8 julio, 2024

Quotation marks: types, what they are for, examples

The quotation marks are double spelling marks used in words, sentences, or even entire paragraphs. They are generally used to quote other authors and complement what is written. This is why they are very useful when it comes to avoiding plagiarism when writing your own texts.

There are three types of quotation marks and they have various uses within texts in the Spanish language. With these typographical figures, the aim is basically to highlight the information described within them.

There are many languages ​​that make use of quotation marks. Also, according to the region, the preference for any of them may change. Next, we will explain the types and different uses of quotation marks in written texts.


types of quotes

Latin quotation marks («»)

Latin quotation marks are also called Spanish, French or angular. They are recommended for texts that are printed. As it is a double sign, two are placed at the beginning and two at the end, in addition, they must be placed centered. They are mostly used by the Spanish.

According to the RAE, this type of quote has priority over other quotes. If there is a quote, it continues with the other types. In addition, when italics cannot be placed in a word or phrase from another language, or in a name of a book, these are the ones recommended to indicate said action.

Examples of Latin quotation marks

– As the saying goes: «There is no evil that does not come for good». (Simple use).

– «Manuel told him: “What an occurrence those of Jesús ‘crazy’ Rodríguez, he should think carefully about what he says”». (Priority use between the other quotes).

– <> is a must read. (To suggest italics for being the name of a book).

– He told me <>, and I understood him clearly. (To suggest italics because they are words in another language).

English quotation marks (“”)

They are quotation marks that are placed twice at the beginning and end of the sentence that is being quoted. They are the most used in the Spanish language and must be written at the top. They are also known as double or high quotes and are the most used in America. In case of quotes, they go after the angular ones.

Example of English quotation marks

– Some words that can be used are: “therefore”, “consequently”, “for that reason”.

Single or single quotes (»)

In this type of quotes, a single symbol is used for both opening and closing. They can be applied to a text that already has quotation marks and must come after the English ones. Likewise, it is possible to place them independently to indicate the meaning of a phrase. In the UK they are widely used.

single quotes example

– Luis, Pincho, ‘your dog’, is very mischievous.

What are the quotes for?

Quotation marks have different uses:

direct quotes

Quotation marks are generally used to cite other sources that you want to use in what you are writing. These words or sentences can be short or long and must be placed according to the rules for citing.

– As Isaac Newton said: «Men build too many walls and not enough bridges.»


In narrative texts, quotation marks are used to express the thoughts of the characters in the dialogues.

– “This is not the time to cry,” said his father.


In this case, the quotation marks are made to clarify what a particular word means. For this, simple ones are used.

– When we say the compositional prefix hydro- we refer to ‘water’.

Vulgar or ironic words

Quotation marks are also often applied to enclose words that are said in a vulgar tone or to represent some irony.

– The meeting was “fantastic”, that’s why everyone left early.

highlight a text

In the same way, quotation marks are used to give details of a word in written texts.

– The word “broad” is synonymous with “extensive”.


Quotation marks can be implemented to refer to the name of a work, book, poem, among other literary or scientific works. It is important to emphasize that the names of the works are in Latin quotation marks (<<>>), while the stories or poems belonging to said works are in English quotation marks (“”).

This same principle applies to music albums. The name of the album must be written in Latin quotation marks, and the songs that make it up in English quotation marks.

– I recommend reading <>, by Pablo Neruda. Especially his «Poem 1».

– From the album <>, I really like the song “You’re My Best Friend”.

Punctuation marks

Punctuation marks that do not belong to the text between quotation marks and are part of the development must be outside the quotation marks.

– Francisco said “I won’t go tomorrow, I don’t feel well”; (correct form).

– Francisco said «Tomorrow I will not go, I do not feel well;» (wrong way).

Exclamation and question marks

When an interrogative or exclamatory sentence is quoted, these signs go inside the quotation marks.

– I exclaim «At what time will we have lunch? I’m hungry!».

Improper or vulgar expressions

Quotation marks are used to highlight inappropriate or vulgar phrases. Note its use in the following heading:

– Excuse me for asking: where does the word ‘me cachis’ come from?

foreign words

Foreign words are those terms from other languages ​​that have maintained their original form in spelling (sometimes, also in pronunciation). To indicate that these are words that are foreign to the spelling of Spanish, quotation marks or italics are used.

Thus, among the latest foreign words accepted by the Royal Spanish Academy are «fair play» (from English: fair game) and «cracker» (from English: person who violates computer security systems).

Irony and expressions with a special meaning

Those expressions that have an ironic character or that have a special meaning are enclosed in quotation marks. The following snippet illustrates this point:

«At your command,» said the presentee laconically, barely touching the brim of his hat. A man with square features, close-browed, not at all likeable at first glance. One of those men who are always «encuevados», as the llanero says, especially in the presence of strangers.

(Excerpt from the novel Miss Barbaraby Romulo Gallegos).

Examples of the use of quotation marks

– The boy affectionately called the school dog “Peludo”.

– You think you “study” by being glued to the mobile phone.

– One of the famous phrases from the play The Little Prince is: “Older people are never able to understand things on their own, and it is very boring for children to have to give them explanations over and over again”.

– “Lemon” is a sharp word.

– The word “student” is a present participle of the verb “estudiar”, which means ‘the one who studies’.

– The article <> by National Geographic is one of the most interesting I have read on the subject.

– <>, said her mother.

– The president of the company stated that “Profit rates have increased by 20% this year”.

– “According to the grace of God that has been given to me, I as an expert architect laid the foundation, and another builds on top; but each one see how he builds on it ”(1 Cor. 3:10 King James Version).

Other examples

– As your grandfather Pepe would say: “Whatever you decide to do in life, always do it well. If you are a shoemaker, you must be the best of all”.

– One of Mario Benedetti’s poems says: “More than kissing her, more than sleeping together, more than anything else, she gave me her hand and that was love”.

– In the <>, we can find the article “Paraneoplastic Lambert-Eaton syndrome in small cell lung carcinoma”.

– The word “chocolate” comes from the Nahuatl <>, which is formed from the root <> and means ‘bitter’.

– The newspaper article stated “The transport stoppage was carried out successfully”.

– This morning I got up and told everyone: “Today will be a great day!”.

– The famous saying goes: “Even if the monkey dresses in silk, the monkey stays”.

– I had heard of the term <>, but I did not know how serious it is.


(2020). Spain: Wikipedia. Recovered from: es.wikipedia.org.
(2005). Spain: Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Doubts. Recovered from: rae.es.
What are the uses of quotation marks? (S.f.). Mexico: Mexican Academy of Language. Retrieved from: academia.org.mx.
The use of quotation marks. (2016). Colombia: Konrad Lorenz University Foundation. Recovered from: konpalabra.konradlorenz.edu.co.
Quotation marks within quotation marks: The use of this spelling mark. (2019). (N/A): The vanguard. Recovered from: lavanguardia.com.

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