Quotation Marks

Use quotation marks to cite something someone said exactly. When rephrasing what someone told you, no quotation marks are needed.

  • "I'm going to the store now," she said.
  • Harry told me, "Don't forget your soccer jersey."
  • Harry told me not to forget my soccer jersey.

If quoting others within a quote, both single and double quotation marks are used to set the two separate quotations off from each other.


'I haven't spoken to Peter for months,' Dianne said.'The last time I spoke to him he said, "I'm going to Bahrain and won't be back for about three years", I've heard nothing since then'.

You may see single or double quotation marks used to mark out idiomatic or unfamiliar expressions

  • I've always thought that he was very annoying, a bit of a 'pain in the neck.'
  • I'm not sure what you mean by "custodial care", but I'm sure you will explain it to me.

Quotation marks both single and double are also used for specific purposes in bibliographic references or when citing sources in academic writing. There are a number of ways of organising bibliographies which set out standard formats. Most organisations and academic institutions will prefer one of these or have their own format published in a 'style guide'.

  • "The Migration Flight of the Lesser Tweazle", by Jeremey Adams, The Bird Spotter Magazine, July 2009.