Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the EnglishProofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More


Double/Single Quotation Marks

This issue is killing me. I know that when writing dialogue, double quotation marks are used, as in,

“The road is icy and wet,” he said.

However, when putting quotation marks around a single word or phrase intra-sentence, what is the correct procedure? Especially if the usage is referring to some sentiment of sarcasm or a sort of contempt. I know that if it is a direct quotation from a person or book, magazine, etc., double quotes are used.

Should it be:

For ‘security’ reasons I was not allowed to bring my cell phone into the concert hall.



I mean, I suppose this is a direct quotation of the person who said it was for security, but in that case, when are single quotation marks used?!

Submit Your Comment

or fill in the name and email fields below:


Sort by  OldestLatestRating

Use single and/or double quotes when (in descending order of importance):

1) The style sheet or style specs used by your school or company specifically require their use in a case such as yours.
2) Your academic discipline has a standard convention that requires their use in specialized cases (and your case is one of these).
3) You are an ordinary writer and you:
a) are using U.S. Style. In this case, you use double quotes to indicate a directly quoted passage, and single quotes to indicate a direct quote within the first direct quote. Within those single quotes, if there is another direct quote, you use double quotes again. If you have even more direct quotes within your direct quotes, then for God's sake consider rewriting your passage. Or else just continue alternating nested single and double quotes. Place the punctuation that goes with the quote inside the pair of quotations that belongs to it.
b) are using U.K. style. In this case, do as specified in a) except for single, read double, and for double, read single. Place the punctuation that goes with the quote outside the pair of quotations that belongs to it.
c) are using U.S. style and you are setting off a word or symbol as an example, i.e. "This" is a word with four letters, "T", "h", "i", and "s". Set the punctuation outside in this instance ONLY.
d) are using U.K. Style, in which case follow c) except for single, read double. Set punctuation outside quotes in the usual way.

speedwell2 February 4, 2004 @ 12:01PM

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

Overlooked something....

The use of "security" above is an example of quotes used as if you had in mind the word "so-called." Quotes used to express sarcasm should follow the normal rule for quotations in your context (work, school, country).

speedwell2 February 9, 2004 @ 8:23AM

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

I disagree with "online internet casinos" below.

Well, except that you really DO need quotation marks to make that HTML work correctly.

That's all.

And yes, you can quote me on that!

bob September 24, 2004 @ 2:37PM

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse