Duplicate of:
What’s the difference between using single and double quotation marks/inverted commas?
How are embedded quotations used?
When should end punctuation go inside quotes?
Is it correct to use “punctuation outside of the quotations”, or “inside?”

Let me know if this belongs on Writers.se. Furthermore, I have a strong feeling this has already been covered, but I wouldn’t know where, since I don’t know what to name this situation.

Moving on, I will express a dialogue like this:

A:  “What did he say to you?’

B1:  “He leaned close to me, and said in a gravely and drunken voice, “It’s not easy.” ”

Or would it be,

B2:  “He leaned close to me, and said in a gravely and drunken voice, ‘It’s not easy.’ ”


B3:  “He leaned close to me, and said in a gravely and drunken voice, “It’s not easy”.”

I’ve tried to be helpful (and probably failed), but let me know.

  • 5
    The answer is B2. I suspect this will get closed as general reference, but that doesn't mean it was a bad question. I appreciate the effort you put into it. For more helpful advice on how to use quotation marks (and other punctuation), I recommend the Purdue OWL; this particular question falls under Quotations within a Quotation.
    – J.R.
    Commented Nov 24, 2012 at 11:00
  • 1
    Welcome to ELU. J.R.'s quite right, B2. This question is frequently asked here, so I'll refer you to an earlier one. ... Also, "gravely" is an adverb: "gravely drunken" or "grave and drunken". Commented Nov 24, 2012 at 11:02
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    @StoneyB: You are right about grave, of course, except I think maybe that's a misspelling of gravelly, so, "gravelly and drunken" would also work.
    – J.R.
    Commented Nov 24, 2012 at 11:13
  • 1
    And one might say something gravely in a drunken voice, so a slight rearrangement of the words makes sense too.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Nov 24, 2012 at 11:27
  • 1
    To sum it up, you must alternate between single and double quotes — single go inside double go inside single go inside double etc. See the first two questions this has been closed as a duplicate of. The other two questions address the difference between putting the period (or comma) inside vs. outside the quotes — it's a US vs. UK thing. "Dialogue" is a red herring here — you are really interested in (nested) quotes or quotations. I have edited and retagged accordingly.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Nov 24, 2012 at 14:07