Quotation mark

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“”   ‘’
English quotation marks
” ” « » 「 」
Citation marks Guille­mets CJK brackets
apostrophe   '
brackets [ ]  ( )  { }  ⟨ ⟩
colon :
comma ,  ،  
dash   –  —  ―
ellipsis   ...  . . .
exclamation mark  !
full stop, period .
hyphen-minus -
question mark  ?
quotation marks ‘ ’  “ ”  ' '  " "
semicolon ;
slash, stroke, solidus /  
Word dividers
interpunct ·
General typography
ampersand &
asterisk *
at sign @
backslash \
caret ^
dagger † ‡
degree °
ditto mark
inverted exclamation mark ¡
inverted question mark ¿
number sign, pound, hash, octothorpe #
numero sign
obelus ÷
multiplication sign ×
ordinal indicator º ª
percent, per mil  % ‰
plus and minus + −
equals sign =
basis point
section sign §
tilde ~
underscore, understrike _
vertical bar, pipe, broken bar |    ¦
Intellectual property
copyright ©
sound-recording copyright
registered trademark ®
service mark
generic currency symbol ¤

฿¢$ƒ£ ¥

Uncommon typography
index, fist
irony punctuation
reference mark
In other scripts

Quotation marks, also called quotes, quote marks, quotemarks, speech marks and inverted commas, are punctuation marks used in pairs in various writing systems to set off direct speech, a quotation, or a phrase. The pair consists of an opening quotation mark and a closing quotation mark, which may or may not be the same character.[1]

Quotation marks have a variety of forms in different languages and in different media.


The double quotation mark is older than the single. It derives from a marginal notation used in fifteenth-century manuscript annotations to indicate a passage of particular importance (not necessarily a quotation); the notation was placed in the outside margin of the page and was repeated alongside each line of the passage. By the middle sixteenth century, printers (notably in Basel, Switzerland) had developed a typographic form of this notation, resembling the modern closing or right-hand double quotation mark. During the seventeenth century this treatment became specific to quoted material, and it grew common, especially in Britain, to print quotation marks (now in the modern opening and closing forms) at beginning and end of the quotation as well as in the margin; the French usage (see under Specific language features below) is a survival of this. In most other languages, including English, the marginal marks dropped out of use in the last years of the eighteenth century.

The single quotation mark emerged around 1800 as a means of indicating a secondary level of quotation.

Quotation marks in English

In English writing, quotation marks are placed in pairs around a word or phrase to indicate:

  • Quotation or direct speech: Carol said "Go ahead" when I asked her if the launcher was ready.
  • Mention in another work of a title of a short or subsidiary work, like a chapter or episode: "Encounter at Farpoint" was the pilot episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  • Scare quotes used to mean "so-called" or to express irony: The "fresh" apples were full of worms.

In American English, double quotes are used normally (the "primary" style). If quote marks are used inside another pair of quote marks, then single quotes are used as the "secondary" style. For example: "Didn't she say 'I like red best' when I asked her wine preferences?" he exclaimed to his guests.

If another set of quotes is nested, double quotes are used again, and they continue to alternate as necessary (though this is rarely done). British English tends to have the opposite convention – single quotes are primary, and double quotes are secondary; however, this distinction dates back only to the 1960s[citation needed], earlier British usage being identical to American. Different varieties of English have different rules regarding whether neighboring punctuation should be written inside or outside the quotation marks.

Typographically, there are two types of quotation marks:

  • '…' and "…", are known as neutral, vertical, straight, typewriter, or "dumb" quotation marks. The left and right marks are identical.
  • ‘…’ and “…”, are known as typographic, curly, curved, or book quotes. The left (start) and right (end) forms are different, resemble small figures six and nine raised above the baseline (like 69 and 6699), but then solid, i.e., with the counters filled. In many typefaces, the shapes are the same as those of an inverted (upside down) and normal comma.

Curved quotation marks are usually used in manuscript and typeset text. Because typewriter and computer keyboards lack keys to directly enter typographic quotation marks, much typed writing has vertical quotation marks. The "smart quotes" feature in some computer software can convert vertical quotation marks to curly ones, but sometimes, imperfectly.

The closing single quotation mark is identical or similar in form (depending on the font) to the apostrophe and similar to the prime symbol. However, these three characters have quite different purposes. The double quotation mark is similar to—and often used to represent—the ditto mark and the double prime symbol.

Summary table for all languages

Other languages have similar conventions to English, but use different symbols or different placement.

Language Standard Alternative Spacing Names, notes & references
Primary Secondary Primary Secondary
Afrikaans “…” ‘…’ „…” ‚…’ [lower-alpha 1] Aanhalingstekens
Albanian „…“ ‘…’ Thonjëza
Arabic ”…“ ‏ or


"…" optional علامات تنصيص (ʻalāmāt tanṣīṣ, quotation marks)

The direction of text is right-to-left.

