Quotation marks, also called quotes, quote marks, quotemarks, speech marks, inverted commas or talking marks,Lunsford, Susan; 100 skill-building lessons using 10 favorite books : a teacher's treasury of irresistible lessons & activities that help children meet learning goals in reading, writing, math & more; p. 10 Hayes, Andrea; Language Toolkit for New Zealand 2, Volume 2, p. 17 are punctuation marks used in pairs in various to set off direct speech, a quotation, or a phrase. The pair consists of an opening quotation mark and a closing quotation mark, which may or may not be the same character.
Quotation marks have a variety of forms in different languages and in different media.
By the nineteenth century, the design and usage began to be specific within each region. In Western Europe the usage became to use the quotation marks in pairs but "pointing" outside. In Britain those marks were elevated to the same height of the top of capital letters (“…”). In France, by the end of the nineteenth century those marks were modified to a more angular shape («…»). Some authors claim that the reason for this was a practical one, in order to get a character that was clearly distinguishable from the apostrophes, the commas and the parenthesis (also, in other scripts, the angular quotation marks are distinguishable from other punctuation characters—the Greek breathing marks, the Armenian emphasis and apostrophe, the Arabic comma, decimal separator, thousands separator, etc.).
Other authors claim that the reason for this was an aesthetical one. The elevated quotation marks created an extra white space before and after the word that was considered unaesthetical, while the in-line quotation marks helped to maintain the Type color, since the quotation marks had the same height and were aligned with the lower case letters. Nevertheless, while other languages do not insert a space between the quotation marks and the word(s), the French usage does insert them, even if it is a narrow space.
The curved quotation marks (“…”) usage was exported to some non-Latin scripts, notably where there was some English language influence (for instance, in Indian scripts). The angular quotation marks («…») usage was exported to some non-Latin scripts, like Greek script, Cyrillic script, Arabic script and Ethiopic script. The Far East angle brackets quotation marks (《…》) are also a development of the in-line angular quotation marks.
In Central Europe, however, the practice was to use the quotation marks in pairs but "pointing" inside. The German language tradition preferred the curved quotation marks, the first one at the level of the commas, the second one at the level of the apostrophes („…“). Alternatively, these marks still "pointed" inside but could be angular and in-line with lower case letters (»…«). Some neighboring regions adopted the German tradition but some others adopted the second (closing) mark as "pointing" to the right („…”).
In Eastern Europe there was a hesitation between the French tradition («…») and the German tradition („…“). The French tradition prevailed in North-Eastern Europe (Russia, Ukraine and Belarus), whereas the German tradition (or its modified version with the closing mark pointing to the right) has become dominant in South-Eastern Europe (the Balkan countries).
The single quotation mark emerged around 1800 as a means of indicating a secondary level of quotation. One could expect that the logic would be the corresponding single mark everywhere but it was not the case. British English tends to reverse the usage—single quotation marks (‘…’) are primary, and double quotation marks (“…”) are secondary—this distinction, however, dating back to around the 1960s. In some languages using the angular quotation marks, the usage of single ones (‹…›) became obsolete, being replaced by double curved ones (“…”); the single ones still survive, for instance, in Switzerland. In Eastern Europe, where there was a hesitation between the French and German tradition, the curved quotation marks („…“) are used as a secondary level when the angular marks («…») are used as a primary level.
In American English, double quotes are used normally (the "primary" style). If quote marks are used inside another pair of quote marks, then single quotes are used as the "secondary" style. For example: "Didn't she say 'I like red best' when I asked her wine preferences?" he asked his guests.
If another set of quotes is nested, double quotes are used again, and they continue to alternate as necessary (though this is rarely done). British English tends to have the opposite convention – single quotes are primary, and double quotes are secondary; however, this distinction dates back only to around the 1960s. Earlier British usage was often identical to American. Different varieties of English have different rules regarding whether neighboring punctuation should be written inside or outside the quotation marks.
The closing single quotation mark is identical or similar in form (depending on the font) to the apostrophe and similar to the prime symbol. The double quotation mark is identical to the ditto mark and similar to—and often used to represent—the double prime symbol. However, all of these three characters have quite different purposes.
|lu … li'u||lu "…" li'u||Lojban uses the words lu and li'u, rather than punctuation, to surround quotes of grammatically-correct Lojban. Double quotes (unnamed in Lojban, but lubu suggested, following same pattern as alphabet) can also be used for aesthetic purposes. Non-Lojban text may be quoted using zoi.|
|„…“||’…‘||pp. 141-143, Правопис на македонскиот литературен јазик, Б. Видеоски etal., Просветно Дело-Скопје (2007)||„…“ Наводници ( Navodnitsi, double quote)|
’…‘ Полунаводници ( Polunavodnitsi, single quote)
Although not generally common in Dutch language any more, double angle quotation marks are still sometimes used in Belgium. Examples include the Flemish HUMO magazine and the Metro newspaper in Brussels.
