A Word About Quotation Marks

My topic today, class, is “what do you do when you have a quote inside of a quote?” Here’s an example of it being done correctly:

“On Chrome OS, we were like, ‘We control all the pieces. We can do better,’” Will Drewry, a principal software engineer for Google’s devices, and one of the founding fathers of the Chromebook, said in an interview in January.

The big item is that the inside quotation gets single quotes (apostrophes).

The minor item is that when both quotations end at the same time, put a space between the single and double marks. You get to play fast and loose with this second rule. Some fonts manipulate their apostrophes a bit so there’s a natural space after it, but a lot of fonts don’t bother. The goal is to be easy to read, so if your font doesn’t put the space there for you, do it yourself. The space looks a little big, but your meaning is immediately apparent.

What if you have a quotation inside the inside quotation? I haven’t found any examples lately, but the rule is that you alternate. That innermost quotation gets the double quote marks.

PS—Wouldn’t you know, I found a comic that shows how important to get your quote marks correct:

(I feel obliged to point out that the inside quote isn’t exactly a quotation. Those inside marks are used to call attention to what’s inside them. They’re called scare quotes.)