say to use single quotes on quotes within the quote. You may want to reword so that you avoid quotes within quotes within quotes.

Reba on February 09, 2011:

I have already been taught these rules, but for a paper I have to write we have to use quotes from Chapter 24 of "To Kill a Mockingbird." Now on page 232 of TKAM (first full paragraph), Mrs. Merriweather is telling a story to the women around her. She talks about her conversation with her kitchen-maid, Sophie, and Harper Lee uses quotations of what Mrs. Merriweather says. Like I said, for my essay we have to use a quote from that page, but in the passage, there are already quotes, and those quotes have quotes inside them as well . . . how do you show three separate quotations without confusing the reader?

LSC on January 29, 2011:

Hey, Robin, this is great! I've been having trouble with quotaion marks because they seem to have changed the rules since I went to school half a century ago. When I Googled it, your page was the second one, and looked intriguing, so I've read everything from four years ago to six days ago! No wonder I never get any work done! But you seem to have stopped answering the questions. Are you still there? (You should tell Sarah there's no such word as "allot." It should be two words: "a lot.")That, right there, was one of my issues, which you have answered for me. Put the period inside or outside the quotaion mark? Inside, right? Another queation: I tend to use quotaion marks for empasis, as in---Thanks for "stepping up to the Plate." Or---I haven't seen her "in a month of Sundays." Would you say this was overkill?

Sarah on January 22, 2011:

This was so useful! I'm editing my end of the year English project for grammar and I totally would have gotten allot wrong! :S Thanks so much :)

miss_jkim on January 14, 2011:

Excellent hub. I book marked it for future reference.

Ann Leavitt from Oregon on January 04, 2011:

Wow, thank you! Very helpful! This article came up first in the google search engine today, and I didn't even realize it was written by a fellow hubber until I visited the page! Very well done, your section on titles answered my question.

speakyourcause on December 11, 2010:

when you have a quote, and you use a period like this:

"Yes, we are." Do you need to change the period to a comma? Like this: "Yes, we are," ?

abeer on December 09, 2010:

Hi Robin, your knowledge is insightful. Can you also tell me how 'air quotes' are used? are they used only to show disbelieve or just to put emphasis?

Fashion Games Now on December 07, 2010:

I learned a lot here!

Vicki on November 28, 2010:

Hi Robin, recently stumbled upon your site and I love it!! I'm writing an essay for college and want to say that as a child I flew from New York to San Francisco as an "unaccompanied minor" (the airline's term for minors traveling alone in the care of a stewardess) to visit my grandparents. Quick question... should, in fact, "unaccompanied minor" be in quotation marks and also, should there be commas surrounding those words?

Thanks so much for your help.

Eliza on November 18, 2010:

So when you refer to a specific word but it's at the end of a sentence the period would be outside of the quotation? For example, your sentence:

We use the word "it's" when referring to the contraction "it is".

PC on October 31, 2010:

Thanks, Robin. This has been very helpful.

Alfreta Sailor from Southern California on October 26, 2010:

Another good one. I needed this one also, because I've always been unsure of when to use the single quotation mark. Again I say thanks for the lesson. I'll be back. I bookmarked this one,and voted it up.

Jeanne on September 27, 2010:

This has been very helpful. Great topic! Thank you so much for sharing to everyone.

natty on July 13, 2010:

Love your site! I've had this page bookmarked for months and refer to it constantly. A question: When writing a scene of dialog where your POV character is engaged in a phone conversation, are there specific rules regarding italics?

I came across a short story where all the dialog of the non-POV character's telephone conversation was put in italics to set it apart. I found this difficult to read, and wondered if there was a grammatical reason the author might have done this.

Thanks so much!

Donna on June 23, 2010:

Do you put quotes around the name of an event... "The Big Read" at the Library....do you continue to use quotes around the name of the event throughout an article?

Teresa Shaffer on June 09, 2010:

Thanks Robin! I volunteered to do this research for my GED class. The questioin was asked,"When do you use quotation marks, do you use them when emphasizing movies,songs,or books?" I believe you have answered this question.Thanks again.

