Home » [NEW] Quotation Marks | speech marks – NATAVIGUIDES

[NEW] Quotation Marks | speech marks – NATAVIGUIDES

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  • We use quotation marks with direct quotes, with titles of certain works, to imply alternate meanings, and to write words as words.
  • Block quotations are not set off with quotation marks.
  • The quoted text is capitalized if you’re quoting a complete sentence and not capitalized if you’re quoting a fragment.

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Do commas and periods go inside or outside quotation marks?

  • Commas and periods always go inside the quotation marks in American English; dashes, colons, and semicolons almost always go outside the quotation marks; question marks and exclamation marks sometimes go inside, sometimes stay outside.

When to use quotation marks

Quotation marks are for when you want to use someone else’s words in your writing. Let’s say you want to write about something you heard your friend say. You could do it like this:

John said, “I really hate when it’s hot outside.”

You can write about the same thing without using the quotation marks, with a couple of changes:

John said he hated when it was hot outside.

 

The first sentence contains a direct quote, a quote in which you report the exact words John used. The second sentence contains an indirect quote, which is a paraphrased version of what John said. Quotation marks are used only with direct quotes.

This rule isn’t just for speech. If you’re quoting a written source, you should still put the quote between quotation marks unless you plan to paraphrase it.

Run-in and block quotations

Direct quotations come in two different forms: run-in and block. Run-in quotations are shorter and they are formatted the same as the surrounding text. Block quotes are long quotes that are separated from the surrounding text. Usually, they appear as a separate paragraph (or series of paragraphs) with a different font, a change in the line spacing, or a wider margin. In any case, block quotes don’t need quotation marks to set them off from the remaining text, even though they are direct quotes.

And in case you’re wondering just how long a quote needs to get for it to be a block quote, it varies from one style guide to another. If you have to follow a style guide, you should check it for best practices. If you don’t have to follow a style guide, set your own rule (like five lines of text makes a block quotation), and stick to it.

Quotation mark rules

The first rule of using quotations is that once they’re opened, they have to be closed. The person reading your work needs to know where the quote starts and where it ends. But that’s an easy one. What about some trickier quotation mark rules?

Quotations and capitalization

Sometimes, the text inside quotation marks is capitalized, other times it isn’t. Capitalization of the quoted material depends on the material itself—if you’re quoting a complete sentence, you should start the quote with a capital letter, even if the quote is placed in the middle of a sentence:

The exact phrase she used was “There is no way we will get there in time.”

If you’re quoting a phrase or a part of a sentence, don’t start the quote with a capital letter:

He called them “loud, smelly, and utterly annoying,” and he closed the door.

If you’re splitting a quote in half to interject a parenthetical, you should not capitalize the second part of the quote:

“The problem with opinions,” Paula explained, “is that everyone has one.”

Quotation marks and other punctuation marks

Does punctuation go inside or outside quotation marks? This question mostly refers to the sentence-ending punctuation marks—punctuation marks that introduce a quote are never placed within quotation marks.

Sentence-ending punctuation is a whole different story. In the United States, the rule of thumb is that commas and periods always go inside the quotation marks, and colons and semicolons (dashes as well) go outside:

“There was a storm last night,” Paul said.

Peter, however, didn’t believe him. “I’m not sure that’s exactly what happened.”

Peter was aware of what he called “Paul’s weakness triangle”: he was half deaf, slept like a log, and was prone to lying.

Paul saw an argument coming, so he muttered only “But I saw it”; this was going to be a long night and he didn’t want to start it with a fight.

Question marks and exclamation points have their own rules.

If they apply to the quoted material, they go within the quotation marks. If they apply to the whole sentence, they go outside it:

Sandy asked them, “Why do you guys always fight?”

Did the dog bark every time he heard Sandy say “I’m bringing dinner”?

Quotes within quotes

So now you know how to deal with quotation marks and punctuation and capitalization, but what if the quote you want to take already contains quotation marks? This can happen, too. Say you want to write a direct quote in which someone is praising their favorite chapter from one of the Harry Potter books. Would you do it like this?

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““The Dementor’s Kiss” is my favorite chapter in the whole series,” Tom said.

It doesn’t work, does it? You might even manage to confuse your word processing program. But if you do it like this, everything will look much better:

“‘The Dementor’s Kiss’ is my favorite chapter in the whole series,” Tom said.

See how that worked better? We use single quotation marks for quotes within quotes.

Other uses of quotation marks: titles of short works, words as words, scare quotes

Besides setting off other people’s words, quotation marks have a couple of other uses. Depending on the style guide you’re using, you might use quotation marks to emphasize titles of all types of compositions (AP Stylebook), or just short compositions (most of the other style guides). Titles of books, albums, magazines, newspapers, and other standalone and bigger bodies of work are usually italicized. Poems, chapters, articles—smaller bodies of work, or bodies of work which form a larger body of work—are emphasized by using quotation marks.

