My example is this:

The agency stated, "Our draft environmental assessment ("EA") will be ready when it's ready".

My question is: when one is writing a direct quote from a statement and the original statement has double quotation marks in parentheses within the original source material, is one supposed to use double or single quotation marks within the parentheses?

  • 1
    The 'rule' being invented to help de-clutter and enhance clarity, here it is not needed and people insisting on one variant or the other should ask themselves why. // I'd add that many people would prefer zero punctuation rather than the comma before the "Our ... in your sentence, as reading more naturally. Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 16:09
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    Single quotation marks inside
    – Unrelated
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 18:10
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    I'm not sure and this doesn't answer the question for other cases, but here the quotation marks look potentially erroneous. It looks like they are just trying to help define the initials for environmental assessment, rather than quote anything, and that only requires parenthesis. If they really are erroneous, rather than scare quotes or something of the sort, you may want to consider silently editing them out as obvious typographical errors as par the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, section 13.7 recommendations.
    – Tonepoet
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 23:28

2 Answers 2


Interesting question! The parenthetical statement within the quotation is still a quotation within a quotation. The parentheses do not alter the single-double quotation mark rule. As you probably have noticed in your own research, grammar handbooks don't mention parentheses at all in regards to quotations within quotations.

A few examples of grammar guides:

  1. http://www.thepunctuationguide.com/quotation-marks.html#quoteswithinquotes
  2. https://www.grammarly.com/handbook/punctuation/quotation-marks/6/quotations-within-a-quotation/
  3. http://data.grammarbook.com/blog/quotation-marks/quoting-a-question-within-a-question/

Hope to be helpful here.

In legal writing, for the example above, the ("EA") is a reference meaning "as hereinafter" quotes for emphasis to the words 'environmental assessment.'

So we can use EA to refer to environmental assessment for the remainder of the document.

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    I think you're answering a different question. The question here is whether the quotes around "EA" should be double quotes or single quotes because that is already embedded in a quotation surrounded by double quotes. Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 16:13
  • Stating hereinafter ignores the rules of quotes within quotes. It is the act of naming the previous term as ("now to be known as name"). Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 16:23

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