Inverted Commas and Quotation Marks

Inverted Commas or Quotation Marks:

Punctuation

Punctuation is the art of using the proper stops, or pauses, in the correct places in a sentence or a paragraph. The following are the principal punctuations.

  • Full stop ( . )

  • Comma ( , )

  • Semicolon ( : )

  • Colon ( : )

  • Note of Interrogation ( ? )

  • Inverted Commas- Quotation Marks ( “ “ ) 

  • Note of Exclamation ( ! )

In this segment, we will learn how to use Inverted Commas or Quotation Marks in a sentence, paragraph, or composition. One must know that the rules of punctuation are by no means hard and fast and there are exceptions to most of them. Punctuation is often determined based on the expression or meaning of a sentence. Moreover, writing styles keep changing even in punctuation. The latest trend is to use a few punctuation marks, for keeping the sentences shorter.

The Inverted Commas (‘’      ‘’) are used to enclose the exact words used by a speaker.


For Example:

“I shall give you some wool to make a new sweater”, said the white lamb to the little girl. 

The Head boy of the school declared, “I am going to leave the school.”

They are basically used to mark off quotations in a sentence and in a direct narration. 

Single inverted commas (‘   ‘) are generally used when a quotation is inserted within another quotation or in a direct quote.


For Example:

My friend said to me, “I believe that ‘Winter always turns into spring.’ “

In the above example, ‘Winter always turns into spring.’ is enclosed within another quotation. 


Difference Between Single and Double Quotation Marks

In American English, using quotation marks is not simple. Double quotation marks are used at all times. It is used first and a single quotation is used second.  A single quotation is used to mark something within a quote like the name of a story or the name of a song, etc. In British English, we use them in the reverse order. 


Example: 

In American English: My mother said, “ Your baby sister started talking today. She said ‘Mamma’.”

In British English: My mother said ‘Your baby sister started talking today. She said “Mamma”.’


What Do Single Quotation Marks Represent?

Words or captions can be enclosed within single quotation marks to emphasize that word or statement but only when quoting a word or term that someone else has used. 


Use of Inverted Commas

There are some rules for using inverted commas in a sentence. Let us understand the rules one by one with examples.


Rule 1: 

In order to write a direct quotation, use double quotation marks.

“I hope you will come home on your vacation,” she said, is the correct sentence.

Incorrect Sentence: She said that she “hoped you would be there.” (The quotation marks are not used correctly because this sentence is not in direct speech.


Rule 2: 

Whenever you use a quotation mark at the beginning of a sentence or in a mid-sentence, ALWAYS capitalize the first word. 

Example:

My mother said to me, “Always work hard and you will definitely succeed.”

Note: Do not capitalize when the quoted text continues in a mid-sentence. 


Rule 3: 

Use commas before introducing or interrupting direct quotations.

Example: 

Hari said, “I will leave.”

This rule is optional when you use one-word quotations. 

Example:

Hari said “Stop”

If the quotation comes before Hari said or a similar attribute, then end the quoted text with a comma.

Example:

“I will leave,” Hari said.

“Stop,” Hari said.

If the quotation used in a sentence functions as subject or object then a comma may not be used.


Rule 4: 

Full Stops and commas are ALWAYS written inside the quotation marks.

Example:

The board said, “Walk.”

The teacher shouted, “Hurry up.”


Rule 5: 

When a question needs to be written within the quotes the question mark should be placed inside the quotation marks.

Example:

Anjali asked, “Will you be my dance partner?”.

The question ‘will you be my dance partner?’ is part of the quotation. If a question within the quotes ends in a mid-sentence then the question mark replaces a comma. 


Rule 6: 

Quotation marks can be used as components like the title of a chapter in a book, the name of a song, or the heading of an essay or stories or poem. 

Example: 

“Merchant of Venice” written by Shakespeare.


Solved Examples:

Q1. Punctuate the following with inverted commas or quotation marks.

  1. He said let’s not do anything about it till we know the facts.

  2. Sanjay said to his father I want to go abroad after I finish my studies here.

  3. I exclaimed on seeing Seema in the room I never expected to find you here.

  4. Mahatma Gandhi said be the change you want to see in the world.

  5. Wretch said to the king what harm did I do to you that you want to take my life with your own hand you killed my father and my two brothers were the reply.