|‚A‘||U+201A (8218), U+2018 (8216)||‚ ‘||German single quotes (left and right)||, – comma (U + 002C) left ' – Apostrophe (U + 0027) right|
|„A“||U+201E (8222), U+201C (8220)||„ “||German double quotes (left and right)||" – neutral (vertical) double quotes (U + 0022)|
Some fonts, e.g. Verdana, were not designed with the flexibility to use the English left quote as the German right quote. Such fonts are therefore typographically incompatible with this German usage.
Double quotes are standard for denoting speech in German language.
This style of quoting is also used in Bulgarian, Czech language, Estonian, Georgian, Icelandic, Lithuanian, Latvian language, Russian language, Serbo-Croatian, Slovak language, Slovene language and in Ukrainian. This German double-quote style is also used in the Netherlands, but is falling out of fashion nowadays with the 'English-style' quotation marks being preferred. However, it still can be found on older shop signs and in most large newspapers.
Sometimes, especially in novels, the angle quotation mark sets are used in Germany and Austria (albeit in reversed order from French): »A ›B‹?«
Alternatively, an en-dash followed by a (non-breaking) space can be used to denote the beginning of quoted speech, in which case the end of the quotation is not specifically denoted (see section Quotation dash below). A line-break should not be allowed between the en-dash and the first word of the quotation.
|’A’||U+2019 (8217)||’||Secondary level quotation|
|”A”||U+201D (8221)||”||Primary level quotation|
|»A»||U+00BB (187)||»||Alternative primary level quotation|
|– A||U+2013 (8211)||–||Alternative denotation at the beginning of quoted speech|
Sometimes, for instance on several French news sites such as Libération, Les Échos or Le Figaro, no space is used around the quotation marks. This parallels normal usage in other languages, e.g. Catalan language, Polish language, Portuguese, Russian language, Spanish language, or in German, Swiss French and Swiss Italian as written in Switzerland:
|« A »||U+00AB (171), U+00BB (187)||« »||French double angle quotes (left and right), most usual (approximative) form used today on the web, with normal (half-em) non-breaking spaces.|
|« A »||French double angle quotes (left and right), more exact form used by typographers, with narrow (quarter-em) non-breaking spaces.|
|«A»||non-French double angle quotes (left and right) without space (not recommended)|
|‹ A ›||U+2039 (8249), U+203A (8250)||‹ ›||French single angle quotes (left and right), alternate form for embedded quotations, used on the web with normal non-breaking spaces.|
|‹ A ›||French single angle quotes (left and right), alternate form for embedded quotations, preferably used by typographers with narrow non-breaking spaces.|
They must be used with non-breaking spaces (preferably narrow, if available, i.e. U+202F NNBSP which is missing in most computer fonts but that renderers should be able to render using the same glyph as the breaking "French" thin space U+2009, handling the non-breaking property internally in the text renderer / layout engine, because line-breaking properties are never defined in fonts themselves; such renderers should also be able to infer a half-width space from the glyph assigned to the normal half-em non-breaking space, if the thin space itself is not mapped).
In many printed books, when quotations are spanning multiple lines of text (including multiple paragraphs), an additional closing quotation sign is traditionally used at the beginning of each line continuing a quotation; any right-pointing guillemet at the beginning of a line does not close the current quotation; this convention has been consistently used since the beginning of the 19th century by most book printers (and is still in use today). Note that such insertion of continuation quotation marks will also occur if there's a word hyphenation break. There is still no support for automatic insertion of these continuation guillemets in HTML/CSS and in many word-processors, so these have to be inserted by manual typesetting:
Unlike English, French does not set off unquoted material within a quotation mark by using a second set of quotes. Compare:
For clarity, some newspapers put the quoted material in italics:
The French Imprimerie nationale (cf. Lexique des règles typographiques en usage à l'Imprimerie nationale, presses de l'Imprimerie nationale, Paris, 2002), though, does not use different quotation marks for nesting:
In this case, when there should be two adjacent opening or closing marks, only one is written:
The use of English quotation marks is increasing in French and usually follows English rules, for instance when the keyboard or the software context doesn't allow the utilisation of guillemets. The French news site L'Humanité uses straight quotation marks.
