Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

Pain in the English offers proofreading services for short-form writing such as press releases, job applications, or marketing copy. 24 hour turnaround. Learn More

A quote within a quote within a quote

How do you handle a quote within a quote within a quote in an MLA citation?

Submit Your Comment

Or

Comments

Sort by  OldestLatestRating

In the United States, you keep switching off between single and double quotes. So it would look like this:

"Sally remarked, 'Ginny, if you say "hell" again, I'll wash your mouth with soap.' "

Here, the word "hell" is in double quotes.

Other countries (like Germany, I believe) have a different approach, which is to move from single to double to triple quotes, like so:

'Sally remarked, "Ginny, if you say '''hell''' again, I'll wash your mouth with soap." '

Max_Elliott May 24, 2013, 8:14pm

8 votes    Permalink    Report Abuse

This page on "MLA Formatting Quotations" at the Purdue Online Writing School should answer all your questions:

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/03/

Not in answer to your question, but as a matter of interest, in Britain we usually do it the second way Max_Eliott mentioned - single quotation marks on the outside, double quotation marks for nested quotations. But I've never seen triple quotes. We also use different punctuation, so called "logical punctuation", but that's a different story, although its use seems to be increasing in the US:

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/the_good_wor...

Warsaw Will May 25, 2013, 4:35am

1 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

Triple quotes are trippy

Clay Ainslie August 7, 2015, 10:43pm

1 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

'He said "She was like "'He sounded like ""MRAWWWHHH.""'""'

OW MY BRAIN August 12, 2015, 2:39pm

4 votes    Permalink    Report Abuse

Yes     No