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Quotation Marks Pt. 2

Which sentences are punctuated correctly?

  1. The boy said, “Mr. Tucker asked me, ‘Is that your dog?”
  2. Martha explained, ”My grandmother always said, ‘Why worry when you could walk?’ So I walk often.”
  3. “She just said ‘See you later,’ and then left”, reported Kyle.
  4. The teacher asked us, “How many of you have read the story ‘The Brown Horse’ in your textbook?”

If you answered 2 and 4, you are correct.

#1 is missing a single quote after the question mark. Yes, there should be three quotation marks there. One to close  “Is that your dog? and the other two to close the first set of quotes.

#3 uses the correct quotes, but the  second comma should be inside the quotes. See Quotation Marks Pt. 1


Simple Rule: Use double quotation marks ( ” ” ) first and single quotation marks ( ‘ ‘ ) second.

#2 Should have the question mark inside the single quotation mark.

#3 Should have the comma inside the double quotation mark.

13: Quotations and Dialogue

13.30: Quotations and “quotes within quotes”

Chapter Contents / Quotation Marks / Double or Single Quotation Marks

Quoted words, phrases, and sentences run into the text are enclosed in double quotation marks. Single quotation marks enclose quotations within quotations; double marks, quotations within these; and so on. (The practice in the United Kingdom and elsewhere is often the reverse: single marks are used first, then double, and so on.) When the material quoted consists entirely of a quotation within a quotation, only one set of quotation marks need be employed (usually double quotation marks). For permissible changes from single to double quotation marks and vice versa, see 13.7(item 1); see also 13.63. For dialogue, see 13.39.

Note carefully not only the placement of the single and double closing quotation marks but also that of the exclamation points in relation to those marks in the example above. Exclamation points, like question marks, are placed just within the set of quotation marks ending the element to which such terminal punctuation belongs.


All answers are based on the Chicago Manual of Style Online (CMOS 17) and the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.

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