...your quote is short and you're introducing it with a phrase like "he said" or "he replied"
ex. Twain observed, "Only presidents..."
use a colon if:
you've made a full statement and are now supplying a quote to illustrate or prove it
when your quote extends past one sentence
when you're indenting the quote because it's hefty
*no introductory punctuation is needed unless....
the syntax of your sentence requires it
ex. Max said that Comrades "will lie embalmed." - right
ex. Max said that, "Writing and rewriting are hard." - wrong
commas and periods always go...
....INSIDE closing quotation marks, even if the comma or period wasn't part of the original quotation
colons and semicolons go..
...OUTSIDE closing quotation marks; and so do exclamation points and question marks--if they weren't part of the quotation
ex. Did I write rain"? I mean "reign." No, no, not "rein," and certainly not "rain"!
ex. "Oscar Wilde remarked, "Truth is never pure, and rarely simple"; half truths, however, suffer neither inconvenience.
when referring to a specific word or phrase, you need to...
....isolate it from the surrounding text by setting it off, either with quotation marks or italics
ex. Many people apparently think that apply and infer are synonyms
ex. Is this what you call "ethnic cleansing"?
if you ever use a cliche...
....NEVER put it in quotation marks
for extra emphasis, or when several words are being cited...
...forget quotation marks and go with italics or underlining instead
quotation marks should not be used for cliches because....
quotation marks only compound your offense by highlighting the trite expression
they're bound to irritate readers because, implicitly, you're claiming that you really know better
traditionally typed single-spaced and indented
3 mistakes with blocked quotes common by inexperienced writers
to introduce their quote with a lead-in ending in a period instead of a colon
to sandwich their big quote smack in the middle of their own sentence
*to lead the quote in ultra-mechanically, saving all the commentary until afterward
a quote lacking explicit attribution
a quote that is attributed to some vague , conspicuously unnamed source such as a "congressman", sometimes needed to protect a source
authenticity before all else; if you aim to create truly realistic speech rhythms, you must flout standard written English; ex. sentence fragments
avoid semicolons--nobody talks in semicolons
avoid nonsense like "Aw, you're not that old, she grinned." instead, say laughed
let your reader supply 90% of the exclamation points and italics
in direct address, set off the person's name with a comma, even if that comma/pause is slurred over in normal speech
dialogue tips continued
6. root around for hard to spell "interjections", like "mh-hmmm"
7. work in some daringly elliptical constructions and comma splices that mirror how people really talk
verse quotations of two line or less should be...
...run in, in quotation marks, as part of your text; use a slash (/) to indicate the end of one line and the beginning of a next
rules for punctuation parenthetical references
a parenthetical reference completes the clause containing your quote, so your final punctuation of that clause should follow the reference, not precede it
as for any comma or period that originally appeared at the end of your quote-simply cut it-it's now functionless and would create double-punctuation.
but if your quote ends in a question mark or exclamation point, keep that punctuation so your quote will read intelligibly
rules for references for indented quotations
end the block quote with whatever punctuation applies
set the whole parenthetical reference outside that punctuation mark
points composed of three spaced period (. . .) that indicate an omission of a word or words in a quotation, most typically somewhere in the middle
rules for ellipses
*if you're quoting an obvious fragment--a mere clause or phrase--ellipsis points aren't necessary
if you end your sentence with a quotation that has an ellipsis at the end, you must supply a final punctuation mark; the ellipsis, doesn't double as a period; ex. She remarked, "She spoke so pleasantly about them. . . ."
rules for ellipses continued
3. ellipsis points at the beginning of a quotation are visually distracting and easily avoided; simply merge the abbreviated quotations with an apt introductory clause
4. if, in quoting a passage of verse, you wish to omit one or more whole lines, type an entire line of consecutive, moderately spaced periods, as wide s the poem itself, to indicate substantial omission
5. if you ever need to express a thought that is trailing off, use just three spaced periods instead of the customary four
...when you want to insert some brief note or clarification into quotations
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