When to use quotation marks and what style to use
When to use quotation marks
Style guides differ on when to use quotation marks or italics, but generally we use quotation marks for short titles and italics for longer titles.
Use quotation marks for direct speech, quotes, emphasis and the titles of articles, songs and short poems.
‘What time is the meeting?’ he asked.
She sang ‘California Girls’.
Use italics, not quotation marks, for the tiles of Acts of Parliaments (Australian usage), books, plays, long poems and movies.
Pride and Prejudice is a great novel.
Styles for quotation marks
Both single and double quotation marks are commonly used.
‘Ultimately, the decision is yours,’ she said.
“Ultimately, the decision is yours,” she said.
If you use single quotation marks for direct speech, switch to double quotation marks for quotes within quotes and emphasis, and vice versa.
“I wish I had invented Nike’s ‘Just do it’ slogan,” said Jane.
‘I wish I had invented Nike’s “Just do it” slogan,’ said Jane.
In press releases, you don’t need quotation marks at the end of a paragraph if the person is quoted again in the next paragraph.
‘We were so close to winning,’ he said. ‘We had a tail wind behind us.
‘Then the wind dropped and we stalled.’
Read my blog about a quirky American rule around quotation marks.
Learn more about punctuation with my online course Grammar, Punctuation and Usage.
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