Armenian «...» չակերտներ (chakertner, quotation marks)
Azerbaijani «…» ‹…› “…” or


‘…’ or


0–1 pt Dırnaq işarəsi (fingernail mark)
Basque «…» ‹…› “…” ‘…’ Komatxoak
Belarusian «…» “…” [2] Двукоссе (double commas)
Лапкі (little paws)
Bosnian ”…” or „…” ’…’ „…“ »…« navodnici, znaci navoda, polunavodnici, Cyrillic script: Наводници, знаци навода, полунаводници, »…« only in printed media
Bulgarian „…“ ’…’ or

‘…’[lower-alpha 2]

[3][lower-alpha 3] «…»[lower-alpha 2] ’…’ or

‘…’[lower-alpha 2]

[3][lower-alpha 3] Кавички

„…“ is often incorrectly replaced by "…" or “…”

’…’ and ‘…’ are often incorrectly written as '…', ‘…’ or ‛…’

Catalan «…» “…” [lower-alpha 3][lower-alpha 4] “…” ‘…’ [lower-alpha 3] none «…» Cometes franceses (French quotation marks)
“…” Cometes angleses (English quotation marks)
‘…’ Cometes simples (Simple quotation marks)
Chinese, simplified “…” ‘…’ [4]

[4][lower-alpha 5] Fullwidth form “…” 双引号 (pinyin: shuāngyǐnhào, double quotation mark)
‘…’ 单引号 (pinyin: dānyǐnhào, single quotation mark)
Chinese, traditional 「…」
(when writing from left to right) or

(when writing from top to bottom)
『…』 or

[5][6][lower-alpha 6] [5] Fullwidth form 「」︰單引號 (Mandarin: dān yǐn hào, Jyutping: daan1 jan5 hou6, lit: "Single quotation mark")

『』︰雙引號 (Mandarin: shuāng yǐn hào, Jyutping: soeng1 jan5 hou6, lit: "Double quotation mark")

Note: No punctuation mark should be used when writing from right to left.

Croatian „…” ‘…’ [7] »…« „…” and »…« Navodnici
‘…’ Polunavodnici
»…« are used only in printed media
Czech „…“ ‚…‘ »…« ›…‹ Uvozovky (introduce)
Danish »…« or „…“ ›…‹ or ‚…’ [8] ”…”[9] ’…’[9] [8] Citationstegn (citation marks)
Anførselstegn (quotes)
Gåseøjne (goose eyes)
Dutch „…” ‚…’ [10] ‘…’ “…” Aanhalingstekens (citation marks)

‘…’ are "scare quotes" (zogenaamdfunctie)[10]

English, UK ‘…’ “…” [11][lower-alpha 7] “…” ‘…’ 1–2 pt Quotation marks, double quotes, quotes, inverted commas, speech marks

ITU-T: Diereses, quotation marks

English, US; English, Canada “…” ‘…’ [lower-alpha 7]
Esperanto “…” ‘…’ [lower-alpha 8] Citiloj
Estonian „…“ «…» Jutumärgid (speech marks)
Filipino “…” ‘…’ [12][lower-alpha 7] [12] Panipi
Finnish ”…” ’…’ [13] »…» ’…’ [13] Lainausmerkit (citation marks)
French « … » « … » or

“…”[lower-alpha 9]

[lower-alpha 2][lower-alpha 3] “ … ” ‘ … ’ [lower-alpha 3] ¼ em Guillemets
French, Swiss[lower-alpha 10] «…» ‹…›
Georgian „…“ “…” none ბრჭყალები (brč’q’alebi, claws)
German „…“ ‚…‘ »…« ›…‹ Anführungszeichen (quotation marks)
Gänsefüßchen (little goose feet)
Hochkommas, Hochkommata (high commas)
German, Switzerland[lower-alpha 10] «…» ‹…›
Greek «…» “…” [14][15] Εισαγωγικά (introductory marks).
Hebrew "…" '…' [16] „…” ‚…’ [16] מֵירְכָאוֹת (merkha'ot)

The direction of text is right-to-left, so low quotation marks are opening. Not to be confused with גֵּרְשַׁיִם gershayim.

Hungarian „…” »…« [lower-alpha 3] "…" Macskaköröm (cat claws – incorrectly used)
„…” Idézőjel (quotation mark)
»…« Belső idézőjel, lúdláb (inner quotation mark, goose feet)
’…’ Félidézőjel (half quotation mark, tertiary quotation mark)
The three levels of Hungarian quotation: „…»…’…’…«…” [17]
Icelandic „…“ ‚…‘ Gæsalappir (goose feet)
Indonesian “…” ‘…’ Tanda kutip, tanda petik
Interlingua “…” ‘…’ [lower-alpha 8] Virgulettas
Irish “…” ‘…’ 1–2 pt Liamóg (William)
Italian «…» “…” [18] “…” ‘…’ [18] Virgolette
Italian, Swiss[lower-alpha 10] «…» ‹…›
Japanese 「…」 or

『…』 or

[lower-alpha 6] 「」: 鉤括弧 (kagi kakko, hook bracket)
『』: 二重鉤括弧 (nijū kagi kakko, double hook bracket)
Korean “…” ‘…’ 『…』 「…」 “”, ‘’: 따옴표 (ttaompyo, quotation mark)
「」: 낫표 (natpyo, scythe symbol)
『』: 겹낫표 (gyeomnatpyo, double scythe symbol)
Latvian «…» „…“ Pēdiņas
Lithuanian „…“ Kabutės
Lojban lu … li'u "…" Lojban uses the words "lu … li'u" instead. Double quotes (unnamed in Lojban, but "lubu" suggested, following same pattern as alphabet) can also be used for aesthetic purposes.
Macedonian „…“ ’…‘ [19] [19] „…“ Наводници (double quote)
’…‘ Полунаводници (single quote)
Norwegian «…» ’…’ „…” ’…’ or ,…’ [lower-alpha 11] Anførselstegn (quotation marks)
Gåseauge, gåseøyne (goose eyes)
Hermeteikn, hermetegn
Sittatteikn, sitattegn
Persian «...» گیومه
Polish „…” «…» or


