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Grammar Rule #4 (For week of 10/3)

October 1, 2011

Using Quotation Marks

1.  Use them to set off the exact words of a speaker or writer.

Gilman referred to the wallpaper as having a “sub-pattern in a different shade of yellow, a particularly irritating one, for you can only see it in certain lights, and not clearly then.”

She said angrily as she looked at her watch, “I’m going to be late. Again.”


2.  Do not use them for indirect quotations.

She called to say she was going to be late.


3.  Periods or commas always go inside the closing quotation marks

“That’s it, ” he spat.  “We’re done.”


4.  Colons and semicolons always go outside quotation marks.

Two main characters can be found in “Sonny’s Blues”: the narrator and Sonny.

Rocky did not believe in the maxim “You get what you get and you don’t get upset”; nonetheless, he ate the cauliflower.


5.  The placement of exclamation points and question marks depends upon the content of the quotation.  If they are part of the quote itself, place them inside the quotes. 

“When does class start?” Seth asked.

Do you understand the ending of “The Things They Carried”?


6.  Never use double end punctuation.

She screamed, “STOP!” not She screamed, “STOP!”.


7.  Use quotation marks to identify short stories, songs, titles of magazine articles, and poems. Do not use them for titles of longer works such as novels, films, magazines or television shows–you should underline or italicize these works.


8.  Use quotation marks to call attention to certain technical or unusual words or terms.

She spent the day “tweeting” instead of reading.


Here’s a link to a website with more details about proper use of quotation marks.



1.  Capitalization:  Take a look at this and pay close attention to the exceptions!

2.  I or me? You have a handout.  Check out the link here if you need some visuals.

3. Who or Whom?  You have a handout, but check this site for more explanation and examples



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