Quotation Marks

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Question Marks and Exclamation Points in Quotations

If a question or exclamation is quoted directly, the quotation contains the question mark or exclamation point. If the question or exclamation is at the end of the quotation, the question mark or exclamation point comes before the closing quotation mark. Incorrect: “Look at that”! he exclaimed. “Did you see that”? Correct: “Look at that!”

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Other Punctuation Marks with Quotation Marks

Always place a comma or period before beginning or ending quotation marks. Incorrect: “Ned”, he requested”, please take this to Mr. Green”. Correct: “Ned,” he requested, “please take this to Mr. Green.” Always place a colon or semicolon after ending quotation marks. (This is relatively rare.) Correct: George claimed, “I have twenty points”; Bill said

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Quotation Marks in Dialogue

Begin a new paragraph with every change of speaker. Incorrect: “Hello, Mary,” Jeffrey stammered. “Hi, Jeffrey, how are you?” “Uh, fine. What have you been doing lately?” Correct: “Hello, Mary,” Jeffrey stammered. “Hi, Jeffrey, how are you?” “Uh, fine. What have you been doing lately?” For quotations longer than a single paragraph, put quotation marks

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Quotation Marks in Titles

Use quotation marks to set off the title of a short written work or parts of a longer work. Short works include short stories, chapters from a book, one-act plays, short poems, essays, songs, and articles. Parts of a longer work include episodes in a series, songs, parts of a longer music composition, or an

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Quotation Marks with Slang

Nonstandard or unusual slang terms are normally put in quotation marks. Keep in mind what is slang today may be widely used tomorrow. For example, when people first started getting arrested for using crack cocaine when it was a new product in the 1980s, news reports usually put the word “crack” in quotation marks. It

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