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Single and Double Quotation Marks

You’re probably wondering “How do I know when I should use single ('-') or double quotes ("-")?” In US English, double quotation marks are used at all times unless quoting something within a quotation, you use singles then. In UK English, single quotation marks are mainly used in books, while doubles are preferred by print media.

Infographic on the use of single and double quotes

Single vs Double Quotation Marks

Confused yet?

Things are quite simple here. Once you start writing in the US or UK format, you will know how, where, and which quotation marks to use. Let’s see the primary rules.

1.Use single quotation marks for a quotation or title (article, story, or poem) within a quotation.

🇺🇸 🇬🇧
The author is reading a sentence from her new article, "The day was warm and sunny.
'I feel happy,' said Claire, as she came to the local beach."
The author is reading a sentence from her new article, 'The day was warm and sunny.
"I feel happy", said Claire, as she came to the local beach.'
" 'The Wasted Land' is my favorite poem," my sister said. ' "The Wasted Land" is my favorite poem', my sister said.

2. Use quotation marks to highlight words or phrases that are not being used for their exact meaning.

🇺🇸 🇬🇧
The women stayed "hypnotized" through the entire concert.
(= The writer is saying that the women absolutely like the concert.)
The women stayed ‘hypnotized' through the entire concert.
Michael demonstrated his “courage” to everyone.
(= The writer does not think that Michael has been courageous at all.)
Michael demonstrated his 'courage' to everyone.

3. Use quotation marks to underline that a letter is used as a letter or a word is used as a word.

🇺🇸 🇬🇧
What is the definition of "citation"? What is the definition of 'citation'?
Capitalize the "A" in your name. Capitalize the 'A' in your name.

NOTE: The use of space between single and double quotation marks is a must! This needs to be done for the reader to avoid confusion.

Right✔️ Wrong❌
🇺🇸 " 'The Wasted Land' is my favorite story," my father said. 'The Wasted Land'" is my favorite story," my father said.
🇬🇧 ' "The Wasted Land" is my favorite story', my father said. '"The Wasted Land" is my favorite story', my father said.

Counclusion

Regardless of American or British formatting, quotation marks should surround the quotes that curve toward the text. Without it, the entire content will turn into a mess.

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