When To Use Single Quotes? Best Full Guide in 2021

When To Use Single Quotes

While single and double quotes marks are acceptable to mark direct speech in the UK HTML, single quotes prevail. The United States, Canada, and Australia can be reversed.

A single quote, also known as an apostrophe or a punctuation symbol on the United States QWERTY keyboard near the Enter key, is sometimes referred to by an apostrophe. When to use single quotes? Continue reading, and Penn Book will give you the complete guide in the following article.

What is the difference between single quote marks and double quote marks?

You might be wondering, “How can I tell if I should use single or double quotations?”

The type of English that your client prefers to use for their document will determine whether or not you should use single quotes.

This is easy to do if you are writing for American audiences. Just use double quotation marks for most of your sentences, except a few that I will discuss below.

On the other hand, single quotation marks are more common if your audience is more familiar with British English. They still use double quotation marks occasionally, as newspapers often use double quotes to quote.

When To Use Single Quotes?

How do I know if I should use single or double quotes?

This is an interesting question. It all depends on where you’re writing from. One uses one quotation mark in British and Australian English. Double quotation marks are used if you are writing in North America.

Sometimes, however, a publisher’s or author’s style might prevail over general preferences. Judith Butcher, Copy-Editing, points out that different writers may have their system for quotation marks. For example, double quotation marks are used for speech, and single quotation marks are for thoughts. When using these tiny punctuation marks, the most important rule is to match the style of your opening and closing quotation marks. Example: “Good morning Mary” (also called Adrian) or “Good morning Stephen” (also called Jane).

Misuse of quotation marks is one of the most common mistakes in ESL that editors make. It would help if you used quotation marks only to distinguish quotations. If you are quoting more paragraphs than one, an opening quote is required at the end of each paragraph.

Single Quotes And Double Quotes

Smart Quotes or Straight Quotes?

It is a constant debate between grammarians and writers about whether to use “straight” quotes (two lines of text) or “smart quotes” (curly quotes that look like “inverted quotations”) in formal writing. Many believe that you can use either style as long as your text is consistent with one. If smart quotes or curly quotes are used, ensure that they face in the right direction.

Others believe that smart quotes should only be used as speech, apostrophes, and speech, while straight quotations indicate feet and inches.

Should I Use Single or Double Quotation Marks for Quotes within Quotes?

First, decide whether to use double quotation marks or one for your initial quote. For a quote within the quote, you will need to use double quotation marks if you only use one quotation mark. Double quotation marks should be avoided. You should only use a single quote to create a quote within a quote. Take this example:

Start with a double quotation mark

“When I say ‘immediately,’ I mean sometime before August,” said the manager.

Start with a single quote.

‘Why did she call the man a “traitor”?’

Do I Use Single or Double Quotation Marks for Block Quotations?

To punctuate material that has been separated from the main text by a blockquote, you don’t usually need to use opening and closing quotation marks. Block quotations can be indented or placed in a smaller font. Depending on the convention used (British, American), the blocks will contain either double or single quotes. These different conventions for closing punctuation can complicate matters. These are two examples.

The Chicago Manual of Style

Then, the narrator enters:

Imagine Bart’s surprise, dear reader, when Emma turned to him and said, contemptuously, “What ‘promise’?”

Hart’s Rules are also available.

“The passing crowd” is a term that was coined in an attitude of indifference. But, for a man with what Plato calls “universal sympathies” and even for the ordinary citizens of this world, who is more interesting than the people who make up “the passing crowd”?

I’m Writing in a Specialized Field; Should I Use Quotation Marks for Specialized Terms?

Many terms with a particular meaning in specialist writing, such as linguistics, philosophy, or theology, are enclosed in single quotation marks.

The ‘gutter’ is the inner margin of a book.

Many people don’t realize that “cultivar” is synonymous with “clone.”

It is important not to confuse your readers with too many punctuation marks. It is not necessary to include quotation marks in your argument. However, the names of horticultural cultivars should be included in a single quotation mark.

