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Pasco-Hernando Community College Tutorial Series
Quotation marks There are three situations where quotation marks are used: Around quoted words – exact words from someone else Around titles of short, published works Around words used in a special way
Quotation marks Here are examples: “It will rain today,” he said. Not "It will rain today", he said. (Quote) The students had a choice of two articles to read: "The American Economy in 2012" or "The Effect of Sunspots on Earth's Weather." (Title of short, published work) He "relaxed" by climbing mountains and running marathons. (Words used in a special way)
Quotations with quotes Use quotation marks around quotes – exact words from someone else. “There are still unexplored regions of the earth.” Usually, quotes are written with words that say who says the quote. Such words are called signal phrases or an identifying tag. Use a comma or commas to separate a signal phrase from a quote.
Signal phrases Signal phrases may be placed in different parts of the sentence: Signal phrases can come at the beginning. He said, “It will rain today.” The words he said are the signal phrase. See how there is a comma separating the signal phrase from the quote. See how there is a capital letter beginning the quote.
Signal phrases Signal words can come in the middle: “It will,” he said, “rain today.” See how two commas are used to separate the signal tag from the quote. See how the comma and period are place before the end quotation mark and not after it. See how the rest of the quote following the signal phrase – rain today – does not begin with a capital since it is a continuation of the sentence quote, not a new sentence.
Signal phrases Signal phrases can go at the end: “It will rain today,” he said. The words he said are the signal tag. See how the comma is placed before the end quotation mark and not after it. Notice that the period at the end comes before the end quotation mark. Notice that the quote begins with a capital since after a signal phrase, what is in the quote is considered to be a sentence.
Fragmentary quotes – partial sentence quotes Sometimes, only a word or a few words from someone else is used and not a complete sentence. This is called a fragmentary quote or a partial sentence quote. The economist read her report slowly and emphasized “the need for immediate intervention.” He referred to his opponent as a “lily-livered coward.” Note how there is no comma before the opening quotation mark since there is not a signal tag. Note how the first letter of the quote is not capitalized since it does not begin a sentence.
The word that before a quote Sometimes the word that is used after words that would be a signal tag if the word that were not used. He said that “it would rain today.” The word that changes the quoted words from a sentence to a fragmentary quote – a partial sentence quote. What is inside the quote is a continuation of a sentence. See how there is no comma and the first letter is not capitalized.
No commas next to question marks and exclamation points Commas are not used next to question marks and exclamation points, even to separate out signal tags. “It will rain today!” he exclaimed. He exclaimed, “It will rain today!” “Will it rain today?” he asked. He asked, “Will it rain today?”
Question marks and exclamation points When a quote itself is a question or an exclamation, the question mark or the exclamation point is part of the quote and belongs before the end quotation mark: She asked, “Will it rain today?” The student shouted, “I passed the final test. I’m graduating!”
Question marks and exclamation points When there is a quote in a sentence where the sentence itself is a question or an exclamation, the question mark or the exclamation point belongs at the end of the sentence, not the end of the quote. Is there a specific reason for the “feelings of unhappiness” you describe? She twirled with “unbridled joy” around the room! This is true even if the quoted words are at the end of the sentence: Is there a reason for these “feelings of unhappiness“? She twirled with “unbridled joy“!
Use of Ellipsis (…) When words are omitted from within a quote, use an ellipsis (…). Jim Carrey said, “I got a lot of support from my parents when I was pursuing my career in comedy. They didn’t tell me I was being stupid; they told me I was being funny.” Jim Carrey said, “I got a lot of support from my parents.… They didn’t tell me I was being stupid; they told me I was being funny.” See how the ellipsis is inserted where the words when I was pursuing my career in comedy were omitted.
Use of Ellipsis (…) Jim Carrey said, “I got a lot of support from my parents.… They didn’t tell me I was being stupid; they told me I was being funny.” Note that there are four periods: the ellipsis consisting of three periods and a period to end the sentence since this ellipsis is at the end of a sentence. Note that there are not brackets around the ellipsis. Brackets are used in quotes to show changes made by the author of the writing who is using the quoted material. The ellipsis itself indicates that a change was made by omitting some words.
Use of Ellipsis (…) Brackets around an ellipsis is only used when the quote itself has brackets to distinguish between what was omitted by the writer of the quote and the writer using the quote. Don’t use an ellipsis at the beginning of a quote. Only use an ellipsis at the end when the quote does not complete a sentence.
No quotation marks with long quotations If you are quoting more than four lines (not sentences), you need to set the quote off from the text. Indent the quote one inch from the left margin, and do not surround the quote with quotation marks.
Long Quotations The quote should be double spaced as with the rest of the paper. Helen Keller, though born both deaf and blind, was no coward. This can be seen in her views on the worth of life: Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
Quotations for Titles Use quotation marks for the titles of short works such as articles from periodicals (journals, newspapers, and magazines), songs, poems, and pages from Web sites. “An Empathetic Approach to Nursing” (journal article) “Bad to the Bone”(song title) “A Supermarket in California”(poem) “Jurassic Undertakers”Jurassic Undertakers(page in a Web site)
Quotation Marks for Titles Use italics for longer works such as books, plays, periodicals (journals, magazines, and newspapers), entire Web sites, and online databases. Moby Dick(book) My Fair Lady(play) Natural History(magazine) CNN.com(Web site) Academic Search Complete(online database)
Quotation Marks for Titles These examples use the MLA format of capitalizing the first letter of all words in titles in the body of the paper and the Works Cited except articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions (FANBOYS – for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so), and prepositions such as in, on, over, around, with.– APA follows the same rule as MLA in the body of the paper, but only the first letter of the title and any proper nouns are listed in the References page. Specific information for using quotes for in-text citations can be found in either the MLA or APA section in: www.phccwritingcenter.org.
Words used in a special way When a word or words are used in a different way than the dictionary definition or the common usage, they are considered words used in a special way. These are words you could use the term so-called in front of.
Words used in a special way His so-called retirement consisted of volunteering for two different charities and the homeowners’ association. His “retirement” consisted of volunteering for two different charities and the homeowners’ association. Her so-called ordinary morning routine consisted of jogging two miles, feeding the dogs, putting in a load of laundry, and checking e-mail. Her “ordinary” morning routine consisted of jogging two miles, feeding the dogs, putting in a load of laundry, and checking e-mail. Note that the term so-called and quotation marks are not used together. Use one or the other.
Words Used in a Special Way Words used for irony or sarcasm should not be in quotation marks. Ironic use of words is meant to convey the opposite of the literal definition. Words used in a special way are when a different- than-usual meaning of the word is intended to be conveyed.
Words Used in a Special Way Here’s an example of irony: After hearing the vulgar outburst from the unhappy constituent, the councilwoman said, “Thank you for your civil comments.” She didn’t literally mean civil. She meant the opposite of civil. Here’s an example of the word used in a special way. In civil society, a verbal assault is not considered criminal unless it amounts to disorderly conduct. The thought that is conveyed might be ironic, but the use of the word in this sentence is in a special way and not the opposite of what it literally means.
Single Quotation marks Single quotation marks are only used when you have to put quotation marks inside quotation marks: The professor said, “Read the article entitled ‘How to Grow Hydroponic Tomatoes.’” Notice how the period at the end goes before both the single quotation mark and the regular (double) quotation mark.