Module 13, Punctuation: Quotation Marks, Lesson 1:

Quoting Someone's Exact Words


Definition: Quotation marks (") are used to show that an author is using someone else's exact words—they may be the words of a person, a character, or a written source.

Use quotation marks only when quoting someone's exact words, either spoken or written. This is called a direct quotation.

"I prefer my cherries chocolate covered," joked Alyssa.
Jackie kept repeating, "Good dog, good dog!"
"How long will it take you?" asked Mom.

Placement of Quotation Marks

Place the opening quotation mark where the speaker's words start, and the closing quotation mark where the speaker's words end.

"I have wanted to buy my own truck for a long time," said Jordan.

If a quotation is more than one sentence long, place the first quotation mark where the quote begins, and the second one at the end of the last sentence. It's not necessary to put quotation marks around each individual sentence in the quote.

"I have been saving money for two years. I almost have enough for the down payment," Micah told him.

It's also important to remember that quotation marks close and then open again if the quote is interrupted.

"I guess I should start saving money, then," replied Jordan, "if I am ever going to buy one."

Definition: An indirect quotation is a sentence that reports what a speaker said or wrote, but it does not use the person's exact words. Indirect quotations do not need quotation marks.The word that often indicates that the statement is an indirect quotation.

Alyssa joked that she preferred her cherries covered with chocolate.
Jackie told her dog that she was a good dog.

Sometimes it may be difficult to tell whether a statement is a direct or indirect quotation, but the verb tense and word order can give you some clues.

Indirect: Mom asked how long it would take us to get to the Grand Canyon.
Direct: Mom asked, "How long will it take us to get to the Grand Canyon?"

Practice What You've Learned

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Insert quotation marks in each of the following sentences by clicking the spaces before and after the appropriate words. If the sentence is punctuated correctly, click "correct as is."
" You " stay " out " of " the " cookie " jar! " his " mother " yelled. "
(correct as is)
" Did " he " say " that " he " was " going? "
(correct as is)
" I " have " to " go " home " now, " he " said. "
(correct as is)
" Jim " finally " confessed, " I " don't " know " the " answer. "
(correct as is)
" Did " the " invitation " say " that " we " needed " to " RSVP? "
(correct as is)
" I " am " interested, " she " said, " in " going " to " college. "
(correct as is)
" The " commander " informed " us " that " the " battle " had " been " intense. "
(correct as is)
" Are " you " prepared, " she " added, " for " the " rigors " of " college " study? "
(correct as is)
" Please " mark " the " package, " Special " Delivery. "
(correct as is)
" He " announced " to " the " group " that " he " had " been " accepted " to " the " University " of " California, " Irvine. "
(correct as is)