Quotations

“This is the usual way to use punctuation in a full quote of direct speech for Australian newspapers,” the journalist said.

Note the position of the quotation marks and other punctuation, as well as the attribution phrase after the quote, which explains who is speaking.

“This is how a block of reported speech is continued.

“Where there are several consecutive paragraphs of quoted speech from the same speaker, who is usually identified in the first paragraph of the series, only use double quotation marks at the start of each paragraph.

“Only at the end of the last paragraph in the sequence should you conclude with the double quotation marks.”

When you partially quote someone, an “emphasised phrase” stands alone with double quotation marks around it.

“The sentence may even have its own ‘internal quote’, in which case single quotes are used,” the journalist said.

The comma directly after the internal quote relates to the overall sentence structure, so it stands outside the chosen phrase.

The journalist said a quote “could well be peppered internally with its own items of punctuation, such as long dashes, brackets, commas, colons and so on”.

Note the position of the full stop in the previous sentence. It does not take the role of concluding the partial quote but concludes the whole sentence. As a simple rule, a sentence that starts before the quote starts must finish after the quote ends.

You can back into a quote using a colon, although use this sparingly.

The journalist said: “I’m horrified by the incorrect use of quotations in stories.”

Do not back into a quote using a comma.

The journalist would never say, “Use a comma like this.”

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