What is the proper way to use quotation marks? This may sound like a silly question, but it is one that needs to be addressed.

Before you send your next email, newsletter, or upload a blog post, be sure you are following these quotation rules:

  1. Always place semicolons (;), colons (:), and dashes (–) outside of quotation marks.
    • Semicolon example: Jacob’s favorite movie is “Transformers”; He has watched the movie over and over.
    • Colon example: He quoted his favorite line from Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech: “Let Freedom Ring.”
    • Dash example: Jessica said, “I hope no one asks me to go to the store”­– just before her mom asked her to go to the store.
  2. Question marks and exclamation points that are a part of the quotation stays inside the quotation marks. Question marks and exclamation points not a part of the quotation remain outside the quotation marks.
    • Part of the quotation marks: Our mother asked, “What do you want for dinner?”
    • Not part of the quotation marks: How often do you watch “Saturday Night Live”?
  3. Commas and periods should remain inside quotation marks unless you are teaching someone how to type HTML into a text box.
    • Comma example: “I hate when people question me,” he said with a smirk.
    • Period example: I need help defining “Democrat.”
  4. Use single quotation marks within a double quotation mark when putting one quote inside of another.
    • John’s mother said: “I heard your dad say, ‘Do not forget to take out the trash.’ ”


At H2H Consulting, we know these quotation mark tips and rules will help you properly use this punctuation mark in all of your marketing needs.