The rules for punctuating quotations can be complex, however with some practice you will be able to punctuate your quotations with confidence.
Whether you use single or double quotation marks is personal preference, just remember to be consistent!
- Only include the exact words of the quotation inside the quotation marks.
- The quotation should start with a capital letter if it is a complete sentence. If it is a fragment of a sentence it should start with a lower case letter.
- In Britain, we place unquoted full-stops and commas inside the quotation marks.
- Question marks and exclamation marks normally belong inside quotation marks unless the quotation is part of a sentence that is a question or an exclamation, in which case the question/exclamation mark does go outside the quotation marks.
- If you are quoting a fragment of a sentence then you do not need to include any punctuation before the quotation.
- If you are quoting a complete sentence or sentences you can put a comma before the quotation. Or if the quotation is an explanation of the preceding clause then use a colon.
Test your understanding of punctuating quotations by answering the questions below.