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The Exclamation Point!
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“Its primary function is to resolve structural uncertainties in a text, and to signal nuances of semantic significance which might otherwise not be conveyed at all, or would at best be much more difficult for a reader to figure out.”
Malcolm Parkes


One of the marks used to indicate the beginning and end of a quotation.

Direct quotations are another person’s exact words — either spoken or in print — incorporated into your own writing.

  • Use a set of quotation marks to enclose each direct quotation included in your writing.
  • Use a capital letter with the first word of a direct quotation of a whole sentence. Do not use a capital letter with the first word of a direct quotation of part of a sentence.
  • If the quotation is interrupted and then continues in your sentence, do not capitalize the second part of the quotation.

Fed up with her constant whining, Rhett Butler turned to Scarlett O’Hara and said, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
Mr. and Mrs. Allen stated that they “refuse to use that pesticide” because of possible water pollution.
“He likes to talk about football,” she said, “especially when the Super Bowl is coming up.”

Punctuation with Quotation Marks

Use a comma to introduce a quotation after a standard dialogue tag, a brief introductory phrase, or a dependent clause, for example, “He asked,” “She stated,” “According to Bronson,” or “As Shakespeare wrote.” Use a colon to introduce a quotation after an independent clause.
As D. H. Nachas explains, “The gestures used for greeting others differ greatly from one culture to another.”
D. H. Nachas explains cultural differences in greeting customs: “Touching is not a universal sign of greeting. While members of European cultures meet and shake hands as a gesture of greeting, members of Asian cultures bow to indicate respect.”

Put commas and periods within closing quotation marks, except when a parenthetical reference follows the quotation.
He said, “I may forget your name, but I never forget a face.”
History is stained with blood spilled in the name of “civilization.”
Smith, criticizing the apparent inaction, writes, “Donahue’s policy was to do nothing” (27).

— Owl On-Line Writing Lab —

RUNNING QUOTATIONS: If a full paragraph of quoted material is followed by a paragraph that continues the quotation, do not put close-quote marks at the end of the first paragraph. Do, however, put open-quote marks at the start of the second paragraph. Continue in this fashion for any succeeding paragraphs, using close-quote marks only at the end of the quoted material.

— The Associated Press Stylebook —

For information about usage of quotes, click here to consult one of the many style books listed on the Resources page


Quotation Mark
Contact Jeff Rubin for more information about punctuation
(510) 724-9507