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How to Use Quotation Marks

Learn how to use quotation marks correctly from Gotham Writers' Workshop instructor Stephanie Paterik in this Howcast grammar video.

Transcript

I like to think of the quotation mark as the punctuation that can save your job, or save your grade in the class. And that's because we use of quotation mark to attribute ideas and words to the original speaker, so you use quotation mark to show someone else has said something, either verbally, or they've written it on the page and if you don't use the quotation mark, when you are duplicating someone's work; it's what we called plagiarism, we definitely want to avoid that.
Grammatically speaking, punctuating the quotation mark can be a little tricky, so I'll show you a few examples, quotation marks often take two forms, we'll either lead with the quotation and give the attribution at the end of the sentence, or we'll lead with the attribution and, and with the quotation. So here is an example how to punctuate a sentence when we lead with a quotation: We have "It's a lovely day" Jim said. Well, in this case notice that we start with the quotation mark, we capitalized the first word and we keep the comma inside of the quotation mark, another words we, we tuck the punctuation inside of those quotes and then we give the attribution "Jim said" and the period doesn't come until the very end of the sentence.

Now, in this sentence we flip the order and we're starting with the attribution, so we say Jim said, we capitalize "J" cause it's the beginning of the sentence and this time we put the comma after said and then we [inaudible 00:43:40] into the quota. So, Jim said, comma, quotation mark, capital, it's a lovely day, period quotation mark. Can be a little tricky, because sometimes the comma goes inside of the quotation, sometimes it goes outside; it depends on how you're setting your sentence out.

So, let's say that it's such a nice day out that Jim tells his coworkers he is sick and he gets out of the office for the day. Well, I might say something like, Jim said he was feeling sick, but we are skeptical. So, you can see this is taken on a different form, because we're only quoting a small part of something that Jim said, not a complete sentence and we're tucking it into our sentence; so that even without the quotation marks it would read well, it would read as a complete sentence. Jim said he was feeling sick, but we are skeptical. So, in this case you can put a quotations around his partial quote and you don't have to capitalize the first of his quote. So, I hope that this makes; using quotation marks a little bit clearer for you.

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