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Thursday, September 15, 2016 Double and Single Quotation Marks

You are a model student. You’ve completed your research early and talked to your professor about your ideas countless times, but you’re struggling to incorporate a few quotes. Or maybe you wouldn’t describe yourself as a model student, and you need to add a couple sources into your paper. Regardless of the type of student that you are, quotation marks are something that nearly every student questions himself or herself about. Especially when your quote is quoting something else!


I’m going to teach you how to format every type of quote there is, which happens to be three:

  1. Regular quotes
  2. Regular quotes with quotes in them
  3. Block quote with quotes in them

Regular Quotes

In this instance, use a double quote to show your reader that you are using material from another source and you aren’t changing a single word about it. When you do use a regular quote to cite another source, make sure you use the correct in-text citation for the format you’re using.

  • “Blueberries are the chocolate of the earth” (Samson, 2010).

You could also use regular quotes for dialogue:

  • “I don’t like chocolate.”
  • “What is wrong with you?”

Regular Quotes with Quotes

In this instance, use regular double quotes for the “outside” quote and single quotes for the ‘inside’ quote. This is the easiest way to show your reader what you’re doing.

  • Samson (2010) said, “when the magician is finished with his ‘splantabulous extravaganza’ for the evening, we can go get some delicious sandwiches.”

This shows you that the “splantabulous extravaganza” is something that was referred to before and not just made up by Samson.

Block Quotes with Quotes

A block quote doesn’t use quotation marks because there are so many words (more than 40 for APA), so the “inside” quotation marks for this one are double.

Eating a “carbalicious” diet is one of the most dangerous diets in the world. First of all, all participants are required to eat “at least 4,000 calories per day,” which is twice the recommended limit for mature adults. Participants are warned to take out a high life insurance policy before their trial. (p. 2)

There you have it! You can now revel in your knowledge of how to expertly use double and single quotation marks. The APA manual has information on other punctuation marks too, so be sure to check it out or come ask us for some advice.

Emily Childers is a Family and Consumer Sciences major and a writing coach at Liberty University's Undergraduate Writing Center. 

Posted at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)
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