[lower-alpha 2] «…» or


[lower-alpha 12] Cudzysłów (someone else's word).
Portuguese, Brazil “…” ‘…’ [lower-alpha 3] Aspas duplas, aspas simples
Portuguese, Portugal «…» “…” [20][lower-alpha 3] “…” ‘…’ [20] Aspas, vírgulas dobradas
Romanian „…“ «…» [21][lower-alpha 3] „…”» «…» [21][lower-alpha 3] none Ghilimele (quotes)
Russian «…» „…“ [lower-alpha 3] „…” none Кавычки (kavychki)
«…» Ёлочки (yolochki, little fir trees)
„…“ Лапки (lapki, little paws)
Yolochki are used in print media, while lapki are used in handwriting.
Serbian „…” ’…’ „…“ or


Наводници, знаци навода, navodnici, znaci navoda
Slovak „…“ ‚…‘ »…« ›…‹ Úvodzovky (introduce)
Slovene „…“ ‚…‘ »…« ›…‹
Sorbian „…“ ‚…‘
Spanish «…» “…” [lower-alpha 3] “…” ‘…’ [lower-alpha 3][lower-alpha 4] none «…» Comillas latinas, comillas angulares
“…” Comillas inglesas dobles
‘…’ Comillas inglesas simples
Swedish ”…” ’…’ [22] »…» or


’…’ [22] Citationstecken, anföringstecken
Citattecken (modernised term)
Dubbelfnutt (ASCII double quote)
Thai “…” ‘…’ อัญประกาศ (anyaprakat)
Turkish “…” ‘…’ «…» ‹…› 0–1 pt Tırnak işareti (fingernail mark)
Ukrainian «…» „…“ „…“ ‚…‘ none Лапки (lapky, little paws)
Vietnamese “…” [23] Dấu ngoặc kép (paired parentheses)
Dấu nháy kép (paired blinking marks)
Welsh ‘…’ “…” “…” ‘…’ 1–2 pt Dyfynodau

Specific language features


The standard form in the preceding table is taught in schools and used in handwriting. Most large newspapers have kept these „low-high” quotation marks, but otherwise the alternative form with single or double “English-style” quotes is now often the only form seen in printed matter. Neutral quotation marks (" and ') are used widely, especially in texts typed on computers and on websites.[24]

Although not generally common in Dutch any more, double angle quotation marks are still sometimes used in Belgium. Examples include the Flemish HUMO magazine and the Metro newspaper in Brussels.[25]

German (Germany and Austria)

The symbol used as the “left quote” in English is used as the right quote in Germany and Austria, and a different “low 9 quote” is used for the left instead. Some fonts, e.g. Verdana, were designed not bearing in mind the automatic use of the English left quote as the German right quote and are therefore typographically incompatible with German.

Samples Unicode (decimal) HTML Description
‚A‘ U+201A (8218), U+2018 (8216) ‚ ‘ German single quotes (left and right)
„A“ U+201E (8222), U+201C (8220) „ “ German double quotes (left and right)

Double quotes are standard for denoting speech in German.

Andreas fragte mich: „Hast du den Artikel ‚EU-Erweiterung‘ gelesen?“ (Andreas asked me: 'Have you read the "EU-Expansion" article?')

This style of quoting is also used in Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Estonian, Georgian, Icelandic, Russian, Slovak, Slovene and in Ukrainian. In Bulgarian, Icelandic, Russian and Ukrainian, single quotation marks are not used. The double-quote style is also used in the Netherlands, but is now out of fashion — nowadays the 'English-style' quotation marks are preferred—it is still frequently found on older shop sign and is used by a most large newspapers.

Sometimes, especially in books, the angle quotation marks (see below) are used in Germany and Austria, albeit in reversed order: »A«. In Switzerland, however, the same quotation marks as in French are used: «A».

Double-angle quotation marks without spaces are the standard for German printed texts in Switzerland:

Andreas fragte mich: «Hast du den Artikel ‹EU-Erweiterung› gelesen?»
Andreas asked me: ‘Have you read the “EU Expansion” article?’

Angle quotation marks are also often used in German publications from Germany and Austria, especially in novels, but then exactly reversed and without spacing:

Andreas fragte mich: »Hast du den Artikel ›EU-Erweiterung‹ gelesen?«
Andreas asked me: ‘Have you read the “EU Expansion” article?’

Finnish and Swedish

In Finnish and Swedish, right quotes called citation marks, ”...”, are used to mark both the beginning and the end of a quote. Double right-pointing angular quotes, »…», can also be used.

Alternatively, an en-dash followed by a (non-breaking) space can be used to denote the beginning of quoted speech, in which case the end of the quotation is not specifically denoted (see section Quotation dash below). A line-break should not be allowed between the en-dash and the first word of the quotation.