English quotes are also used sometimes for nested quotations:
But the most frequent convention used in printed books for nested quotations is to style them in italics (single quotation marks are much more rarely used, and multiple levels of quotations using the same marks is often considered confusing for readers):
Further, running speech does not use quotation marks beyond the first sentence, as changes in speaker are indicated by a dash, as opposed to the English use of closing and re-opening the quotation. (For other languages employing dashes, see section Quotation dash below.) The dashes may be used entirely without quotation marks as well. In general, quotation marks are extended to encompass as much speech as possible, including not just non-spoken text such as "he said" (as previously noted), but also as long as the conversion extends. The quotation marks end at the last spoken text, however, not extending to the end of paragraphs when the final part is not spoken.
A closing quotation mark ( ») is added to the beginning of each new quoted paragraph.
When quotations are nested, double and then single quotation marks are used:
|«Α»||U+00AB (0171), U+00BB (0187)||« »||Greek first level double quotes ( εισαγωγικά]])|
|― Α||U+2015 (8213)||―||Greek direct quotation em-dash|
|„A”||U+201E (8222), U+201D (8221)||„ ”||Hungarian first level double quotes (left and right)|
|»A«||U+00BB (0171), U+00AB (0187)||» «||Hungarian second level double quotes (left and right)|
|’A’||U+2019 (8217)||’||Hungarian unpaired quotes signifying "meaning"|
According to current recommendation by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences the main Hungarian quotation marks are comma-shaped double quotation marks set on the base-line at the beginning of the quote and at apostrophe-height at the end of it for first level, inversed »French quotes« without space (the German tradition) for the second level, so the following nested quotation pattern emerges:
… and with third level:
In Hungarian linguistic tradition the meaning of a word is signified by uniform (unpaired) apostrophe-shaped quotation marks:
A quotation dash is also used, and is predominant in belletristic literature.
|‚A’||U+201A (8218), U+2019 (8217)||‚ ’||Polish single quotes (left and right)|
|„A”||U+201E (8222), U+201D (8221)||„ ”||Polish double quotes (left and right)|
|― A||U+2015 (8213)||―||Polish direct quotation em-dash|
|– A||U+2013 (8211)||–||Polish direct quotation en-dash|
According to current PN-83/P-55366 standard from 1983 (but not dictionaries, see below), Typesetting rules for composing Polish text ( Zasady składania tekstów w języku polskim) one can use either „ordinary Polish quotes” or «French quotes» (without space) for first level, and ‚single Polish quotes’ or «French quotes» for second level, which gives three styles of nested quotes:
There is no space on the internal side of quote marks, with the exception of ¼ firet (~ ¼ em) space between two quotation marks when there are no other characters between them (e.g. ,„ and ’”).
The above rules have not changed since at least the previous BN-76/7440-02 standard from 1976 and are probably much older.
However, the part of the rules that concerns the use of guillemets conflicts with the Polish punctuation standard as given by dictionaries, including the Wielki Słownik Ortograficzny PWN recommended by the Polish Language Council. The PWN rules state:
In Polish books and publications, this style for use of guillemets (also known as »German quotes«) is used almost exclusively. In addition to being standard for second level quotes, guillemet quotes are sometimes used as first level quotes in headings and titles but almost never in ordinary text in paragraphs.
Another style of quoting is to use an em-dash to open a quote; this is used almost exclusively to quote dialogues, and is virtually the only convention used in works of fiction.
In Portugal, the angular quotation marks (ex. «quote») are traditionally used. They are the Latin tradition quotation marks, used normally by typographers. It is that also the chosen representation for displaying quotation marks in reference sources, Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa Contemporânea. Academia das Ciências, Lisboa, 2001Cunha, Celso & Lindley Cintra. Gramática do Português Contemporâneo. Edições João Sá da Cunha, Lisboa, 2013 and it is also the chosen representation from some sites dedicated to the Portuguese Language.
However, the usage of English-style (ex. “quote” and ‘quote’) marks is growing in Portugal. That is probably due to the omnipresence of the English language and to the corresponding inability of some machines (mobile phones, cash registers, specific printers, calculators, etc.) to display the angular quotation marks.
In Brazil, however, the usage of angular quotation marks is little known, being used almost solely the curved quotation marks (“quote” and ‘quote’). This can be verified, for instance, in the difference between a Portuguese keyboard (which possesses a specific key for « and for ») and a Brazilian keyboard.
The Portuguese-speaking African countries tend to follow Portugal’s conventions, not the Brazilian ones.
Other usages of quotation marks (“quote„ for double, ‹quote› for single) are obsolete.
Permissible, when it is technically impossible to use different quotation marks:
It is common to use quotation dashes for dialogue, as well as within quotations for the reporting clause. For more details, see the Russian Wikipedia article on this topic.
