The 7 Simple Rules for Quotation


§ ALWAYS lead into a quote to introduce where it came from

Use: According to _____, “…” or __________ claims, “…” or
_____________ stated, “…”

§ Do not start or end a paragraph with a quote
§ Do not overuse quotes ; any more than 2 in a paragraph is too many
§ NEVER end a paragraph with a quote
§ Only use a quotation when putting it in your own words would take away meaning
§ Do not change anything within the quote or it is not a quote anymore
. . . ellipses (to leave words out without changing meaning)
[ ] bracket (to change words without changing meaning)

1. Use quotation marks to begin and end a direct quotation. Separate the quoted material from the dialogue tag by commas.

Do NOT use quotation marks to set off an indirect quote.
*Mr. Arbogast said, “It’s a great day to be a Black Eagle.” (direct quote)
*Mr. Arbogast said that it is going to be a great day to be a Black Eagle. (indirect quote)

2. If a question mark or an exclamation point occurs where one of the separating commas should be used, omit the comma and use the question mark or explanation point to separate the quoted material.

*”Don’t be tardy!” Mrs. Riggs warned.
*”Who do you think did it?” questioned Jill.

3. The speaker’s words are set off from the rest of the sentence with quotation marks, and the first word of the quotation is capitalized. When the end of the quotation is also the end of the sentence, the period falls inside the quotation marks.

* The student announced, “I can’t get my stupid locker to open.”

4. Both parts of a divided quotation are enclosed in quotation marks. The first word of the second part is NOT capitalized unless it begins a new sentence.

*”This show,” said Isaac, “is a rerun.”
*”This show is a rerun,” said Isaac. “I saw it last week.”

5. When writing only a part of a quoted sentence, do NOT begin the quotation with a capital letter unless the person you are quoting capitalized it or it is the first word of the sentence.

*A critic called the movie “a really bad translation of the book”.

6. Quotes within quotes ­ If you have to have one character directly quoting another character, then use double quotes for your main dialogue and single quotes for the quote­within­a­quote.

*”And then she yelled, ‘Mind your own business.’ How dare she!” Aria complained.

7. When you write dialogue, begin a new paragraph whenever the speaker changes.