Samples Unicode (decimal) HTML Description
’A’ U+2019 (8217) ’ Secondary level quotation
”A” U+201D (8221) ” Primary level quotation
»A» U+00BB (187) » Alternative primary level quotation
– A U+2013 (8211) – Alternative denotation at the beginning of quoted speech


French language uses angle quotation marks (guillemets, or duck-foot quotes), adding a quarter-em space (officially) (U+2005 FOUR-PER-EM SPACE (HTML  )) within the quotes. However, many people now use the non-breaking space, because the difference between a non-breaking space and a four-per-em is virtually imperceptible (but also because the Unicode quarter-em space is breakable), and the quarter-em is virtually always omitted in non-Unicode fonts. Even more commonly, people just put a normal (breaking) space between the quotation marks because the non-breaking space is often not easily accessible from the keyboard.

« Voulez-vous un sandwich, Henri ? »
“Would you like a sandwich, Henri?”

Sometimes, for instance on several French news sites such as Libération, Les Échos or Le Figaro, no space is used around the quotation marks. This parallels normal usage in other languages, e.g. Catalan, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, or in German, French and Italian as written in Switzerland:

«Dies ist ein Zitat.» [Swiss German]
«To jest cytat.»
«Это цитата».
“This is a quote.”
Samples Unicode (decimal) HTML Description
« A » U+00AB (171), U+00BB (187) « » French double angle quotes (left and right), most usual (approximative) form used today on the web, with normal (half-em) non-breaking spaces.
« A » French double angle quotes (left and right), more exact form used by typographers, with narrow (quarter-em) non-breaking spaces.
«A» non-French double angle quotes (left and right) without space (not recommended)
‹ A › U+2039 (8249), U+203A (8250) ‹ › French single angle quotes (left and right), alternate form for embedded quotations, used on the web with normal non-breaking spaces.
‹ A › French single angle quotes (left and right), alternate form for embedded quotations, preferably used by typographers with narrow non-breaking spaces.
Guillemets by the Imprimerie nationale in Bulletin de l’Agence générale des colonies, № 302, Mai 1934, showing the comma-shaped symbols sitting on the baseline.

Initially, the French guillemet characters were not angle shaped but also used the comma (6/9) shape. They were different from English quotes because they were standing (like today's guillemets) on the baseline (like lowercase letters), and not above it (like apostrophes and English quotation marks) or hanging down from it (like commas). At the beginning of the 19th century, this shape evolved to look like (( small parentheses )). The angle shape appeared later to increase the distinction and avoid confusions with apostrophes, commas and parentheses in handwritten manuscripts submitted to publishers. Unicode currently does not provide alternate codes for these 6/9 guillemets on the baseline, which are still considered as form variants implemented in older French typography (such as the Didot font design). Also there was not necessarily any distinction of shape between the opening and closing guillemets, with both types pointing to the right (like today's French closing guillemets).

They must be used with non-breaking spaces (preferably narrow, if available, i.e. U+202F NNBSP which is missing in most computer fonts but that renderers should be able to render using the same glyph as the breaking "French" thin space U+2009, handling the non-breaking property internally in the text renderer / layout engine, because line-breaking properties are never defined in fonts themselves; such renderers should also be able to infer a half-width space from the glyph assigned to the normal half-em non-breaking space, if the thin space itself is not mapped).

In many printed books, when quotations are spanning multiple lines of text (including multiple paragraphs), an additional closing quotation sign is traditionally used at the beginning of each line continuing a quotation ; any right-pointing guillemet at the beginning of a line does not close the current quotation; this convention has been consistently used since the beginning of the 19th century by most book printers (and is still in use today). Note that such insertion of continuation quotation marks will also occur if there's a word hyphenation break. There is still no support for automatic insertion of these continuation guillemets in HTML/CSS and in many word-processors, so these have to be inserted by manual typesetting:

« C’est une belle journée pour les Montréalais, soutient
» le ministre. Ces investissements stimuleront la crois-
» sance économique. »

Unlike English, French does not set off unquoted material within a quotation mark by using a second set of quotes. Compare:

« C’est une belle journée pour les Montréalais, soutient le ministre. Ces investissements stimuleront la croissance économique. »
“This is a great day for Montrealers”, the minister upholds. “These investments will stimulate economic growth.”

For clarity, some newspapers put the quoted material in italics:

« C’est une belle journée pour les Montréalais, soutient le ministre. Ces investissements stimuleront la croissance économique. »

The French Imprimerie nationale (cf. Lexique des règles typographiques en usage à l'Imprimerie nationale, presses de l'Imprimerie nationale, Paris, 2002), though, does not use different quotation marks for nesting:

« Son « explication » n’est qu’un mensonge », s’indigna le député.
“His ‘explanation’ is just a lie”, the deputy protested.

In this case, when there should be two adjacent opening or closing marks, only one is written:

Il répondit : « Ce n’est qu’un « gadget ! ».
He answered: “It's only a ‘gizmo’”.

The use of English quotation marks is increasing in French and usually follows English rules, for instance when the keyboard or the software context doesn't allow the utilisation of guillemets. The French news site L'Humanité uses straight quotation marks.

English quotes are also used sometimes for nested quotations:

« Son “explication” n’est qu’un mensonge », s’indigna le député.
“His ‘explanation’ is just a lie”, the deputy protested.

But the most frequent convention used in printed books for nested quotations is to style them in italics (single quotation marks are much more rarely used, and multiple levels of quotations using the same marks is often considered confusing for readers):

« Son explication n’est qu’un mensonge », s’indigna le député.
Il répondit : « Ce n’est qu’un gadget ! ».

