Beyond Words - Language Blog

The "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks "Blog"

Considering how long this wonderful blog has been around, I’m surprised I hadn’t stumbled upon it until recently. Most language professionals and language lovers have certain pet peeves when it comes to grammar and usage. The unnecessary quotation mark is definitely one of mine!

What are the rules for using quotation marks correctly? Well, here are some pointers so you can avoid being called out on the Unnecessary Quotation Marks Blog:

When quoting someone word for word, use quotation marks to show the reader exactly which words are being borrowed from a particular source.

Quotation marks may also be used around a single word or group of words to indicate use of a borrowed word or phrase. The reader is to understand that anything within quotations was spoken or written by someone other than the author of the work that contains it. A single word or a short phrase may be enclosed in quotation marks to indicate ironic use. Hopefully the word “fresh” in the photo above was not correctly quoted to indicate ironic use, but that is the effect that the unnecessary quote usually has.

Single quotation marks are used to set off a quote within a quote.

Although it happens rarely, when a quote within a quote contains yet another quote, the innermost quote is set off by double quotation marks. Single quotation marks and double quotation marks continue to alternate in this way as more direct quotations are added inside others.

Remember: if you’re going to “write” something, keep the rules for quotation marks in mind.