Solutions:

  1. He said, “Let’s not do anything about it till we know the facts”.

  2. Sanjay said, “Father, I want to go abroad after I finish my studies here.’

  3. ‘What a pleasant surprise!’ I exclaimed on seeing Seema in the room, ‘I never expected to find you here.’

  4. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

  5. “Wretch!” said the king. “What harm did I do to you that you want to take my life with your own hand?” “You killed my father and my two brothers,” was the reply.

For a very long period of time English has been a wonderful official language for almost all countries. Indentation is always an important criterion when writing English. One of the indentations includes inverted commas or quotation marks. Quotation marks or inverted commas are either used on either side of the word or phrase. It is also used between dialects and some signature lines.

Sometimes, Quotation marks are also used to give emphasis to a word or to prove that the particular word is important or necessary or should be kept in mind.

During the modern English period, quotation marks were generally used for the indication of dialects of a speaker. It was found in almost all romantic novels or Baroque books. The traces of this historical English are also found in Christian Bible till date. Before the initials of quotation marks the writers used to write the dialects in either italic or Roman. With the growing modernization of the English language, the quotation marks were abandoned and after the abandonment of indentations, it was then blocking quotation marks that were promoted in a huge amount. 

In early English quotation marks were used in direct speeches. This particular practice became common and is used till date.


Applications and Rules that Should be Followed While Using Quotation Marks:

The application of quotation marks can be enlisted as below:

  • Quotation marks are either single or double. Authors often used the inverted marks in their speeches which were said by their characters. The single and double quotation marks have different applications too. The only thing you have to take care of is that if you start with a single quotation mark then you are supposed to end it with the same and vice versa.

  • Increase your writing speech within speech then you are supposed to use different quotation marks which is known as inner quotation marks

  • Sometimes the quotation marks are nested. For instance, If you are using an author's dialect in a different book then you have to use inner quotation marks and outer quotation marks accordingly.

  • Each subsequent paragraph is covered by opening quotation marks and you are only allowed to give the closing quotation marks to the end of the paragraph.

  • The inverted commas are used to depict irony also. This implies that they are used in ionic, dubious, or non-standard words. The verbal uses of these types of courts are sometimes referred to as scare quotes.

  • Signaling unusual usually: when the Author realizes that a particular word is not accepted the way it deserves to be accepted then he uses these inverted commas in order to depict the audience about that particular word. These words are generally descriptive but holsky, humorous, cranky, or even a pun.

  • Use mention distinction: 

  • In linguistics

  • Titles of artistic words

  • Nicknames and false titles

  • Non-standard usage.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Who invented quotation marks?

In the seventh century encyclopedia, quotation marks were used in ancient Greek practices. The writer who used the quotation marks was Isidore of Seville. He started using single quotation marks for the very first time.

2. Is it compulsory to use a comma before starting quotation marks?

Yes, it is grammatically necessary to put a comma before starting quotation marks. This is because most of the time the quoted text or the dialect or the direct speech is independent of the rest of its environment or the written script. This is because the quoted dialects are usually syntactically independent.

3. What is the quotation mark called?

Quotation marks have a use variety of depictions which include speech marks, talking marks, quote marks, punctuation, or inverted commas, These are informally called as quotes also. These are used while depicting quotes, dialects, titles, direct speech, or names.

4. Why are quotation marks upside down?

Quotation marks are the punctuation used in dialects and generally while considering direct speeches. The upside-down quotation mark is a language permeable. These symbols are specific for different countries and different languages.

5. What is the general classification between different countries' quotation marks?

The countries which are having different quotation marks are as follows:

  • Bulgarian

  • German

  • Finnish and Swedish

  • Portuguese

  • Belarusian, Russian, and Ukrainian

  • Spanish

  • Chinese, Japanese and Korean

6. How are the Quotation Marks or Inverted Commas represented?

Quotation Marks or Inverted commas are represented by “    “.

7. What do Single Quotation Marks represent?

Words or captions can be enclosed within single quotation marks to emphasize that word or statement but only when quoting a word or term that someone else has used.

8. What is the difference between Single and Double Quotation Marks?

A single quotation mark is used to mark something within a quote like the name of a story or the name of a song, etc. whereas a double quotation mark is used to enclose the exact words used by a speaker.

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