Further, running speech does not use quotation marks beyond the first sentence, as changes in speaker are indicated by a dash, as opposed to the English use of closing and re-opening the quotation. (For other languages employing dashes, see section Quotation dash below.) The dashes may be used entirely without quotation marks as well. In general, quotation marks are extended to encompass as much speech as possible, including not just non-spoken text such as "he said" (as previously noted), but also as long as the conversion extends. The quotation marks end at the last spoken text, however, not extending to the end of paragraphs when the final part is not spoken.

« Je ne vous parle pas, monsieur, dit-il.
— Mais je vous parle, moi ! » s’écria le jeune homme exaspéré de ce mélange d’insolence et de bonnes manières, de convenance et de dédain. (Dumas, Les trois mousquetaires)
“I am not speaking to you, sir”, he said.
“But I am speaking to you!” cried the young man, exasperated by this combination of insolence and good manners, of protocol and disdain.


Greek uses angled quotation marks (εισαγωγικάeisagogiká):

«Μιλάει σοβαρά;» ρώτησε την Μαρία.
«Ναι, σίγουρα», αποκρίθηκε.

and the quotation dash (παύλαpávla):

― Μιλάει σοβαρά; ρώτησε την Μαρία.
― Ναι, σίγουρα, αποκρίθηκε.

which translate to:

"Is he serious?" he asked Maria.
"Yes, certainly", she replied.
Samples Unicode (decimal) HTML Description
«A» U+00AB (0171), U+00BB (0187) « » Greek first level double quotes (εισαγωγικά)
― A U+2015 (8213) ― Greek direct quotation em-dash

A closing quotation mark (») is added to the beginning of each new quoted paragraph. When quotations are nested in more levels than inner and outer, single quotation marks are used (i.e. «…“…‘…’…”…»).


Samples Unicode (decimal) HTML Description
„A” U+201E (8222), U+201d (8221) „ ” Hungarian first level double quotes (left and right)
»A« U+00BB (0171), U+00AB (0187) » « Hungarian second level double quotes (left and right)
’A’ U+2019 (8217) ’ Hungarian unpaired quotes signifying "meaning"

According to current recommendation by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences the main Hungarian quotation marks are comma-shaped double quotation marks set on the base-line at the beginning of the quote and at apostrophe-height at the end of it for first level, inversed »French quotes« without space (the German tradition) for the second level, so the following nested quotation pattern emerges:

  • „Quote »inside« quote”

… and with third level:

  • „Quote »inside ’inside of inside’ inside« quote”

In Hungarian linguistic tradition the meaning of a word is signified by uniform (unpaired) apostrophe-shaped quotation marks:

  • die Biene ’méh’

A quotation dash is also used, and is predominant in belletristic literature.

  • – Merre jártál? – kérdezte a köpcös.


Samples Unicode (decimal) HTML Description
‚A’ U+201A (8218), U+2019 (8217) ‚ ’ Polish single quotes (left and right)
„A” U+201E (8222), U+201d (8221) „ ” Polish double quotes (left and right)
― A U+2015 (8213) ― Polish direct quotation em-dash
– A U+2013 (8211) – Polish direct quotation en-dash

According to current PN-83/P-55366 standard from 1983 (but not dictionaries, see below), Typesetting rules for composing Polish text (Zasady składania tekstów w języku polskim) one can use either „ordinary Polish quotes” or «French quotes» (without space) for first level, and ‚single Polish quotes’ or «French quotes» for second level, which gives three styles of nested quotes:

  1. „Quote ‚inside’ quote”
  2. „Quote «inside» quote”
  3. «Quote ‚inside’ quote»

There is no space on the internal side of quote marks, with the exception of ¼ firet (~ ¼ em) space between two quotation marks when there are no other characters between them (e.g. ,„ and ”).

The above rules have not changed since at least the previous BN-76/7440-02 standard from 1976 and are probably much older.

However, the part of the rules that concerns the use of guillemets conflicts with the Polish punctuation standard as given by dictionaries, including the Wielki Słownik Ortograficzny PWN recommended by the Polish Language Council. The PWN rules state:

In specific uses, guillemets also appear. Guillemet marks pointing inwards are used for highlights and in case a quotation occurs inside a quotation. Guillemet marks pointing outwards are used for definitions (mainly in scientific publications and dictionaries), as well as for enclosing spoken lines and indirect speech, especially in poetic texts.[26]

In Polish books and publications, this style for use of guillemets (also known as »German quotes«) is used almost exclusively. In addition to being standard for second level quotes, guillemet quotes are sometimes used as first level quotes in headings and titles but almost never in ordinary text in paragraphs.

Another style of quoting is to use an em-dash to open a quote; this is used almost exclusively to quote dialogues, and is virtually the only convention used in works of fiction.

Mag skłonił się. Biały kot śpiący obok paleniska ocknął się nagle i spojrzał na niego badawczo.
— Jak się nazywa ta wieś, panie? — zapytał przybysz. Kowal wzruszył ramionami.
— Głupi Osioł.
— Głupi…?
— Osioł — powtórzył kowal takim tonem, jakby wyzywał gościa, żeby spróbował sobie z niego zażartować. Mag zamyślił się.
— Ta nazwa ma pewnie swoją historię — stwierdził w końcu. — W innych okolicznościach chętnie bym jej wysłuchał. Ale chciałbym porozmawiać z tobą, kowalu, o twoim synu.
The wizard bowed. A white cat that had been sleeping by the furnace woke up and watched him carefully.
“What is the name of this place, sir?” said the wizard.
The blacksmith shrugged.
“Bad Ass,” he said.
“Ass,” repeated the blacksmith, his tone defying anyone to make something of it.
The wizard considered this.
“A name with a story behind it,” he said at last, “which were circumstances otherwise I would be pleased to hear. But I would like to speak to you, smith, about your son.”
(Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites)

An en-dash is sometimes used in place of the em-dash, especially so in newspaper texts.

Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Latvian

In Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian and Latvian, angled quotation marks are used without spaces. In case of quoted material inside a quotation, rules[27] and most noted style manuals prescribe the use of different kinds of quotation marks. However, some of them[28] allow to use the same quotation marks for quoted material inside a quotation, and if inner and outer quotation marks fall together, then one of them should be omitted.


Пушкин писал Дельвигу: «Жду „Цыганов“ и тотчас тисну».
(Pushkin wrote to Delvig: “Waiting for ‘Gypsies’, and publish at once”.)

Permissible, when it is technically impossible to use different quotation marks:

«Цыганы» мои не продаются вовсе», — сетовал Пушкин.
(“My ‘Gypsies’ are not selling at all”, Pushkin complained.)

It is common to use quotation dashes for dialogue, as well as within quotations for the reporting clause. For more details, see the Russian Wikipedia article on this topic.

— Кто там?
— Это я, почтальон Печкин, — последовал ответ. — Принёс заметку про вашего мальчика.
"Who's there?"
"It's me, postman Pechkin," was the reply. "I've brought news about your boy."


Spanish uses angled quotation marks (comillas latinas or angulares) as well, but always without the spaces.

«Esto es un ejemplo de cómo se suele hacer una cita literal en castellano».
“This is an example of how a literal quotation is usually written in Spanish.”

And, when quotations are nested in more levels than inner and outer quotation, the system is:[29]

«Antonio me dijo: “Vaya ‘cacharro’ que se ha comprado Julián”».
"Antonio told me: 'Well "junk" is what you have purchased Julian'".

As in French, the use of English quotation marks is increasing in Spanish, and the El País style guide, which is widely followed in Spain, recommends them. Hispanic Americans often use them, owing to influence from the United States.

Chinese, Japanese and Korean quotation marks

Corner brackets are well-suited for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages which are written in both vertical and horizontal orientations. China, South Korea, and Japan all use corner brackets when writing vertically. However, usages differ when writing horizontally:

  • In Japan, corner brackets are used.
  • In South Korea and Mainland China, English-style quotes are used.
  • In North Korea, angle quotes are used.
  • In Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, where Traditional Chinese is used, corner brackets are prevalent, although English-style quotes are also used.
  • In the Chinese language, double angle brackets are used around titles of books, documents, musical pieces, cinema films, TV programmes, newspapers, magazines, laws, etc. When nested, single angle brackets are used inside double angle brackets. With some exceptions, this usage overlaps italics in English:
"Have you read Romance of the Three Kingdoms?", he asks me.

White corner brackets are used to mark quote-within-quote segments.[clarification needed (In all the above locations and circumstances? If so, should this sentence be added before the last one in this section's 1st paragraph?)]

Samples Unicode (decimal) Description Usage
「文字」 U+300C (12300), U+300D (12301) Corner brackets
Traditional Chinese: 單引號 (dān yǐn hào)
Simplified Chinese: 单引号
Japanese: 鉤括弧 (kagikakko)
Korean: 낫표 (natpyo)
Traditional Chinese

U+FE41 (65089), U+FE42 (65090)[lower-alpha 13] For vertical writing:
Simplified Chinese,
Traditional Chinese
『文字』 U+300E (12302), U+300F (12303) White corner brackets
Traditional Chinese: 雙引號 (shuāng yǐn hào)
Simplified Chinese: 双引号
Japanese: 二重鉤括弧 (nijū kagikakko)
Korean: 겹낫표 (gyeopnatpyo)
Korean (book titles),
Traditional Chinese

U+FE43 (65091), U+FE44 (65092)[lower-alpha 13] For vertical writing:
Simplified Chinese,
Traditional Chinese
“한” U+201C (8220), U+201D (8221) Double quotes
Korean: 큰따옴표 (keunttaompyo),
Simplified Chinese: 双引号 (shuāng yǐn hào)
Korean (South Korea),
Simplified Chinese,
Traditional Chinese (acceptable but less common, happened in Hong Kong mainly as a result of influence from mainland China)
‘한’ U+2018 (8216), U+2019 (8217) Single quotes
Korean: 작은따옴표 (jageunttaompyo),
Simplified Chinese: 单引号 (dān yǐn hào)
Korean (South Korea),
Simplified Chinese (for quote-within-quote segments)
《한》 U+300A (12298), U+300B (12299) Double angle quotes
Korean: 겹화살괄호 (gyeophwasalgwaro)
Simplified Chinese: 书名号 (shū míng hào)
Traditional Chinese: 書名號
Korean (book titles),
Chinese (used for titles of books, documents, musical pieces, cinema films, TV programmes, newspapers, magazines, laws, etc. )

Quotation dash

Another typographical style is to omit quotation marks for lines of dialogue, replacing them with an initial dash:

―Oh saints above! Miss Douce said, sighed above her jumping rose. I wished I hadn't laughed so much. I feel all wet
―Oh Miss Douce! Miss Kennedy protested. You horrid thing![30]

This style is particularly common in Bulgarian, French, Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, and Vietnamese.[23] James Joyce always insisted on this style, although his publishers did not always respect his preference. Alan Paton used this style in Cry, the Beloved Country (and no quotation marks at all in some of his later work). Charles Frazier used this style for his novel Cold Mountain as well. Details for individual languages are given above.