And, when quotations are nested in more levels than inner and outer quotation, the system is:This system follows the rules laid down in section 5.10 of the orthography guide Ortografía de la lengua española published by the Real Academia Española (RAE).
|「文字」||U+300C (12300), U+300D (12301)||Corner brackets|
Chinese language: ( dān yǐn hào)
Japanese: ( kagikakko)
낫표 ( natpyo)
|U+FE41 (65089), U+FE42 (65090)||For vertical writing:|
|『文字』||U+300E (12302), U+300F (12303)||White corner brackets|
Chinese: 雙引號 ( shuāng yǐn hào),
Japanese: ( nijū kagikakko)
Korean: 겹낫표 ( gyeopnatpyo)
Korean (book titles),
|U+FE43 (65091), U+FE44 (65092)||For vertical writing:|
|“한”||U+201C (8220), U+201D (8221)||Double quotation mark|
Korean: 큰따옴표 ( keunttaompyo),
Chinese: 雙引號 ( shuāng yǐn hào)
|Korean (South Korea),|
Traditional Chinese (acceptable but less common, happened in Hong Kong mainly as a result of influence from mainland China),
|‘한’||U+2018 (8216), U+2019 (8217)||Single quotation mark|
Korean: 작은따옴표 ( jageunttaompyo),
Chinese: 單引號 ( dān yǐn hào)
|Korean (South Korea), |
Chinese (for quote-within-quote segments)
|《한》||U+300A (12298), U+300B (12299)||Double angle quotes |
Korean: 겹화살괄호 ( gyeop'hwasalgwaro)
Chinese: 書名號 ( shū míng hào)
|Korean (book titles),|
Chinese language (used for titles of books, documents, musical pieces, cinema films, TV programmes, newspapers, magazines, laws, etc. )
|〈한〉||U+3008 (12296), U+3009 (12297)||Angle quotes |
Korean: 홑화살괄호 ( hot'hwasalgwaro)
Chinese: 書名號 ( shū míng hào)
|Korean (book sub-titles),|
Chinese language (used for titles of books, documents, musical pieces, cinema films, TV programmes, newspapers, magazines, laws, etc. )
The dash is often combined with ordinary quotation marks. For example, in French, a guillemet may be used to initiate running speech, with each change in speaker indicated by a dash, and a closing guillemet to mark the end of the quotation.
Dashes are also used in many modern English language , especially those written in non-standard . Some examples include:
In Italian, Catalan, Portuguese, Spanish, Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, Bulgarian, Georgian, Romanian, Lithuanian and Hungarian the reporting clause in the middle of a quotation is separated with two additional dashes (also note that the initial quotation dash is followed by a single whitespace character as well as the fact that the additional quotation dashes for the middle main clause after the initial quotation dash are all with a single whitespace character on both of their sides):
In Finnish language, on the other hand, a second dash is added when the quote continues after a reporting clause:
The Unicode standard introduced a separate character to be used as a quotation dash. In general it is the same length as an em-dash, and so this is often used instead. The main difference between them is that at least some software will insert a line break after an em dash, but not after a quotation dash. Both are displayed in the following table.
|― A||U+2015 (8213)||―||Quotation dash, also known as horizontal bar|
|— A||U+2014 (8212)||—||Em dash, an alternative to the quotation dash|
Many systems, such as the personal computers of the 1980s and early 1990s, actually drew these quotes like curved closing quotes on-screen and in printouts, so text would appear like this (approximately):
These same systems often drew the grave accent (`, U+0060) as an open quote glyph (actually a high-reversed-9 glyph, to preserve some usability as a grave). This gives a proper appearance at the cost of semantic correctness. Nothing similar was available for the double quote, so many people resorted to using two single quotes for double quotes, which would look like the following:
The typesetting application TeX uses this convention for input files. The following is an example of TeX input which yields proper curly quotation marks.
The Unicode slanted/curved quotes described below are shown here for comparison:
In typewriter keyboards, the curved quotation marks were not implemented. Instead, to save space, the straight quotation marks were invented as a compromise. Even in countries that did not use curved quotation marks, angular quotation marks were not implemented either.
Computer keyboards followed the steps of typewriter keyboards. Most computer keyboards do not have specific keys for curved quotation marks or angled quotation marks. This may also have to do with computer character sets:
The term smart quotes ( “…”) is from the name in several word processors of a function aimed this problem: automatically converting straight quotes typed by the user into curved quotes, the feature attempts to be "smart" enough to determine whether the punctuation marked opening or closing. Since curved quotes are the typographically correct ones, word processors have traditionally offered curved quotes to users (at minimum as available characters). Before Unicode was widely accepted and supported, this meant representing the curved quotes in whatever 8-bit encoding the software and underlying operating system was using. The character sets for Windows and Apple Macintosh used two different pairs of values for curved quotes, while ISO 8859-1 (historically the default character set for the and older Linux systems) has no curved quotes, making cross-platform and -application compatibility difficult.