Bre on May 12, 2010:

Is this correct: "I love you" said Joe.

jp on May 02, 2010:

do you use quotaions after saying "as stated in blah"

herese on March 17, 2010:

I read all your comments regarding not putting quotation marks around internal thoughts, preferably put them in italics. In my first novel, "Searching for Savage", a large portion of the book is the characters reading their mother's journal, which I have put all in italics to differeniate. I also put Hawaiian and Jamaican patois in italic bold letters to reference back to the glossary in the back of the book. So....how else can I differentiate the character who often times has internal thoughts in the story line?

Thanks for any suggestions.

Jen on February 01, 2010:

Robin,

Would the Pledge of Allegiance require quotation marks in a sentence such as:

The children said the Pledge of Allegiance quietly.

Thanks,

Jen

Peter on January 27, 2010:

I often write software user guides that instruct the user to enter some text that includes punctuation. For instance, I may tell the user, "To initialize a variable, type, 'int variable_name = 120;.'"

Now in this case, ending with

;.

is grammatically correct (the period is inside the quotation marks), but is syntactically incorrect. If the user types the period after the semicolon, the computer will give them an error.

Perhaps this seems nitpicky, but I run into it all the time, and I haven't seen any grammar instructions address it.

Dagger on January 21, 2010:

Robin, if you skip a word in a quote, what should you do?

Nicole on January 19, 2010:

do you start a new paragraph after you end a quotation?

Jeff on July 21, 2009:

OK. I looked for a rule regarding titles, and I would first go to the comma inside the quotes rule, but it looks so awkward. So, for example:

The 5-disc collection will include: "Star Trek VII: Generations," "Star Trek VIII: First Contact," "Star Trek IX: Insurrection" and "Star Trek X: Nemesis."

How does that look to you?

Rick on July 15, 2009:

I need to put a quote within a quote within a quote. What goes inside the single quotations marks? If it's another single quote...Another question: can my sentence end with two single quote marks and a classic double quote --> thereby making a quadruple quote?

p.s. this happens because I'm a law student and it's important the quotes are right and of course it's the law and more complicated than it needs to be...

"The law requires XYZ. Furthermore, 'we an older court followed the rule set out by the older court that 'ABC is the rule.''"

Is this right?

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 14, 2009:

Very informative. Thank you.

karen on October 08, 2008:

I was wondering if there was any exception to the rule of no quotations and italics in the same phrase. Here is an example of something I thought may be the exception:

Lucy thought about what her teacher Mrs. Smith had said, "I want you to play with your friends today."

would this also be in italics since it is a quote from the teacher that the child is thinking about?

Susan on January 22, 2008:

Here's a question for you: I'm a freeland court reporter and in a recent deposition the atty asks the witness:

Q Did the doctor say, quote, "Blah, blah, blah," end quote?

I'm thinking you don't use the quotation marks when someones says quote-end quote; but I'm not sure!!

Help...

MoralsEthics1960 from Florida on January 14, 2008:

Robin ,

This would make an awesome website.

Do you know how many people need info quickly and it would beeasier to retrieve from online.Something like grammer.com or grammertaught.com etc....

Ralph Deeds from Birmingham, Michigan on December 03, 2007:

Outstanding hub.

Tina on December 03, 2007:

Thank you so much for when to put quotes. around titles and when not to put underlines around titles. it helped me for a test because i did not get the notes!

p.s isn't the answer for robert chng's question the first sentences? When i sing "Go home." run to the other side. also isn't he supposed to drop the word you?

Turbodog on November 10, 2007:

THANK YOU SO MUCH for the opinions and questions regarding the use of quotation marks and internal thoughts. I've been working on a book and I have 67+ pages of text with at least one internal thought on every other page. Every darn time I would face this dilemna and I think I used different solutions each time because I could not decide.

With regard to grammer and punctuation, I do recall that consistency is just as respected as correctness. Meaning that if you are going to do something off the path, at least do it the same way every time. I think I will use italics.

Robert Chung on October 04, 2007:

Hi everyone. I've been having problems with single word quotes and short quotes. For example, which one of these is correct?

