I’m about to teach you something… and, yes, it’s about grammar.
I’ve seen this done in some poorly edited books before and it mildly bugs me.
When you’re writing a quote inside of a quote, don’t make it a quote.
That probably sounded confusing as… okay, I’m keeping it clean here, so just let me give some examples.
This is wrong:
“Well,” she started. “He told me, “don’t be the one that takes the fall.””
No, no, no.
This is right:
“Well,” she started. “He told me, ‘don’t be the one that takes the fall.'”
Simply put, a quote inside of another quote, most likely dialogue, uses ‘single quotation marks’, not “double quotation marks”.
Also, and I’ll admit I almost always forget this part, if you have a single and double quotation mark next to one another (like in my example above), make sure there’s some type of space in between them. You might have to insert a space manually, or maybe not, it just depends on what font you’re using.
Now, this will rarely ever happen, but if you want to know what to do if it does, know that a quote inside of a quote inside of a quote… uses double marks again.
I apologize, that sounded even worse… but I’ll try to demonstrate it with another example…
“Well,” she started. “He told me, ‘she said, “don’t take the fall.”‘”
Oh, how fun quotes on quotes on quotes are.
Okay, now I just realized that I should probably point out that these are rules are for American English… but, for British English, it’s the exact same thing, just inversed. So… instead of “quotes” inside ‘quotes’ inside “quotes”… it would be ‘quotes’ inside “quotes” inside ‘quotes’. Don’t ask me why it’s like that because I don’t know.
Also… make sure your punctuation mark is always inside your quotes, no matter how many you have. Not like this…
“What’s new, pussycat”?
“He sang, ‘what’s new, pussycat’?”
“What’s new, pussycat?”
“He sang, ‘what’s new, pussycat?'”
But… I hope that’s a pretty common sense thing to all my fellow writers. I mean, I hope all of this is… but, if not, it doesn’t matter, because you know now!
I just needed to clear my own air of that minor annoyance… so thank y’all for letting me do that! Even though no one else really was stopping me from doing it… oh, well. Thank you, I guess, to WordPress, then… for giving me to platform to do so.
Let me know if you have a grammar question related to this subject… or any subject, really. Or just let me know if you’ve been bugged by others committing these errors, too!
Until the next grammar rant.