Speech Marks

A few simple rules make speech marks or quotation marks easy to use!

Where to put the speech marks

Put the speech marks around the actual words that are spoken.

Example:

Kelly said, ‘Strawberry milkshakes are great.’

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Where to use a comma

Use a comma before the speech begins.

Example:

He said, ‘I’ve found a solution to the problem.’

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Ending the sentence

If the sentence ends when the speech ends, put a full stop before the closing speech mark.

Example:

Bob said, ‘We’re going on a treasure hunt.’

If the sentence continues after the speech, put a comma before the closing speech mark.

Example:

‘I think that we should take some cake with us,’ he said.

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Where to use capital letters

Use a capital letter when someone starts to speak.

Example:

She whispered, ‘It’s time to go.’

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When a new person speaks

When a new person speaks, start on a new line.

Example:

‘Do you like football?’ asked Chris.
‘No, I only like athletics,’ Jenny replied.

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Single or double speech marks?

If you use single speech marks (as I have in the previous examples), you should use double speech marks for quotations within quotations. Some people prefer to reverse this convention.

Examples:

‘When I say “immediately,” I mean right now,’ said the teacher.

Or:

He asked, “Why did she call me ‘traitor’?”

Either is acceptable, but be consistent!

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