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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quotation Marks

Quotation Marks 

It is a form of punctuation that looks like this: "  "

Quotation marks indicate that the words within them are exactly what someone said or lifted exactly as written in text. Usually a speaker tag (words identifying who said the quote or from where the quote was taken) precedes or follows the quote and is set off by a comma. Some rules regarding the correct usage of quotation marks:

1) Periods and commas that follow a quote are always enclosed in the quotation marks.
     For example: Junior's shoulders stiffened when his mama said, "I ain't gonna hit a lick at a stick today even if a cow hooks me."
     "We ain't got no milk, though, Mama," PeteJoe whined, hoping to spur her to busyness.
      "You boys just hush yourselves up," she said, irritated, "and get on and do your chores!"

2) When writing quotes within quotes, use single quotation marks.
     For example: PeteJoe's shoulders slumped. "Mr. Edwayne tells us, 'Y'all gonna get double for ever snake over 4 foot,' and Mama tells us, 'Do your chores and don't mess with no snakes.'"

3) Alert! Alert! Semicolons and colons are NEVER enclosed in quotation marks, unless they are part of the exact words.
     For example: Junior ventured, "Mama, we aim to go fishing today"; nonetheless, she stuck to her ain't-gonna-git-up attitude.

4) Question marks and exclamation marks may or may not be enclosed in quotation marks.
   a) If the quoted material is the question or exclamation, enclose the question/exclamation mark within the quotation marks.
     For example:  PeteJoe tried his sweet-talking voice, sing-songing, "Mama, is it alright with you if when we finish all the chores we head down to the bog to gig some frogs for dinner?"
     Her eyes closed, then suddenly flew open with a fiery pitch, and she spat, "I know where you boys been goin' and what you been doing!"

   b) If the words outside of the quotation marks AND the quoted material are both questions or exclamations, enclose the question/exclamation mark within the quotation marks.
     For example:  Did she ask, "How many frogs can y'all gig in an afternoon?"
     By golly and jimineeze-sneeze, she shouted, "Git me some frog legs, boys!"

   c) If the words outside of quotation marks are a question or exclamation, but the words within the quotation marks are not, then the question/exclamation mark follows the quotation marks.
     For example:  Did she say, "You'll never finish all of your chores before dark"?
     By golly and jimineeze-sneeze, she said, "I just need to rest my eyes a bit"!

In the end, it's the punctuation, not the quotation, that gets folks.

Tomorrow: Resultative Adjective
This post is brought to you by the April A to Z Blog Challenge. Check back all through April for daily discussions of writing conventions.


Damyanti said...

Useful post.

Look forward to the rest of your challenge run…can’t believe we’ve had 16 days already!
--Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

Twitter: @AprilA2Z

Grover said...

Thanks for the tips. I'm easily confused when it comes to quotation marks.

Dana said...

Yet another useful post. Keep 'em coming! :)

Wendy said...

Have you noticed how some people apply rules for single vs double quotation marks the same way they choose which sweater to wear or what color to paint?

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

So is it wrong to use quotation marks when you are using a word in sarcasm eg I don't like to watch "reality" shows? If it's wrong I have been guilty for a long long time.

Stephen Tremp said...

Hi Lucy, first time visitor and great to meet you! Good thing I have an awesome editor. He sorts out my loos thoughts and makes sense of them.

Jo said...

By loos thoughts Stephen, do we take it you had these thoughts while on the loo (can)?

Good post, Lucy, there are those of us who need all the help we can get.

DL Hammons said...

WOW....I knew all of those! That hardly ever happens!! :)

Mina Burrows said...

The sad thing is, even though I know most of these, I still make the errors. Dagnabit!

John Holton said...

This helped a lot. I neverv quite knew where to put a period, whether insidee or outside the quotes. Thanks!

Kathy said...

I love your example sentences. They make me smile. Great choice.
Visiting from the A to Z Challenge.
Kathy at Oak Lawn Images

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lucy .. great examples - I quite often get them wrong ... so I'll be back to absorb all the information in one go .. cheers Hilary

William Kendall said...

Your sentence examples leave me thinking I've been Southern-ified!

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