Quotation Marks

Using punctuation to denote quotes


Double quotation marks are used to signal a short direct quotation (four lines or fewer of text).

For example:
Marcia stated, "You must bring your book to every class."

NOTE: Indirect discourse (someone's words quoted inexactly) does not require quotation marks.

For example:
Marcia had reminded the students to bring their books.


Single quotation marks punctuate a quotation within a quotation.

For example:
"I never read 'The Raven'!"


Use explanatory remarks to transition into quoted material.

For example:
At the beginning (comma follows your explanatory remark):

Patrick Henry said, "Give me liberty or give me death."

At the end (comma follows the quoted material):

"Give me liberty or give me death," said Patrick Henry.

In the middle (commas follow the quoted material and your attributive tag):

"Give me liberty," said Patrick Henry, "or give me death."


Block quotes (four or more lines of quotation) should be set off from your text and NOT put in quotation marks.

For MLA documentation of a block quote:

A quote of more than four typed lines of prose or more than three lines of poetry should be double spaced and indented one inch from the left margin. A signal phrase should introduce the quote and be followed by a colon:

For example:
At the meeting, the University president discussed the parking controversy:

Available parking on the University campus is generally adequate. However, during special events students and staff have difficulty finding convenient parking. Sometimes no parking is available. To alleviate this problem in the future, off-site parking will be secured and shuttle buses will be available.

For APA documentation of a block quote:

For quotes containing 40 or more words, the quotation should be double spaced and indented one-half inch from the left margin.