You can also use quotation marks to signify words used as words. For example: “inhale” means to take a breath. The quotation marks show that you’re talking about the word itself, not the action of inhaling. However, you’ll often hear that it’s better to italicize words used as words rather than put them in quotation marks—different style guides might prescribe different rules.

Some writers put quotes around words they want to distance themselves from. Quotation marks used this way are commonly called scare quotes or shudder quotes. It’s a way of implying that you’re using a term in an unusual way or that you don’t necessarily approve of it:

This article was written by a “professional” writer.

Scare quotes are sort of like air quotes, and if you know anything about air quotes, you know that they should be used in moderation. The same applies to scare quotes.

You might see quotation marks used instead of parentheses for translations. So you can write translations like this:

She told him (good day) when they met.

But you can also do it like this:

She told him , “good day,” when they met.

Single quotation marks

We’ve already mentioned that single quotation marks can be used for quotes within quotes. But that’s not all they can do—they can also be used instead of parentheses for translations, but in that case, they don’t have to be separated by commas:

She told him ‘good day’ when they met.

Highly specialized terms in certain fields can also be written within single quotation marks:

Many scholars still argue about Lacan’s ‘desire’ and its implications.

You can also see single quotation marks instead of double quotation marks in headlines of newspaper articles. And of course, all of these rules apply to American English—single vs. double quotation marks is a whole different story in British English.

[NEW] How to Use Speech Marks with a Question | speech marks – NATAVIGUIDES

How to Use Speech Marks with a Question

The reason for having speech marks is in the name, to mark speech. It helps guide the reader’s eye to the part of a text which is meant to be spoken language rather than narrative. In turn, this can help you to better understand what the text is trying to convey. Unfortunately, as can be seen in writers from Louise Erdrich to William Faulkner, authors often love to play around with these pieces of punctuation. Some, like Cormac McCarthy, seem to think they are altogether unhelpful[1]. Some omit them altogether, others use different types of quotation marks. This is why oneHOWTO looks at how to use speech marks with a question, but we do so with as much information as we can so you know what is expected. Once you learn it, feel free to write however you like.

Standard use of speech marks

Speech marks are otherwise known as quotation marks. This is because when written down in pieces of writing, articles or novels for example, they are ‘quoting’ the speech of someone. This is also known as ‘direct speech’. Direct speech is the opposite of reported speech which is speech which is summarized or paraphrased. This doesn’t need any punctuation:

  • The coal miners said something about not wanting to go the Gasket anymore.

To show the direct speech, the piece of punctuation used is known as inverted commas. These are single or pairs of commas which are inverted so that they go on the top ‘upper case’ level of a sentence, rather than the bottom ‘lower case’ level where punctuation is normal placed in English.

However, we can’t quite begin to show you how to use speech marks in a question until you first answer this question yourself: am I writing in British or American English? We have divided the guidelines to quotation marks into these two categories so you can decide which is more helpful to you.

Speech marks in British English

We should perhaps call this section ‘inverted commas in British English‘ as this is what they are more commonly referred to. In British English, you can use either single inverted commas or pairs of inverted commas. However, single inverted commas are more common. For use in a standard piece of direct speech, it looks something like this:

  • Jeremy said, I can’t see her right now, I have a headache.

Notice how the speech comes after the name (‘Jason’) and action (‘said’) of the speaker? When this happens, we place a comma before the quoted speech. When the information about the speaker comes after, we place the comma inside the quotation marks:

  • ‘I can’t see her now, I have a headache‘, said Jeremy.
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There needs to be some sort of punctuation near the speech marks, but one of the differences between speech marks in British and American English is the placement of the punctuation. In British English, the end of the sentence punctuation (known as the terminal punctuation) is always inside the inverted commas:

  • ‘He’ll never trust him again.’

This is the same if using your speech marks for a question.

  • ‘You think you can just walk all over me?’

When the speaker information is provided, this changes things. If the speaker information comes before the direct speech (as above), the comma comes after the speech marks:

  • ‘He’ll never trust him again‘, said Fariq.

However, when the direct speech is a question or exclamation, this different punctuation changes the placement of the inverted commas:

  • ‘You think you can just walk all over me?’ asked Anna.

This gets more complicated when using a quotation within a quotation. Here you need to use a little logic. For example:

  • Dan exclaimed, ‘When Jim came over to me he said “don’t waste my time“!’
  • Dan said, ‘When Jim came over to me he shouted “don’t waste my time!”.’

