Punctuation. Quotation marks

    The content of these guidelines is taken from the third edition of the Vives University Network’s Interuniversity Style Guide for Writing Institutional Texts, an interuniversity project in which the UPC participates with the support of the Secretariat for Universities and Research of the Government of Catalonia.


    Quotation marks

    • Use quotation marks, also called inverted commas, to indicate direct quotations and definitions.

      Before bestowing the award the Rector said, Dr Robinson’s efforts to oppose discrimination place him among the few who actually deserve such an honour.
      According to this dictionary, a methodology is a body of methods, rules and postulates employed by a discipline.

    • Always use double marks for a quotation and single marks for a quotation within a quotation.

      "His office door is very unusual; it has 'Welcome' written all over it in over thirty different languages."

    • Punctuation should be placed according to the meaning: if it belongs to the quotation, it is quoted; otherwise, it is not.

      According to the Dean, "The need for structural change is paramount."
      The Dean declared that the need for structural change was "paramount".

    • Quotations of over four lines in length should be set off from the text as a block quotation, not enclosed in quotation marks, and single-spaced. Quoted matter within the block quotation is set off with double quotation marks; quotations within these quotations, with single quotation marks.
    • Single quotation marks can also help show the reader that a word or term is used in an unusual, colloquial or ironic way. However, if you overuse quotation marks in these ways, they lose their effect.

      Nature somehow knows the best environmental course to take.
      The students felt ripped off by the lecturer’s decision to hold the exam a week earlier than scheduled.
      That lecturer is famous for sharing her wisdom with her students.

    • Use quotation marks for titles of chapters in books, articles in periodicals, and TV and radio programmes.