Quotation Marks

Double versus single?

Use double quotation marks (” “) for:

  • all quotations from primary and secondary sources.
  • any words you wish to demarcate as colloquial or unusual.
  • titles of short poems (“The Flea”), essays (“Of Studies”), critical articles, and short stories.

Use single quotation marks (‘ ‘) for:

  • quotations within quotations.

Straight versus curly?

Normally, your style guide will specify whether quotation marks should be straight (” ” and ‘ ‘) or curly (“ ” and ‘ ’). If your style guide doesn’t specify, choose whichever you like, BUT keep in mind the following rules:

  • Don’t mix and match. All quotation marks should be either straight OR curly.
  • Apostrophes should match your quotations marks. If you use straight quotation marks, your apostrophes should also be straight.
  • Most word processing programs (Word, LibreOffice, OpenOffice) automatically convert quotation marks and apostrophes from straight to curly as you type. You have to turn off this feature if you want straight quotation marks and apostrophes. In Word, go to your File menu. Select Options. Select Proofing. Select AutoCorrect options. Under Autoformat, uncheck Replace “Straight quotes” with “smart quotes.” Under Autoformat As You Type, uncheck Replace as you type “Straight quotes” with “smart quotes.”  In other programs and in earlier versions of Word, look for something like Options or Preferences.