The dash is often combined with ordinary quotation marks. For example, in French, a guillemet may be used to initiate running speech, with each change in speaker indicated by a dash, and a closing guillemet to mark the end of the quotation.

Dashes are also used in many modern English novels, especially those written in non-standard dialects. Some examples include:

In Italian, Catalan, Portuguese, Spanish, Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, Bulgarian, Georgian, Romanian, Lithuanian and Hungarian the reporting clause in the middle of a quotation is separated with two additional dashes:

― Ай, ай, ай! ― вскрикнул Левин. ― Я ведь, кажется, уже лет девять не говел. Я и не подумал.
― Хорош! ― смеясь, сказал Степан Аркадевич, ― а меня же называешь нигилистом! Однако ведь это нельзя. Тебе надо говеть.
“Oh dear!” exclaimed Levin. “I think it is nine years since I went to communion! I haven’t thought about it.”
“You are a good one!” remarked Oblonsky, laughing. “And you call me a Nihilist! But it won’t do, you know; you must confess and receive the sacrament.”
from Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina (Louise and Aylmer Maude translation)

In Finnish, on the other hand, a second dash is added when the quote continues after a reporting clause:[31]

— Et sinä ole paljon minkään näköinen, sanoi Korkala melkein surullisesti, — mutta ei auta.
“You don't seem to be anything special,” said Korkala almost sadly, “but there's no help to it.”
— Frakki, älähti Huikari. — Missä on frakki?
— Räätälissä, sanoi Joonas rauhallisesti.
“Tailcoat”, yelped Huikari. “Where is the tailcoat?”
“At the tailor's”, said Joonas calmly.

The Unicode standard introduced a separate character U+2015 HORIZONTAL BAR to be used as a quotation dash. In general it is the same length as an em-dash, and so this is often used instead. The main difference between them is that at least some software will insert a line break after an em dash, but not after a quotation dash. Both are displayed in the following table.

Samples Unicode (decimal) HTML Description
― A U+2015 (8213) ― Quotation dash, also known as horizontal bar
— A U+2014 (8212) — Em-dash, an alternative to the quotation dash

Electronic documents

Different typefaces, character encodings and computer languages use various encodings and glyphs for quotation marks.

Typewriters and early computers

"Ambidextrous" quotation marks were introduced on typewriters to reduce the number of keys on the keyboard, and were inherited by computer keyboards and character sets. Some computer systems designed in the past had character sets with proper opening and closing quotes. However, the ASCII character set, which has been used on a wide variety of computers since the 1960s, only contains a straight single quote (U+0027 ' APOSTROPHE) and double quote (U+0022 " QUOTATION MARK).

Many systems, such as the personal computers of the 1980s and early 1990s, actually drew these quotes like curved closing quotes on-screen and in printouts, so text would appear like this (approximately):

”Good morning, Dave,” said HAL.
’Good morning, Dave,’ said HAL.

These same systems often drew the grave accent (`, U+0060) as an open quote glyph (actually a high-reversed-9 glyph, to preserve some usability as a grave). This gives a proper appearance at the cost of semantic correctness. Nothing similar was available for the double quote, so many people resorted to using two single quotes for double quotes, which would look like the following:

‛‛Good morning, Dave,’’ said HAL.
‛Good morning, Dave,’ said HAL.

The typesetting application TeX still uses this convention for input files. However, the appearance of these characters has varied greatly from font to font. On systems which provide straight quotes and grave accents like most do today (and as Unicode specifies) the result is poor as shown here:

``Good morning, Dave,'' said HAL.
`Good morning, Dave,' said HAL.

The Unicode slanted/curved quotes described below are shown here for comparison:

“Good morning, Dave,” said HAL.
‘Good morning, Dave,’ said HAL.

Curved quotes and Unicode

Historically support for curved quotes was a problem in information technology, primarily because the widely used ASCII character set did not include a representation for them. To use non ASCII characters in e-mail and on Usenet the sending mail application needs to set a MIME type specifying the encoding. In most cases, (the exceptions being if UTF-7 is used or if the 8BITMIME extension is present), this also requires the use of a content-transfer encoding.

Curved and straight quotes are also sometimes referred to as smart quotes (“…”) and regular quotes ("…") respectively; these names are in reference to the name of a function found in several word processors that automatically converts straight quotes typed by the user into curved quotes, attempting to be "smart" enough to determine which typed quotes are opening and closing.

Since curved quotes are the typographically correct ones, word processors have traditionally offered curved quotes to users. Before Unicode was widely accepted and supported, this meant representing the curved quotes in whatever 8-bit encoding the software and underlying operating system was using. The character sets for Windows and Macintosh used two different pairs of values for curved quotes, and ISO 8859-1 (historically the default character set for the Unixes and older Linux systems) has no curved quotes, making cross-platform compatibility difficult to implement.

