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English Grammar And Writing

Quote a Quote

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It can be confusing when you need to quote a quote. You might not be sure which formatting system is the correct system. In this lesson, you will learn how to quote a quote and use the correct punctuation and formatting system.

Quoting a Quote

Your teacher asks you to write an argumentative essay defending an opinion. You decide to write a paper about your favorite football team, the Buffalo Bills, and why you believe they will win the next Super Bowl. You have just found the most perfect quote in your local newspaper that supports your ideas for your paper. It is a quotation from an important college football coach about your topic.

The question now: how to quote a quote inside your paper? This lesson will look at exactly that.

Nested Quotation

When you quote a quote, and put that quote within a quote, this is called nested quotation. There are accepted and specific rules according to the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA). These are the most commonly used formatting systems. MLA is used for things like the humanities, which includes literature and history. APA is used for the sciences, like medicine and chemistry.

Both systems use the same formula for nested quotations. Whichever system you use, the most important thing is to be consistent throughout your document. Your work should conform with the accepted style guide for your class, school, institution or organization. It is also very important where you are writing your document; there are two sets of rules: American English and British English.

It is also important to remember that most quotes are direct quotations:

John said, ''I will wash the dishes.''

When you quote a quote, you are quoting indirect information or statements:

''Professor Jones was quoted in the New York Times as saying 'I only have so much time to fight academic injustice.' ''

It may seem complicated, but once you know the basic formula, it is usually uncomplicated to quote a quote.

Quote

American English

For American English:

  • Double quotation marks are used for the first quote. ('')
  • Single quotation marks are used for a quote within a quote. (')
  • Double quotation marks are used for a another quote inside that, and continue to alternate inside.
    • At the court hearing, the jury heard, ''Frank told Bill, 'You're going to get us in trouble.' ''
    • The TV news was incorrect. I quote, ''The weatherman said, 'This weekend should be perfect.' '' It has rained all weekend.

British English

  • Single quotation marks are used for the first quote. (')
  • Double quotation marks are used for a quote within a quote. ('')
  • Single quotation marks are used for a another quote inside that, and continue to alternate inside.
    • It was reported in the newspaper that 'The dean of the university is very busy and told the students ''he understands their complaints and would get back to them shortly.'' '
    • The TV news was incorrect. I 'The weatherman said, ''This weekend should be perfect.'' ' It has rained all weekend.

The Basic Rule

Whichever system you use, the basic rule is always alternate between double quotes and single quotes. It is very rare to keep quoting a quote inside a quote inside a quote. Whether you start with double or single quotes depends on whether you're using US or British rules:

American English

'' 'I understand the need for speed on this matter,' said Mary Smith, Chief of XYZ Corporation, 'but if we move too quickly, we might be falling under their ''divide and conquer'' takeover system.' ''

British English

' ''I understand the need for speed on this matter,'' said Mary Smith, chief of XYZ corporation, ''but if we move too quickly, we might be falling under their 'divide and conquer' takeover system.'' '

  Umbreen Aleem       Thursday, 02 Jan 2020       198 Views

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