Single or Double Quotation Marks?

Proper punctuation is essential to English Grammar. But, punctuation marks can be quite confusing – even for experts!

Let’s go through the rules of usage for single and double quotation marks.

How Should I Know Which One to Use?

First things first, your location plays an important role in this decision. This is just another difference that exists between American and British English, like so many others.

Those who follow British English typically use single quotation marks. However, in American English, mostly double quotation marks are used.

So find out which system is followed where you live and maintain the same throughout.

When Should I Use Single Quotation Marks?

Quotation within a quotation

This is the most common use of single quotation marks.

For example: Rita told Kritika,” I met Ram and he said ‘Priya is not available tomorrow’ ”

Quotation Within a Headline

For example: The protestors shouted ‘We need higher wages!’

Special Terms Related to a Field

Those words that are unique to a subject/field need to be in single quotation marks.

For example: The bone in the thigh is called a ‘femur’.

When Should I Use Double Quotation Marks?

Direct quotation

Double quotation marks are used to repeat the exact words that someone said.

For example: Khushi exclaimed “Get away from me!”

Titles of books, articles or poems

For example: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was the first book in the Harry Potter series.

For words or phrases that are dubious

For example: Do not listen to “experts”, do what you feel is right.


This should settle the single versus double quotation marks debate. Keep these rules in mind to avoid making mistakes!

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