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Citation Marks: Guidelines and Examples


Citation marks are a kind of punctuation used to point out direct quotes, dialogue, and sure titles or in any other case to put aside phrases in textual content. They’ve a couple of necessary capabilities in grammar that may make them complicated, particularly while you’re questioning whether or not to make use of double versus single citation marks. 

On this information, we clarify all of the must-know details about citation marks. We focus on when to make use of citation marks in titles, how scare quotes work, and what the distinction is between double and single citation marks. We additionally share loads of citation marks examples so you possibly can see how they’re used. 

What’s the citation marks image? 

The citation marks image is a kind of punctuation used for setting phrases and passages other than the remainder of the textual content. Citation marks, or “quotes” for brief, look similar to commas, besides citation marks are on the high of a line as an alternative of on the backside. Double citation marks are merely two “commas” subsequent to one another, whereas single citation marks use just one comma. However, not like commas, citation marks can face each instructions. The course a citation mark faces depends upon whether or not it comes earlier than the quote or after. 

“How will we use citation marks?” the coed requested their trainer. 

When to make use of citation marks

It helps to interrupt down guidelines for citation marks by their perform. So beneath, we listing out the six primary makes use of for citation marks.

Quote a supply instantly

One of the crucial frequent makes use of of citation marks is to point a direct quote, a passage that’s copied verbatim from one other supply. In case you’re utilizing the identical phrase, sentence, or phrase as one other writer, put these phrases in between citation marks. 

Naturally, there are totally different kinds of quotes, however every time you’re copying somebody phrase for phrase, you want citation marks. That is most typical in nonfiction writing, when a author makes use of a phrase or sentence from a preexisting supply, often to assist their thesis. 

Stephen Hawking warned that the Higgs boson might probably result in “catastrophic vacuum decay” within the universe, brought on by “a bubble of the true vacuum increasing on the velocity of sunshine.”

Present dialogue or transcribe speech

Citation marks are used to signify speech in written textual content. In nonfiction, they’re generally used to transcribe what an individual mentioned, as with an interview or eyewitness account. In fiction, they’re used for writing dialogue or every time a personality says one thing out loud. 

“The place is the emergency room?” he requested the nurse urgently. 

Nevertheless, for those who’re paraphrasing what somebody mentioned, you don’t want citation marks. 

He urgently requested the nurse the place the emergency room was. 

Sign the titles of quick works

Except for quotes and speech, English additionally makes use of citation marks for the titles of works. Sure kinds of works—however not all—use citation marks round their titles so the reader is aware of they’re a reference. 

Sometimes, the titles of short-form works like poems, quick tales, and songs use citation marks. Titles of long-form works, like books, movies, and stage performs, use italics as an alternative. You possibly can see an entire listing of when to make use of citation marks for titles and when to make use of italics in our information “When to Use Citation Marks in Titles.” 

Written by Sylvia Plath, “Tulips” is a tragic poem with a contented title. 

Set aside a phrase to point out irony, sarcasm, or skepticism (scare quotes)

Scare quotes are used to point out that the author doubts the validity of a phrase. They’re generally used to point out irony, sarcasm, or how one thing is “popularly termed.” They will have the identical that means because the phrase so-called, together with suspicious insinuation. 

Scare quotes usually seem as citation marks round a single phrase or typically a phrase. Additionally they require the right context so the reader understands why the author doubts or is qualifying the phrase’s utilization. Scare quotes in writing are the origin of the air quotes gesture in in-person speech. 

My “pet” is de facto only a stray cat that comes by as soon as a day. 

Focus on phrases as phrases

If you wish to focus on a phrase, phrase, or letter in writing with out utilizing its meant that means, set it aside with citation marks. Relying on the styling format, some writers alternatively use italics, with out citation marks, for this goal (like us on the Grammarly weblog). 

The “p” in “pterodactyl” is definitely silent. 

Differentiate a nickname from a given title

Final, in case you are writing an individual’s nickname along with their given title, set the nickname aside with citation marks so the reader is aware of it’s not a part of their formal title. The usual is to put the quoted nickname between the primary title and the surname, though that’s not essentially a rule. 

