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Direct and Indirect Quotations

When do you use quotation marks?

By
Mignon Fogarty,
January 25, 2012

Direct and Indirect Quotations

When should you put single words such as yes and no in quotation marks?

It depends on whether you're quoting exactly what someone said (a direct quotation) or talking about what someone said or might say (an indirect quotation).

If you are directly quoting someone, put the word in quotation marks:

  • Sarah smiled and said, "Yes."
  • I looked up from my desk and said, "No, you can't have a cookie."

If you are indirectly quoting someone, don't put the word in quotation marks:

  • He wondered whether Sarah would say yes.
  • I looked up from my desk and told him no, he couldn't have a cookie.

 Related Articles

Single Quotation Marks Versus Double Quotation Marks
Quotation Marks with Periods and Commas

Examples Using Sentences from Odysseus
 

The Grammar DevotionalGet more tips like this in The Grammar Devotional:

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