Quick Guide to Punctuating Quotations
Here are some simple rules to follow when punctuating quotations:
- Place double quotation marks (""), often called opening and closing quotation marks, at the beginning and end of your quotation.
- Place single quotation marks (' '), at the beginning and end of a quotation that appears within another quotation.
Place commas, periods, question marks and exclamation points inside the closing quotation mark when they refer to the quote.
- "Mary is fine," her sister said.
Place punctuation outside the quotation marks when they do not refer to the quote.
- "When Mary said 'she was cool', she meant that she was fine," her sister said.
Place sentence-ending punctuation outside of quotation marks only if they alter the meaning of the quote when placed inside.
- What did Mary mean when she said she was "cool"?
- Always place colons and semicolons outside quotation marks.
- Do not place quotation marks around extended blocks of quoted text. Instead, format four or more lines into an indented block one inch, or ten spaces, from the left margin. Place a colon at the end of the sentence that introduces your block quote.
- Place a three-point ellipse, with one space before and one after, to mark the location inside a quotation from which words have been omitted.
- Place a four-point ellipse, with no space before and one after, to mark the location of at the end of a quotation from which words have been omitted.
- Citation information placed in parentheses after a quotation should be followed by the appropriate punctuation mark (comma, period, colon, semicolon or question mark).