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What's the Difference in Usage Between Using Single and Two Quotation Marks/Inverted Commas?

There are two quote signs, :



Is there a difference between these two and are there are occasions when one is used and not the other?

marked as duplicate by user1579, Cerberus, RegDwigнt May 13 '11 at 12:37

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Complete explanation is provided about quotation marks.


  • double quotation marks are preferred in the United States, and both single and double quotation marks are used in the United Kingdom.
  • For speech within speech, the other is used as inner quotation marks:
‘HAL said, “Good morning, Dave”’, recalled Frank.

“HAL said, ‘Good morning, Dave’”, recalled Frank.
  • In Canada, the accepted rule is to use “ ” for all primary quotations and ‘ ’ for quotations within quotes.
  • emphasize that an instance of a word refers to the word itself rather than its associated concept
  • A three-way distinction is occasionally made between normal use of a word (no quotation marks), referring to the concept behind the word (single quotation marks), and the word itself (double quotation marks):

When discussing ‘use’, use “use”.

  • single quotation marks are used to embrace single characters, while double quotation marks enclose whole words or phrases:

The letter ‘o’ is one of the most used in the English language. The term “cremation” refers to the burning of the body after death.

Hope this helps you.

  • 1
    Thanks for taking the time and trouble to find the link, @Boob. It's helpful to write a summary of the article you link to so that people only have to follow the link for the gory details. People are much more likely to show their appreciation of your effort by upvoting your answer the more direction information you provide! – user1579 May 13 '11 at 12:25
  • @Rhodri: That's so kind and gentle of you. – user8568 May 13 '11 at 12:57
  • There are, in fact, more than two types of quotation marks: Guillemet – kzh Jun 28 '11 at 11:04

In British English a normal quotation uses the single quotation mark.

John said he was 'tired and hungry' and would go straight to bed.

In American English a normal quotation uses the double quotation mark.

John said he was "tired and hungry" and would go straight to bed.

For quotes inside quotes, British uses the double quotation marks and American the single.


John said, 'Jane told me she was "tired and hungry" and would go straight to bed'.


John said, "Jane told me she was 'tired and hungry' and would go straight to bed."

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