When I sing, "Go home," you run to the other side of the wall.

When I sing "go home," you run to the other side of the wall.

When I sing, "go home," you run to the other side of the wall.

Thanks!

Jasmine on September 24, 2007:

Hi Robin! I'm so glad I found your hub on quotation marks. I just have a simple question, is it grammatically correct to use quotation marks to indicate irony? I mean, would it be okay to use them in theses and papers? And if it is possible, do you still have to put the first letter in capitals?

bookwise from Marinette on July 18, 2007:

Hi Robin! Another great hub! It's great to have all this information clearly presented in one place! Thanks!

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on July 12, 2007:

Amanda,

In your example, if your sentence ends in a period, put the period inside the quotation mark. If this sentence ends in an exclamation point or question mark, put the punctuation on the outside of the quotation mark. Please see my comment to Stacy above if you need more clarifying. Hope that helps!

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on July 12, 2007:

Sue and Susan,

I still maintain that internal thoughts should be highlighted and italics would be the best differentiator. Thanks.

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on July 12, 2007:

Jo,

I understand your confusion. Perhaps you could send him this site to help clarify the proper use of quotes. Good luck!

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on July 12, 2007:

Bill,

Thanks for your comment, but I disagree. Internal thoughts should be highlighted in some way and quotes would be confusing. Even single quotes are not advisable because they can cause confusion as well, since they are used by the British like we use double quotes. If you have other suggestions, please feel free to leave them.

Amanda on July 12, 2007:

If a sentence ends with the title of an article from a magazine or a phrase, like "voodoo economics", where do I put the period. It would seem from the rules governing question marks that I should use the whole sentence in my decision.

Nancy H. on June 18, 2007:

The sign above the patient's bed read: Do not adjust. Would this be in quotes?

Thanks so much for your help.

Susan on June 06, 2007:

I'm reading all your messages on the boards and the question about single quotation marks around thoughts a character in the book is having confuses me. The story is being told by someone else and the character is thinking to himself..shouldn't that be single quotation marks, using itallized words just doesn't seem right. Thanks for all the other help your site has given!

Sue on May 24, 2007:

Do you put quotes around a statement like ("I need to go to work today," he thought.) The sentence indicates that the person is thinking and not stating something.

Thanks!

JO on May 23, 2007:

Ok, this drives me nuts!!!

My dad sends me emails all the time with quotes around nearly all the words!

How can I make him STOP by showing him it is truly incorrect? He will do this in professional letters & emails as well, and I just want to find something that will show him what he should and should NOT be quoting!

I know he just wants to find a way to highlight a specific person or title or words, but just doesn't know how!

Here is a recent email excerpt from him:

..... "BoardParadise" which specializes in "Surfing" and "Snowboarding" retail sales. Once again "Surfing" and "Skateboarding" go hand in hand .... as "Snowboarding" and "Skateboarding" does likewise.

Arrrgggghhhh!!!

Bill Amatneek on May 15, 2007:

Robin, your said:

"I believe that you do not put quotes around internal thoughts. You may put them in italics to show a differention with your other text."

Italicizing internal thoughts is something a typesetter would most likely avoid. Italics mean emphasis, something an internal thought does not imply or call for, I believe.

Gult on May 11, 2007:

Great hub. Really, "quotation marks create big headache"!! Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Thanks Google for taking me up to this UNIQUE page.

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on May 10, 2007:

Hi Stacy,

I don't always agree, but if I were teaching I would follow these punctuation rules: Commas and periods go inside quotation marks unless there is a parenthetical reference following the quotation mark. Exclamation points and question marks go inside the quotation mark when the punctuation applies to the quote and outside when it applies to the entire sentence. Colons and semicolons go outside of the quotation mark.

For your example, I would put the punctuation inside the quotation mark. Good question and good luck!

