Grammar Tip Tuesday: Quotes within Quotes

Today I want to talk briefly about quotes within quotes….within quotes. The endless rabbit hole of quotes within quotes can get confusing, especially if you don’t use proper punctuation. Let’s examine:

“I like cheese.”

One sentence of quotes. Easy enough. But what happens when we add a quote within that quote?

“Whatever you’re calling ‘cheese’ is just something processed.”

When using quotes inside a quote, you need single quotation marks. Here’s another example:

“He told me to ‘be quiet and sit down.’ I thought it was rude.”

Now, what happens when you have a quote within a quote within a quote? Yes, it happens.

Here’s the pattern: double –> single –> double

The quote within a quote within a quote is rare, but I’ve seen it. Just remember that you start with double quotation marks (“), move to single (‘), then back to double (“) and so on. It’s a simple rule but one that a lot of people don’t know.

Hopefully this was helpful! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.


For further reading:

Grammar Book on Punctuation on Quotes within Quotes

Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips



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