Direct Quotations: Use quotes to surround the information that is to be directly cited, this includes what a person says. If you introduce a speaker, separate it with a comma. Capitalize the first letter in the quote if it is the beginning of a sentence. Ex: The monster said, “Why am I so ugly?” Ex: “Because,” the doctor replied, “you are a wretched monster.” Notice that there are commas around both sides of the doctor replied because the sentence being quoted is continued.
Ex: “No,” it said. “I am not wretched!” --In this case, No is an interjection and should be ended with a punctuation mark, but the comma is used, and the punctuation moved to after the explanatory remark. What is wrong with this example: He said “I don’t want to hear you whine about how you don’t want to be wretched”!
Always place commas and periods inside quotation marks. • Colons and semicolons belong outside quotation marks. • Place an exclamation mark or a question mark inside the quotation marks if it is a part of the quote; • if it is a part of the sentence (not the quote), put it outside the quotation marks; • if both, use only one inside the quotes.
Ex: He said, “I think so”; however, I’m not sure if he was or not. --Note the semicolon outside the quote. Ex: Did he say, “I don’t know”? --“I don’t know” is not a question, so the question mark goes outside. Ex: Did he ask, “What do you think?” --Notice that both the quote and the sentence are questions with one interior question mark.
Use single quotation marks around quotes within a quote. Ex: He said, “I think he told me to ‘Go jump in a lake.’” Ex: The teacher told us, “My mom always said, ‘Play with bulls, get gored.’” Ex: She said, “I heard Billy say, ‘Gert said, “She’s smelly.”’” Woah! That makes my head spin!
P-P-Paragraphing! • When writing dialogue, start a new paragraph and a new set of quotations whenever the speaker changes. Tip: You don’t always need to write “he said..” or “Billy said….” Sometimes it is implied and can be easily figured out by the reader. That helps when the “he said” thing becomes monotonous.
If a speaker talks over multiple paragraphs, leave the end of the paragraph open (no quote mark), but put a quote mark in at the beginning of the next paragraph of dialogue.
Put unknown or unusual slang or expressions in quotes. Put directly stated definitions in quotes. • Ex: I yelled at my sister for saying “cut the cheese”; it’s slang that means “flatulence.”
MLA and Citation • You can mold your quote into part of your sentence; don’t use commas. Ex: According to Doc, everyone must “watch that lovable cat and delightful mouse” on Feb 2 (45). • Remember MLA citation: • end quote • open parentheses • author name • page number • End parentheses • period
Examples of MLA: • Harold Bloomfeld writes, “It’s a matter of semantics” (73). • It was on a rainy day that “the world learned of the tragedy that befell young Djiboutians” (Marsden 67). • John Farquhar is an expert in tree fungus and claims that there are more than “forty-thousand types of tree fungus, two-hundred of which emanate a phosphorescent glow” (383).
Be very careful of writing in the vernacular, or a character’s dialect. Mark Twain was great at it, but it is very difficult to do. “Ayuh, I guess that I’d be a goo-in out ta da bahn wheya I’d be a findin’t dat deya ol’ heiffah. She’s a wicked gawgiss ol’ buh-id, tain’t she?” Vernacular
Put quotes around: • titles of short stories • short poems • short songs • newspaper/magazine articles • book chapters • single episode titles of TV shows.
books long poems plays, films TV series paintings long songs name of ships, planes, spacecraft newspapers and magazine names court cases Also italicize anything in a foreign language or a direct reference to a word. Underline or italicize titles for…