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CAE | Quotation Marks

Quotation marks are used to indicate that the material is taken from another source or is the exact words of a speaker. Quotation marks also are used around titles of short works.

Quotations: Use quotation marks to enclose a direct quotation of no more than four lines. In all quoted material, use the wording, spelling, and punctuation of the original. If there are errors in the quoted material, do not correct them. But, to show that you are aware of the error or that the error is not a typing error, place sic in brackets after the mistake.

Example: Harrison writes, “Their [sic] is a connection between the responses to the beta-blockers.”

Dialogue: Begin the quotation marks before the first word and end them after the final word.

Example: Mary said, “I have not even thought about my research project.”

Titles: Enclose in quotation marks the titles of journal articles, essays, short stories, short poems, songs, and short plays.

Example: I have just finished reading “Fulfilling the Social Contract between Medical Schools and the Public” by Dean Layton McCurdy.

Single quotation marks: Use single quotation marks to enclose material that is already enclosed in quotation marks.

Example: Jan wrote me a note in which she complained, “I can never remember who said, ‘I regret that I have only one life to give for my country.’ Please send me the name.”

Punctuation with Quotation Marks:

  • All commas and periods go inside the quotation marks.
  • All semicolons and colons go outside the quotation marks.
  • Place question marks, dashes, and exclamation points inside the quotation marks only when they are part of the quoted material.

Developed by
Jennie Ariail, Ph.D. - Director
Tom Waldrep, Ph.D. - Director (retired)

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