For a printable copy, click here: Punctuating Quotations
Use double quotation marks around the words you quote.
As Herbert Trench once put it, be “a circumnavigator of the soul.”
Use single quotation marks around words your source quotes.
In his article, Strauss speculates that “parents who spank probably have heard ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ and they use that as an excuse.”
Use no quotation marks with an extended (block quote). Instead, indent to mark it as a quote.
In 1919, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., argued in Abrams v the United States that
When men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas—that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution.
Place periods and commas inside final quotation marks.
Ellen Glasglow told us wisely, “No idea is so antiquated that it was not once modern.”
“No idea is so modern that it will not someday be antiquated,” she continues.
Place colons, semi-colons, and dashes outside final quotation marks.
William Sommerset Maugham aptly stated, “Impropriety is the soul of wit”; perhaps then, we should be improper here.
Place question marks and exclamation points inside or outside final quotation marks, depending
on the sentence to which they correspond.
“What is truth?” asked one of Francis Bacon’s characters.
Shall I say as Samuel Goldwin did “include me out”?
Use ellipses to indicate where you have left words out of the quotation.
Robert Frost once said, “Education is . . . hanging around until you’ve caught on.”
Use brackets to indicate where you have added words to the quotation.
Sigmund Freud told us, “Where id [drive for pleasure] was, there shall ego be.”
Guidelines for Punctuating Quotations
- Use double quotation marks around the words you quote.
- Use single quotation marks around words your source quotes.
- Use no quotation marks with an extended or block quote.
- Place periods and commas inside final quotation marks.
- Place colons, semi-colons, and dashes outside final quotation marks.
- Place question marks and exclamation points inside or outside final quotation marks, depending on the sentence to which they correspond.
- Use ellipses to indicate where you have left words out of the quotation.
- Use brackets to indicate where you have added words to the quotation.
Writing Activity #3
Choosing from the following quotes, practice the Guidelines for Punctuating Quotations. Incorporate the quotes into sentences of your own.
1. Life for the living, and rest for the dead! (George Arnold)
2. Old age is an island surrounded by death. (Juan Montalvo)
3. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. (Fanny Fern)
4. A pedigree reaching as far back as the Deluge. (Harriet Beecher Stowe)
5. The best business you can go into you will find on your father’s farm or in his workshop. If you have no family or friends to aid you, and no prospect opened to you there, turn your face to the great West, and there build up a home and fortune. (Horace Greeley)
6. There’s a sucker born every minute. (P. T. Barnum)
7. Speech the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the towncrier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus; but use all gently: for in the very torrent, tempest, and—as I may say—whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance, that may give it smoothness. (Shakespeare, Hamlet)
8. It is better never to begin a good work than, having begun it, to stop. (Venerable Bede)
9. One good turn deserves another (Gaius Petronius)
10. Time eases all things. (Sophocles)