Punctuation Guide: Double and Single Quotes

Direct quotationsInterrupted direct quotationsQuote within a quoteDouble quotation marks vs single quotation marksPeriod with quotationUnnecessary quotation marks

Dialog is often included in sentences. Using punctuation marks, be careful to put quotes where they’re needed and escape unnecessary quotation marks. We’ll also talk about double and single quotes.

Here are some examples and quotation rules:

Direct quotations

Direct quotations

How to quote someone?

Learning punctuation and grammar, you should read about direct and indirect quotations. Direct quotations present the exact words someone has said. Indirect quotations are created by rephrasing someone’s speech.

Quotation marks should be used in direct quotations. Notice, if you quote the whole sentence, the quotation begins with a capital letter; for fragments, use a lowercase letter:

Quoting Professor Smith, “Punctuation is the most complicated part of this course.”

Interrupted direct quotations

Interrupted direct quotations

If a writer wants, he or she can interrupt a sentence with a comment. In this case, there are specific punctuations and their uses.

Put commas to separate the comment from the dialog. It’s also important to start the second part of the sentence with a lowercase letter:

“If you don’t stop,” the teacher said, “this will be your last lesson in this school.”

Quote within a quote

Quote within a quote

When you quote a phrase that contains another quote, use single quotation marks. If there’s another quote inside—use a double quotation mark again:

The professor said, “The writer explains ‘the main features of “modern” philosophies,’ which have actually been clarified dozens of times before.”

Double quotation marks vs single quotation marks

Double quotation marks vs single quotation marks

When you need to use quotation marks, you may question whether to put single or double quotation marks in your writing.

It depends on the country you’re writing in. For British and Australian variants of the English language, the standard is to use single quotation marks:

He shouted: ‘Not today! We’re not going home!’

In the United States, we use double quotation marks:

Finally, she began to speak, “It’s okay, I’m just mad about his actions.”

A period after or before a quotation

A period after or before a quotation?

Does the period go inside the quotation marks? That’s another question that can bother you.

In the US, it’s typical to put periods before the quotation mark at the end of the sentence:

They shouted together, “Yes! Leave it on the table.”

While in the British variant, you see periods outside the quotation marks:

The principal said proudly: ‘The students did their best, and the school will never forget their efforts’.

Unnecessary quotation marks

Unnecessary quotation marks

On the internet, you can find a lot of examples of incorrect quotation mark usage. There are some really funny pictures that will make you laugh.

You can spend an hour reading the clumsy and often offensive results. But what’s more important—learn not to repeat their authors’ mistakes.

So, how do these mistakes happen?

Usually, people try to attract the public to their slogans and mottos and use quotes to emphasize some words. That’s a mistake because quotations are associated with figurative meaning.

As a result, we get strange phrases which scare off customers. For example:

We sell only “fresh” fruits! (wrong usage of quotation marks—it is saying the fruit isn’t really fresh)

Be careful to avoid this mistake.


From this article, you learned the difference between double and single quotes, when to use them, and how to put various punctuation signs around quotations.

For a better understanding of this topic, read Custom-Writing.org articles from the punctuation guide. We make punctuation easy—so, use our articles and improve your grades!