Performance by these "smart quotes" features was far from perfect overall (variance potential by e.g. subject matter, formatting/style convention, user typing habits). As many word processors (including Microsoft Word and OpenOffice.org) have the function enabled by default, users may not have realized that the ASCII-compatible straight quotes they were typing on their keyboards ended up as something different (conversely users could incorrectly assume its functioning in other applications, e.g. composing emails).
Further, "smart quotes" features wrongly process as single quotes, given their common keyboard stroke. Both its purpose and its form (no diversity at all!) contradict this treatment. Initial apostrophes (such as in 'tis, 'em, 'til, and '89) are converted into opening single quotation marks—essentially upside-down apostrophes. British styles, in which single quotes are the standard primary, are most affected by inability to parse these two punctuation marks separately.
Unicode support has since become the norm for operating systems. Thus, in at least some cases, transferring content containing curved quotes (or any other non-ASCII characters) from a word processor to another application or platform has been less troublesome, provided all steps in the process (including the clipboard if applicable) are Unicode-aware. But there are still applications which still use the older character sets, or output data using them, and thus problems still occur.
There are other considerations for including curved quotes in the widely used HTML, XML, and SGML. If the encoding of the document supports direct representation of the characters, they can be used, but doing so can cause difficulties if the document needs to be edited by someone who is using an editor that cannot support the encoding. For example, many simple text editors only handle a few encodings or assume that the encoding of any file opened is a platform default, so the quote characters may appear as mojibake HTML includes a set of entities for curved quotes: &lsquo; (left single), &rsquo; (right single), &sbquo; (low 9 single), &ldquo; (left double), &rdquo; (right double), and &bdquo; (low 9 double). XML does not define these by default, but specifications based on it can do so, and XHTML does. In addition, while the HTML 4, XHTML and XML specifications allow specifying numeric character references in either hexadecimal or decimal, SGML and older versions of HTML (and many old implementations) only support decimal references. Thus, to represent curly quotes in XML and SGML, it is safest to use the decimal numeric character references. That is, to represent the double curly quotes use &#8220; and &#8221;, and to represent single curly quotes use &#8216; and &#8217;. Both numeric and named references function correctly in almost every modern browser. While using numeric references can make a page more compatible with outdated browsers, using named references are safer for systems that handle multiple character encodings (i.e. RSS aggregators and search results).
|"||"||Typewriter ("programmer's") quote, ambidextrous. Also known as "double quote".|
|'||'||Typewriter ("programmer's") straight single quote, ambidextrous|
|«||«||Double angle quote (chevron, guillemets, duck-foot quote), left|
|»||»||Double angle quote, right|
|‘||‘||Single curved quote, left. Also known as inverted comma or turned comma|
|’||’||Single curved quote, right|
|‚||‚||Low single curved quote, left|
|‛||‛||also called single reversed comma, quotation mark|
|“||“||Double curved quote, or "curly quote", left|
|”||”||Double curved quote, right|
|„||„||Low double curved quote, left|
|‟||‟||also called double reversed comma, quotation mark|
|‹||‹||Single angle quote, left|
|›||›||Single angle quote, right|
|⹂||⹂||also called double low reversed comma, quotation mark|
|﹁||﹁||CJK Compatibility, preferred use: U+300C|
|﹂||﹂||CJK Compatibility, preferred use: U+300D|
|﹃||﹃||CJK Compatibility, preferred use: U+300E|
|﹄||﹄||CJK Compatibility, preferred use: U+300F|
|＂||＂||Halfwidth and Fullwidth Forms, corresponds with U+0022|
|＇||＇||Halfwidth and Fullwidth Forms, corresponds with U+0027|
|｢||｢||Halfwidth and Fullwidth Forms, corresponds with U+300C|
|｣||｣||Halfwidth and Fullwidth Forms, corresponds with U+300D|
= Also sometimes used by 18th- and 19th-century printers for the small "c" for Scottish names, e.g. M‘Culloch. For a printed example see the Green Bag reference or the [[s:Page:The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.djvu/306|Dictionary of Australasian Biography, page 290]] (Wikisource).
The same U+2019 code point and glyph is used for typographic (curly) . Both U+0027 and U+2019 are ambiguous about distinguishing punctuation from apostrophes.