University of Pittsburgh

University of Pittsburgh
Writing Style Manual

Q

QUOTATION MARKS

  1. The comma and period go inside quotation marks.

    • “I’m going home now,” said Mary.
    • She said the condition was “only temporary.”
  2. The semicolon and colon almost always go outside quotation marks.
    • She read “Dust of Snow”; it was her favorite poem.
    • Find the following in the article “The Guide to Writing”: rules for capitalization, hyphens, and commas.
  3. A question mark, exclamation point, or dash goes outside quotation marks unless it is part of the quotation. A single question mark goes inside quotation marks when both the nonquoted and quoted elements are questions.

    • Did he say, “Where are my books?”
    • “When did Fred go to Pitt?” asked Jean.
    • What is meant by “dog eat dog”?
  4. Use single quotation marks for quotations printed within other quotations.

    • The witness said: “I heard him clearly state, ‘I will be back,’ before he left.”
  5. If several paragraphs are to be quoted, use quotation marks at the beginning of each paragraph, but at the end of only the last paragraph.

    • “We are very excited about the opening of the 13th annual art show. As in years past, the artwork will be exhibited outdoors, weather permitting.
    • “While many local artists will still be featured, new to the roster are artists from Ohio, West Virginia, and New York.”
  6. Do not use quotation marks for topics of talks, papers, or presentations. Quotation marks should be used only for the titles of talks, papers, or presentations.

    • The guest lecturer gave a talk on democracy in ancient Greece.
    • The guest speaker presented ”Athens and Sparta: Views of Democracy in Ancient Greece” at the symposium.