Writing Tip: How to Use Quotation Marks


The use of quotation marks can be very confusing, so here’s a little refresher:

For speech/dialogue, use double quotes:

“I had to jump through hoops to get your daughter to go out with me,” Jack said.

“I can’t imagine why. She hasn’t had a date in ages,” my mother replied.

Use single quotes for quotes within quotes:

“He said to me, ‘The concert’s fully booked up. We couldn’t pack in one more person.’”

If you break up dialogue with a speech attribution, use double quotes as follows:

“I’ll have the chicken,” she concluded. “Although I don’t see how they can charge eighteen dollars.”

“That’s New York for you,” Jack said. “For that price, it should come with a side of Moroccan.”

CC photo credit: Bgrayrob CC Commons license

Have a question about writing? Comment or email me at leslie@lesliewellsbooks.com

Leslie Wells has edited forty-nine New York Times bestsellers in her thirty-year publishing career. She is the author of Come Dancing, a novel about publishing and rock and roll, set in New York City in the 1980s. Visit her at www.lesliewellsbooks.com

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