Punctuating Quotations & Citations The Writing Center
Brigham Young University
Quotation marks are used around phrases and words that are directly taken from another source.
Example: Stephen Schiff, of The New York Times Book Review, states that “Auster harnesses the inquiring spirit
any reader brings to a mystery.”
Quotation marks are not used when paraphrasing a quote.
Example: Stephen Schiff notes that Auster can grab hold of a mystery reader’s natural curiosity.
Quotation marks are not needed around block quotations, but material that is quoted within the block
quote should be left exactly as it is in the source material.
Unusual uses of words
Nicknames: They call him "Sugarfoot" Johnson.
To imply irony: His "work" would have been anyone else's play. (Here, the quotation marks are used in place
Word as a Word: Be sure to use “thus” sparingly in your writing. (Using italics is also acceptable)
However, do not use quotation marks to enclose slang, cliches, or to place emphasis on certain
Incorrect: That jump was “wicked.” Correct: That jump was wicked.
It was “raining cats and dogs.” It was raining cats and dogs.
Titles of minor works
Minor titles are short stories, essays, short poems, songs, magazine/newspaper articles, speeches, and
chapters of books.
Examples: Mark Twain’s “The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” is written in dialect, much like his novel The
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Is “Twist and Shout” on Meet the Beatles or A Hard Day’s Night?
Note: Titles of major works (e.g., books, epic poems, movies, albums, magazines, newspapers,
etc.) should be set in italics—not underlined.
Quotation Marks with Other Punctuation
Commas and periods
Commas and periods go inside quotation marks.
Examples: "Television is actually increasing the IQ of many Americans," states Professor Dean Jones of Johns
"To thine own self be true."
Colons and semicolons
Colons and semicolons go outside quotation marks (unless they are part of the quoted material).
Example: Only one thing was wrong with his "ideal nickname": it didn't really reflect his personality.
Question marks, exclamation points, and dashes
If the punctuation is part of the quoted material, then it is left inside the quotation marks.
Example: At the end of chapter two, Delila ends her monologue by yelling “Holy cow!”
If the punctuation relates to the whole sentence, then it is placed outside the quotation marks.
Example: Is Nietzshe declaring his atheism when he states, "God is dead"? (Whole sentence is a question.)
Quote within a quote
When quoted material is placed within another quote, use single quotation marks around the quoted
material within the double quotation marks.
Example: Skowsen argues, “When Kingston says ‘it’s a lonely, lonely world,’ he does not consider the abundant
help he has received from strangers.”
Quotation marks with parenthetical citations
For direct quotations in both MLA and APA styles of parenthetical citation, the period is placed after
the parenthetical material.
Examples: Jane Austen was known to be "engaging, vivacious, and witty" (Halperin 25).
Johnson (1997) makes this contrast: “A channel surfer hops back and forth between different
channels because he is bored” (p. 109).
Note: For more information on specific styles see the handouts MLA Format and APA Format.
To indicate the omission of material in a quote use ellipsis points ( . . . ).
Example: "The president . . . wants to . . . decrease taxes," reported Roger Mudd.
Modern editors generally do not use ellipsis points at the beginning or end of quoted material, unless
the sentence quoted is deliberately incomplete.
Note: For more information on using ellipsis points in quoted material see The Chicago Manual
of Style (15th edition) sections 11.51–65 (pgs. 458–463); the MLA Handbook for Writers of
Research Papers (6th edition) section 3.7.5 (pgs. 114–118); or the Publication Manual of the
American Psychological Association (APA) (5th edition) section 3.38 (pg. 119).
James Gunter, summer 2005
Based on a handout by Marrietta Reber, Feb. 1993