What do you notice about commas and quotation marks in the following selection? Antonio looked at Felix. “We did it, hermano. No matter who they say wins, I say we both won. You fought like a champion.” “So did you, panín. I thought I was a goner when you came out in the third round.” Antonio laughed. “I was fighting for my life! After that haymaker in the second round, I wasn’t sure I had enough strength left in me to even stand up! It was either rush into the ring or fall over.” “I just wanna say, Tony, I’m proud of you. You gave it all you got. And, by the way, don’t worry about my eye. I guess I’ll be able to see again in a year or two,” Felix said with a sly grin spreading across his face. “Hey, amigo, let’s go get some steak for that eye and for our stomachs. Then I want you to show me how to do that new move you picked up at the gym.” “It’s a deal!”
Rule #1 Use quotation marks to begin and end a direct quotation. Separate the quote from the dialogue tag by commas. Do not use quotation marks to set off an indirect quotation. I said, “The book by Gary Paulsen will surprise you.” I said that the book by Gary Paulsen would surprise you.
Rule #2 An exclamation point or question mark is placed inside the quotation marks when it punctuates the quotation. It is placed outside when it punctuates the main sentence. For example: I almost fell over when he asked, “That won’t be a problem for you, will it?” Did the teacher really say, “Finish by tomorrow”?
Rule #3 The first word of the quotation is capitalized. He said, “We’ll discuss the book in one hour.”
Rule #4 Both parts of a divided quotation are enclosed in quotation marks. The first word of the second part is not capitalized unless it begins a new sentence. “This book,” our teacher said, “is an incredible story of survival.”
Rule #5 Quotes within quotes: If you need to have one character directly quoting another character, then use double quotes for your main dialogue and single quotes for the quote-within-a-quote. This includes publications. “And then he said, ‘Mind your own business.’ The nerve!” she said. "Everyone will read the short story entitled ‘The Escape' for tomorrow," said the substitute teacher.