One example of an apple is “Jonathon”, a variety of a grape called “Chardonnay”, and a rose called “Rosa Munda”.

What if you have a quotation inside another quotation? American English would say that the order is double, single, and then twice again.

Last example: “Is he crazy?” said Caitlin. “When you said ‘Mark said “Commas don’t matter,”’ I died a little inside.”

How to Use Single Quotation Marks?

How to Use Single Quotation Marks

Rule 1: Quotations Within a Quotation

When you are quoting someone within your quotation, the most common use for the single quotes is. This format is common in many types of essays, books, and news stories.

Sam exclaimed, “Joe was at the store and bumped into Alexa. When he saw her, he said, ‘I hope we’ll see you at the party next Friday,’ but she didn’t know anything about it!”

The news reporter said, “All of the stores on the block have burned down. One shop owner screamed, ‘I cannot believe this is happening!’ as the flames engulfed her store.”

Jason told Mark, “I saw Cynthia the other day, and she said, ‘I’m really looking forward to Mark’s graduation!'”

Her daughter asked, “Why did you call that man a ‘ridiculous idiot’?”

Rule 2: Quotes within a Headline

Single quotation marks can be used instead of double quotation marks in a headline. If the headline contains the title of a song or short story, single quotation marks will be used. This is usually used when the headline refers to someone’s words.

In the words of The Beatles, ‘Let it Be’

The President Urges, ‘Don’t Worry, America’

‘I Did it for My Kids,’ Says Heroic Mom

Candidate Promises ‘No More Taxes’

Other Consideration

Historical Usage

In the middle of the 16th century, quotation marks were made from metal for typesetting. Direct speech in the text was previously marked by changing the font or simply by indicating the speaker. They were widely used in many texts by 1749. At that time, single quotation marks (also known as inverted commas) were the most common.

Placement of quotation marks in relation to other closing punctuation

Many people are confused about where to place quotation marks relative to other closing punctuation.

The confusion is likely because Americans and British do things differently. Why can’t they do it the same way as we do in the United States of America?

Let me now explain, American English perspective, whether these punctuation marks are inside or outside the quotation marks.

  • Periods and Commas are enclosed within closing quotation marks regardless of whether they are single or double.
  •  Exclamation marks and question marks should be placed inside quotation marks only if they are part of the whole sentence.
  • Semicolons and colons are used to indicate that the text is not within closing quotation marks.

British English only includes the punctuation marks that appear in the original material.

Use a Thin Space Between a Single Quotation Mark and a Double Quotation Mark

When a double quotation follows a single quotation mark, it can be challenging to see. Typesetters often insert a thin space between each quotation mark. A thin space is just what it sounds like. It’s a smaller space than a regular one.

Usage with Other Punctuation Marks

American and British styles differ in the way they punctuate quotation marks.

Both American and British punctuation styles use exclamation points and question marks to apply to whole sentences. If question marks or exclamation marks are just the quoted part of a sentence (like “How cold is your ?”),”), they are placed within quotation marks.

Parting Advice

Quotations are essential for all types of writing. However, too many quotation marks can make your writing appear heavy-handed. Scribendi professionals can proofread your writing to ensure that quotation marks are properly used.

Watch more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeOdzA6fy9A


What is the purpose of single quotation marks?

To indicate the inclusion of quotations within other quotations, single quotation marks can be used. “Jessie said, “Goodbye,” Ben said. These are Ben’s words, so they should be in quotation marks. We use single quotation marks because Jessie is quoting Ben.

What is the difference between single and double quotation marks?

Double quotations are used to mark speech. They can be used for titles of short works such as TV shows or articles. Scare quotes imply to indicate irony, disagreement, or a lack thereof. A single quote includes a quote within the quote, a headline, or a title within the quote.

Note: Use Double Quotation Marks for Scare Quote

Can I use single quotation marks to emphasize a word?

Sometimes, citation marks around single words can be used to emphasize a word or term that someone else has used. You should not put a word in quotations if it needs to be stressed but not being quoted. Instead, use italics.

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