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Write Right

Writing Tip of the Week

When To Use Quotation Marks

1. Use quotation marks before and after the spoken words.

"Can Justin and I come over?"

"Uh, huh. Maybe you can help me figure out how to get Sam to notice me," Maddie said.

"Hasn't he already talked to you?"

"Yeah, but that was only because he was in my group in History and when Shamika—you know she doesn't shut up for a second—decided to take a breath or something, Sam didn't want to miss his chance to speak." She laughed.

Ava was silent.

"Are you still there?" Maddie asked.

Take note that periods and commas are always placed inside quotation marks. This is the same for a question mark or an exclamation point when it punctuates the quotation; however, it is placed outside when it punctuates the main sentence.

"I've got news about Sam. And it's horrible!" Ava said.

"You can't believe the rumour, Ava. "Did you hear Shamika say, "Sam cheated on his last girlfriend"?

2. Use quotation marks (or italics) to clarify the word being discussed.

The word "specific" is hard for me to pronounce.

3. Use quotation marks to punctuate titles of songs, short stories, poems, essays, chapters in books as well as articles in magazines and newspapers.

"Bobcaygeon" (song)

"In Flanders Fields" (poem)

"The Interrogation" (book chapter)

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