The first thing to notice is that as the use of single inverted commas is more prevalent in British English, the quotation inside the quotation uses double inverted commas.

The second, is that in the first sentence the speaker is making an exclamation. This means the exclamation belongs to his speech, not the speech he is quoting. In the second sentence, the exclamation belongs to the person he is quoting so the exclamation mark stays in the double inverted commas. The terminal punctuation is still needed to finish the original speaker’s sentence, so a full stop (period) is added.

The same goes when wanting to use speech marks in a question which is being quoted by someone else or when used in indirect speech.

  • Fridrich wanted to answer ‘how do you light a candle under water?’, but couldn’t think of a method.

If there is a quotation being used to ask a question in direct speech, then we say:

  • Siobhan asked, ‘Is the question “what is my motivation” even relevant?’

We don’t say:

  • Siobhan asked, ‘Is the question “what is my motivation?” even relevant?’

This is because it gives us too many question marks and confuses the sentence.

Speech marks in American English

Speech marks in American English are somewhat more straight forward. However, they more commonly use double inverted commas. For example:

  • Jeremy said, “I can’t see her right now, I have a headache.”

As with British English, terminal punctuation in American English comes before the inverted comma at the end of the sentence. However, unlike British English, when the speaker information comes after the direct speech, you always put the punctuation before the inverted commas. This is even if only using a comma:

  • “I can’t see her now, I have a headache,” said Jeremy.

Strangely, when using direct speech in recorded speech, then the opposite is true. In British English only the phrase is kept inside the commas. In American English, the punctuation is also kept inside. For example:

  • British English: The concept of ‘looking for a chicken‘, although not for everyone, was popular.
  • American English: The concept of “looking for a chicken,” although not for everyone, was popular.

The same goes at the end of the sentence:

  • No one wanted to ‘stomp on the pudding’.
  • No one wanted to “stomp the pudding.”

This is one of the most common confused uses of speech marks in a question, but there is good news. These uses of speech marks are not well known by anyone outside of linguists. There have been so many changes that, unless you are writing something which has strict guidelines for style, you can use your own preferred method. The only real requisite is that you be consistent throughout the entire text. Changing up placement of speech marks might be noticed and might even be confusing.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Use Speech Marks with a Question, we recommend you visit our Learning category.

References


ENGLISH SPEECH | SELENA GOMEZ: Trust Yourself (English Subtitles)


Learn English with Selena Gomez. Selena talks about her life and some of the hardships she’s encountered in her career to a crowd of 16,000 youth at the firstever We Day in California. She told the crowd to never ever give up on their dreams, and to be confident in their goals. Selena Marie Gomez is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and television producer. In this Speech, she also quotes: \”Please stay true to yourself, please just remain who you are and know that we have each other’s back, all of us have each other’s back.\” Watch with big English subtitles.
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ENGLISH SPEECH | SELENA GOMEZ: Trust Yourself (English Subtitles)

Using Air Quotes wrong your entire life – Air Quotes


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Using Air Quotes wrong your entire life - Air Quotes

ENGLISH SPEECH | EMMA WATSON: Gender Equality (English Subtitles)


Learn English with Emma Watson. She is a British actress and model whose most notable role is that of Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series. Watch Emma’s speech in a special event for UN Women’s HeForShe campaign Watch with big English subtitles.
The HeForShe campaign is a solidarity movement for gender equality which calls upon men and boys to help end the persisting inequalities faced by women and girls globally.
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ENGLISH SPEECH | EMMA WATSON: Gender Equality (English Subtitles)

Family Life- English Conversations


Contents: 1. Family Morning Routine 2. House Cleaning Day 3. What’s for Dinner? 4. Grocery Shopping 5. I’ll Fix It Myself 6. Decorating the House 7. Family’s Expenses 8. Electricity Bill

Family Life- English Conversations

How to Get Your Brain to Focus | Chris Bailey | TEDxManchester


The latest research is clear: the state of our attention determines the state of our lives. So how do we harness our attention to focus deeper, get distracted less, and even become more creative? Chris Bailey, author of the recent book Hyperfocus, talks about how our ability to focus is the key to productivity, creativity, and living a meaningful life.
Follow Chris on @chris_bailey Chris Bailey was recently described by TED as possibly “the most productive man you’d ever hope to meet”. He is the international bestselling author of Hyperfocus and The Productivity Project, which have been published in sixteen languages. Chris works with organisations around the globe on how they can become more productive without hating the process.
To date, Chris has written hundreds of articles on the subject of productivity, and has garnered coverage in media as diverse as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, New York magazine, The Huffington Post, Harvard Business Review, TED, Fortune, Fast Company, and Lifehacker. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

How to Get Your Brain to Focus | Chris Bailey | TEDxManchester

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