Single Quotation Marks

The Rule for US English:

Single quotation marks are used to indicate a quote inside another quote.

 

Single quotation marks are also used for titles that would normally be in double quotations but are nested inside a quote.

 

Examples:

Bianca said, “I liked him up until he said, ‘Don’t you walk away from me.’”

  • Bianca is quoting someone else when she says, “Don’t you walk away from me,” so that quote is surrounded by single quotation marks, and her entire quote is in double quotation marks.

In John, it says, “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?’ He saith unto him, ‘Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.’ He saith unto him, ‘Feed my lambs.’” 

  • In this writing, someone is quoting a Bible verse, but then that verse has dialogue inside it. So all the dialogue pieces are surrounded by single quotation marks.

Suddenly, Shelley yelled, “Play ‘Twist and Shout’!”

  • “Twist and Shout” is the name of a song, and song titles are usually in quotation marks, but since it is being used inside a quote, it is surrounded by single quotation marks.

 


Practice:

Put in both double and single quotation marks as needed.

  1. He said, Steve Irwin’s famous catchphrase is Crikey.
  2. In Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Browne and King say, Instead of saying Amanda took one look at the hotel room and recoiled in disgust, describe the room in such a way that the readers feel the disgust for themselves.
  3. It was already dark when he said, We should go home, Mandy said.
  1. The news reporter said, All the stores on the block have burned down. One shop owner screamed I cannot believe this is happening as the flames engulfed her store.
  2. Carlos reported he liked all the episodes of Friends but said My favorite one is The One with the Red Sweater because the look on their faces during the big reveal was priceless.


Answers 

  1. He said, Steve Irwin’s famous catchphrase is Crikey.’”
  2. In Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Browne and King say, Instead of saying Amanda took one look at the hotel room and recoiled in disgust, describe the room in such a way that the readers feel the disgust for themselves.
  3. It was already dark when he said, We should go home,’” Mandy said.
  4. The news reporter said, All the stores on the block have burned down. One shop owner screamed I cannot believe this is happening as the flames engulfed her store.
  5. Carlos reported he liked all the episodes of Friends, but said My favorite one is The One with the Red Sweater because the look on their faces during the big reveal was priceless. (Titles of TV episodes are in quotation marks, but since it is inside a quote here, it is in single quotation marks.)

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With a passion for words, collecting quotes, and reading books, I love all things writing related. I will admit to having a love-hate relationship with writing as I am constantly critical, but I feel a grand sense of accomplishment spending hours editing my own writing.

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