On the Use of Quotation Marks


Correct Use of Quotation Marks

To represent common jargon in a formal sentence:

He wanted to go to a club and “get down” on the dance floor.

To point out a new word or expression:

The new device, according to Dr. Evil, was a “laser” (a powerful beam of light).

Before a conjunction that introduces an independent clause:

Most of the new system is installed, but the printer isn’t connected yet.

In a string of adjectives to call attention to each:

They replaced the old, noisy, slow printer.

To set off modifiers that apply to a sentence:

However, the web page isn’t finished.

After a long introductory phrase before the subject of the sentence:

Knowing the readers aren’t technical experts, the writers don’t use jargon.

To contrast elements in a sentence:

They need to add people to the testing team, not push back the schedule or eliminate testing.

Incorrect Use of Quotation Marks

To break up long groups of words:

WRONG: You can press the ESC key, to return to the menu, and not save changes.

To set off restrictive modifiers:

WRONG: People, who live in glass houses, shouldn’t throw stones.

Between a conjunction and the words it introduces:

WRONG: We need a writer but, we can’t get the funding.


Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.