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson can’t escape his origins as a wrestler.

If the nickname is how a well-known particular person is mostly acknowledged, as with many historic figures, then no quotes are vital. 

Many historians consider that Richard the Lionheart was homosexual, however that proof has been faraway from historic data. 

When to make use of single citation marks

One of the crucial frequent factors of confusion with quotes is when to make use of single versus double citation marks. In American English, single citation marks are used just for quotes that seem inside different quotes. For instance, for those who’re quoting a passage that already has a quote in it, use double citation marks for the primary quote and single citation marks for the quote inside a quote. 

“My final boss used to at all times say, ‘You promote extra earlier than lunch than the others promote in every week,’” Amira talked about in her job interview. 

Nevertheless, this is applicable solely to American English, which can also be utilized by the vast majority of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. In British English, the principles are reversed: Single quotes are used primarily for quotes, dialogue, titles, and so on., and double quotes are used solely inside different quotes. 

Citation marks guidelines for grammar

With regards to grammar, fortunately there aren’t too many guidelines for the best way to use citation marks. In actual fact, for those who can keep in mind the three primary guidelines beneath, try to be in fine condition. 

Place punctuation marks inside citation marks

When utilizing a interval, comma, or exclamation mark with citation marks, place the punctuation inside the quotes. 

“We gained!” shouted the coach to nobody particularly. 

In case you’re breaking apart a sentence, place a comma after the primary half, additionally inside quotes. 

“My goodness,” mentioned my father, “take off your soiled sneakers earlier than coming in the home.” 

Identical to the usage of single citation marks, nevertheless, this is applicable solely to American English. British English locations punctuation outdoors citation marks. 

Do query marks go in quotes?

Query marks are just a little totally different. If the query mark is a part of the quote, place it contained in the citation marks. 

She requested, “Will this be on the check?”

If the query mark is not a part of the quote, and as an alternative the quote is a part of a query, place it outdoors of the citation marks. 

Did they only say “free pizza”?

This rule additionally applies to exclamation factors.

They simply mentioned “free pizza”!

Capitalize the primary letter of the quoted sentence 

In case you’re quoting an entire sentence, capitalize the primary letter of the primary phrase, similar to a standard sentence. But when the citation is positioned midsentence, forming a syntactical a part of the sentence, it begins with a lowercase letter, even when the unique sentence begins with a capilized letter.

The letter opened with, “We remorse to tell you your software has been denied.” 

Anne Frank reminded us that “whoever is comfortable will make others comfortable too.”

Nevertheless, for those who’re not quoting an entire sentence, no capitalization is critical. This consists of particular person phrases, phrases, or separate clauses.

The supervisor mentioned that the scenario was “beneath management.”

Embody a gap citation mark initially of every new quoted paragraph

Some quoted passages are longer than others. In case you’re quoting two or extra paragraphs, place opening citation marks initially of every new paragraph. Nevertheless, place closing citation marks solely on the finish of your complete passage, not on the finish of every paragraph. 

Right here’s what the e-mail mentioned: 

“It’s been a very long time. I hope you’re nicely. 

“I’m writing as a result of I’m coming to Atlanta for work, and I used to be questioning for those who’d like to satisfy up.”

Citation marks FAQs

What’s the perform of citation marks?

Citation marks are primarily used to set aside sure phrases, often to point direct quotes but in addition to suggest the titles of sure works or {that a} phrase doesn’t use a phrase’s meant that means. 

When are citation marks used?

Citation marks are used to point a direct quote, transcribe speech to textual content, signify titles of small works like poems, present that the validity of a phrase is doubted, focus on phrases as phrases with out referencing their meant that means, and to set aside nicknames from formal names. 

What’s the distinction between quotes and italics for titles?

Each quotes and italics are used for the titles of works, however sure kinds of works use solely quotes, and others use solely italics. Normally, short-form works like poems, songs, or quick tales use citation marks, whereas long-form works like books, movies, or stage performs use italics. 




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