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    Should I use a comma before an opening quotation mark?

    This happens regularly in written dialogue and informative writing. It is easier to start sentences with short quotes than long quotes. It is usually best not to begin or end your introductory paragraph with a quotation.

    Less commonly, single quotation marks are used in place of parentheses, in which case the translation is not set off with commas. Also, any punctuation otherwise required by the structure of the sentence is placed outside the single quotation marks. According to the how to write an enduring issue essay APA Style manual, block quotes are those that take over four lines of printed text in your essay and don’t need quotation marks. But, always check what formatting style you must use as the definition varies. Don’t abuse direct quotations and insert them sparingly.

    Can we start a speech with quotes?

    Whether you are writing an article, a blog post, or a report, quotations can add depth and authenticity to your content. (And, you can quote me on that!) Here is a quick overview on how to introduce run-in quotations, which are short quotations integrated into sentences. Style guides and editors are torn on whether quotation marks are effective ways to emphasize text.

    before introducing a auote

    Instead, use a paraphrase or a summary to support your ideas. Introduce a long direct quote, then set it off in a block. A long quote is anything that’s longer than 4 typed lines. You’ll present these quotes in a block of text set off from the rest of your paragraph.

    Discussing specific arguments or ideas

    You can also use square brackets to show that you changed or added some words. That is necessary if you need some previous context to understand the meaning of the quote or if you want to make sure that pronouns agree with their antecedents. Put a period before the ellipsis if you skip one or more sentences. There are a few differences between the American and British styles of using inverted commas.

    • You should also use a comma when you introduce a quotation with a phrase such as “According to Thoreau.”
    • When introducing quotations, avoid using the verb says/said all of the time.
    • If a sentence is a question or an exclamation, but the quote is not, we typically place the punctuation mark outside of the quotation marks.
    • If you do quote in the first paragraph, make sure it is short and to the point.

    If the quotation is an incomplete sentence, it can be introduced with the source’s name and a communication verb or introductory phrase—no comma or colon is necessary. Also noteworthy are the British English rules for quotation marks, which switch the use of single and double quotation marks.

    How to Use Quotation Marks Inverted Commas

    Double quotation marks are used for direct quotations and titles of compositions such as books, plays, movies, songs, lectures and TV shows. They also can be used to indicate irony and introduce an unfamiliar term or nickname. If both the quote and the sentence are questions, you only need a single question mark inside the quotation marks to end both the quote and the sentence. In American English, a quote that comes at the end of a sentence will contain a period inside the final quotation marks.

    You should never have a quotation standing alone as a complete sentence, or, worse, as an incomplete sentence, in your writing. The quotation will seem disconnected from your own thoughts and from the flow of your sentences. Ways to integrate quotations properly into your own sentences, with correct use of punctuation, are explained below. Another option for adding an introductory clause to a quotation is to include a comma.

    Keep periods and commas within quotation marks

    There are at least four ways to integrate quotations. Second, ask yourself whether the quotation blends into the rest of the sentence—or, speaking grammatically, if it’s a syntactical part of the surrounding sentence. The long quotation is indented half an inch from the rest of the text, so it looks like a block of text.

    The first phrase states that nothing is inherently good or bad; the second phrase suggests that our perspective causes things to become good or bad. In the second example, the isolation of “Death thou shalt die” at the end of the sentence draws a reader’s attention to that phrase in particular.

    Use Quotation Marks When Referring to Short Works

    Style varies, but at a minimum a block quotation should have a bigger left-hand margin than the main text. In contrast to the main text, a block quotation might also have a bigger right-hand margin, be in a smaller or otherwise different font, or have reduced line spacing. To present a quotation after a complete sentence (e.g., those ending in thus or as follows), put a colon after the introductory sentence and before the quotation marks. Start the quotation that follows with a capital letter if the quotation itself is a full sentence; start the quotation with a lowercase letter if it is a sentence fragment. Typically, these three punctuation marks all go outside of quotation marks. The exception to this general rule is when the quoted material originally used one of these punctuation marks.

    before introducing a auote

    We often have our hands full dealing with just a single colon, semicolon, or—heaven forbid—a comma. So you might find yourself frazzled upon adding quotation marks to what’s already a heavily punctuated sentence. Before you panic, you can use this quick guide to help you keep those quotation marks from jumbling up your perfect punctuation.

    About This Article

    The second way to avoid using too many quotations in your writing is to paraphrase. Paraphrasing is explaining someone’s ideas in your own words and style. Paraphrasing allows you to share the ideas you find in your research, but without quoting. When introducing quotations, avoid using the verb says/said all of the time. There are more descriptive verbs that can introduce a quotation. See the chart below for other words you can use to introduce a quotation. We consulted these works while writing this handout.

    before introducing a auote

    Jones acknowledges that although the divorce rate is increasing, most young children still dream of getting married (author’s last name, year, p. ##). Forton expresses disapproval of the American welfare system (author’s last name, year, p. ##). The author reveals his true feelings with his ironic remark that we should “just resort to cannibalism to defeat world hunger” (p. ##). After the war is over, the General reports that “It seemed a useless battle to fight even from the start” (p.##). The author declares, “All people, rich or poor, should pay the same taxes to the government” (p. ##). Dr. Patelobservesthat “most people tend to respond well to hypnotherapy” (p. ##).

    Suggested ways to introduce quotations

    In that rare instance, you would use double quotation marks for the second internal quotation. Remember that you are required to cite your sources for paraphrases and direct quotes.

    before introducing a auote

    If the quotation ends in a punctuation mark such as a period or a comma, drop that final punctuation mark (keep it only if it’s an exclamation mark or a question mark). At the end of the sentence containing the quotation, provide a parenthetical citation of the page or line number, and put before introducing a auote a period at the end of the whole sentence. A more stylistic use of quotation marks can show an author’s skeptical or derisive tone. Sometimes known as scare quotes or sneer quotes, these quotation marks indicate that the word in question has a different meaning than it normally does.

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