Stacy on May 10, 2007:

I am homeschooling my 2 boys and we are going over rules for using quotation marks. My question is when using quotation marks around a song or chapter title that comes at the end of a sentence, does the ending punctuation go inside or outside the quotation marks? My teacher's guide must have errors, because the answers to their practice exercises are not consistent. Thanks for your help.

arun on April 24, 2007:

it's a really a very nice hub on quotations ...

u r so impressive

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on April 23, 2007:

Thanks, Glassvisage. If you know any additions, please feel free to ad them!

glassvisage from Northern California on April 23, 2007:

I like how this incorporates even rules we use in journalism... which is amazing because journalism never seems to follow anything we learned in high school.

John on March 27, 2007:

Great hub!

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on March 26, 2007:

Thanks for the comment, Kuzmiigo.  I prefer italics as well.  However, I can't seem to get italics to work on my computer with HubPages, so I underlined the book title.  i appreciate the well written comment!

kuzmiigo from Tallinn, Estonia on March 26, 2007:

Thank you for a very useful reference!

There is one think I would like to comment: Underlining is considered a "no-no" by good typesetting rules. It is an archaism of the typewriter age. Currently there are possibilities to highlight a piece of text, like bold face, italics, different fonts and sizes, so usually underlining just adds "graphical noise". When put on screen, underlining has only one use--links. It is so commonly percieved as an indication of a link, that when used without that purpose, leads to users' frustration and should be avoided.

Michael Levy on March 23, 2007:

"The great thing about not living with illusion is you cannot become disillusioned"_Michael Levy

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on March 02, 2007:

Hi Doug,

I agree and don't like the American rule of putting periods and commas inside quotation marks that aren't complete sentences. I didn't correct Julie because I prefer the British rule and tend to follow it in my writings.  The key is consistency through your writing. 

The American rules on quotation marks and punctuation:

1.  Commas and periods always go inside quotes.

2.  Colons and semi-colons go outside the quotes.

3.  Question marks and exclamation points go inside the quote when they are part of the quote and go outside when they are not.  

Here's a link to H.W. Fowler's thoughts on punctuation and quotation marks.  http://www.bartleby.com/116/406.html

Thanks for the comment!! 

Doug Smith on March 02, 2007:

Robin:

There seems to be some disagreement regarding the placement of periods and commas with relation to quotation marks when the marks refer only to the final word or short phrase rather than the entire sentence. You failed to correct Julie (22 above) for placing the period outside the quotation marks "Sweetie Pie". However, it is not hard to find references that require the period and comma always be inside while requiring the decision of intent with question marks. Wikipedia suggests this is a UK/US thing. Do you agree? I saw the possibility that this could be another of the growing list of language modifications that separate us from Shakespeare whether we be from this side of the "pond" or that.

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on March 02, 2007:

Hi Joe,

I wouldn't use quotes at all. E.g., Martin Luther King used sit-ins, freedom rides and marches to spread his ideals. You don't need a comma after freedom rides if you don't want one. If you do use one, then just be consistent in this usage throughout your paper.

Here is a link to my hub on the Oxford comma: https://hubpages.com/literature/Grammar_Mishaps__T...

Hope that helps! Robin

Joe on March 02, 2007:

I have a question. Read the following sentence and tell me if the quotation marks and commas are in the right place. Thanks!

Martin Luther King used "sit-ins", "freedom rides", and marches to spread his ideals.

Katy on February 17, 2007:

Do you put quotations around a sound, such as: "CRACK!" I had hit the ball out of the park. I think that you simply capitalize the word but don't use quotations since it isn't spoken. Am I correct? I am a teacher and have found sounds enclosed in quotation marks in my kids' reading textbook and don't agree with that usage.

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on February 11, 2007:

Hi Julie,Yes, I would use quotes in that sentence.  Good luck with the book!

Julie on February 10, 2007:

Robin, I'm trying to write a book and I'm not sure if something needs quotation marks. Is this sentence correct? My mom is infamous for calling me "Honey" and "Sweetie Pie".

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on February 09, 2007:

Thanks, Irwin.  Best of luck to you!

Irwin on February 08, 2007:

very good hub. I am new to this but can already see the benefits of this site.

great work.

Irwin

www.onlinemoneymakinghelp.com