Compounding the problem is the "smart quotes" feature mentioned above, which some word processors (including Microsoft Word and OpenOffice.org) use by default. With this feature typically enabled by default, users may not have realized that the ASCII-compatible straight quotes they were typing on their keyboards ended up as something different.

Further, the "smart quotes" feature converts opening apostrophes (such as in 'tis, 'em, 'til, and '89) into opening single quotation marks—essentially upside-down apostrophes. An example of this error appears in the advertisements for the television show 'Til Death.

Unicode support has since become the norm for operating systems. Thus, in at least some cases, transferring content containing curved quotes (or any other non-ASCII characters) from a word processor to another application or platform has been less troublesome, provided all steps in the process (including the clipboard if applicable) are Unicode-aware. But there are still applications which still use the older character sets, or output data using them, and thus problems still occur.

There are other considerations for including curved quotes in the widely used markup languages HTML, XML, and SGML. If the encoding of the document supports direct representation of the characters, they can be used, but doing so can cause difficulties if the document needs to be edited by someone who is using an editor that cannot support the encoding. For example, many simple text editors only handle a few encodings or assume that the encoding of any file opened is a platform default, so the quote characters may appear as "garbage". HTML includes a set of entities for curved quotes: ‘ (left single), ’ (right single), ‚ (low 9 single), “ (left double), ” (right double), and „ (low 9 double). XML does not define these by default, but specifications based on it can do so, and XHTML does. In addition, while the HTML 4, XHTML and XML specifications allow specifying numeric character references in either hexadecimal or decimal, SGML and older versions of HTML (and many old implementations) only support decimal references. Thus, to represent curly quotes in XML and SGML, it is safest to use the decimal numeric character references. That is, to represent the double curly quotes use “ and ”, and to represent single curly quotes use ‘ and ’. Both numeric and named references function correctly in almost every modern browser. While using numeric references can make a page more compatible with outdated browsers, using named references are safer for systems that handle multiple character encodings (i.e. RSS aggregators and search results).

Unicode code point table

In Unicode, 29 characters are marked Quotation Mark=Yes by character property.[32] They all have general category "Punctuation", and a subcategory Open, Close, Initial, Final or Other (Ps, Pe, Pi, Pf, Po).

Quotation marks in Unicode (Character property "Quotation_Mark"=Yes)
Glyph Code Unicode name HTML Comments
" U+0022 quotation mark " Typewriter ("programmer’s") quote, ambidextrous
' U+0027 apostrophe ' Typewriter ("programmer’s") straight single quote, ambidextrous
« U+00AB left-pointing double angle quotation mark « Double angle quote (chevron, guillemet, duck-foot quote), left
» U+00BB right-pointing double angle quotation mark » Double angle quote, right
U+2018 left single quotation mark ‘ Single curved quote, left. Also known as inverted or turned comma[a]
U+2019 right single quotation mark ’ Single curved quote, right[b]
U+201A single low-9 quotation mark ‚ Low single curved quote, left
U+201B single high-reversed-9 quotation mark ‛ also called single reversed comma, quotation mark
U+201C left double quotation mark “ Double curved quote, or "curly quote", left
U+201D right double quotation mark ” Double curved quote, right
U+201E double low-9 quotation mark „ Low double curved quote, left
U+201F double high-reversed-9 quotation mark ‟ also called double reversed comma, quotation mark
U+2039 single left-pointing angle quotation mark ‹ Single angle quote, left
U+203A single right-pointing angle quotation mark › Single angle quote, right
Quotation marks in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean (CJK)
U+300C left corner bracket 「 CJK
U+300D right corner bracket 」 CJK
U+300E left white corner bracket 『 CJK
U+300F right white corner bracket 』 CJK
U+301D reversed double prime quotation mark 〝 CJK
U+301E double prime quotation mark 〞 CJK
U+301F low double prime quotation mark 〟 CJK
Alternate encodings
U+FE41 presentation form for vertical left corner bracket ﹁ CJK Compatibility, preferred use: U+300C
U+FE42 presentation form for vertical right corner bracket ﹂ CJK Compatibility, preferred use: U+300D
U+FE43 presentation form for vertical left corner white bracket ﹃ CJK Compatibility, preferred use: U+300E
U+FE44 presentation form for vertical right corner white bracket ﹄ CJK Compatibility, preferred use: U+300F
U+FF02 fullwidth quotation mark " Halfwidth and Fullwidth Forms, corresponds with U+0022
U+FF07 fullwidth apostrophe ' Halfwidth and Fullwidth Forms, corresponds with U+0027
U+FF62 halfwidth left corner bracket 「 Halfwidth and Fullwidth Forms, corresponds with U+300C
U+FF63 halfwidth right corner bracket 」 Halfwidth and Fullwidth Forms, corresponds with U+300D


a = Also sometimes used by 18th- and 19th-century printers for the small "c" for Scottish names, e.g. M‘Culloch.[33] For a printed example see the Green Bag reference or the Dictionary of Australasian Biography, page 290 (Wikisource).

b The same U+2019 code point and glyph is used for typographic (curly) apostrophes. Both U+0027 and U+2019 are ambiguous about distinguishing punctuation from apostrophes.

  1. Traditional
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Rare
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 Quotation dash preferred for dialogue
  4. 4.0 4.1 A closing quotation mark is added to the beginning of each new paragraph.
  5. This is only used when text is written vertically.
  6. 6.0 6.1 These forms are rotated for use in horizontal text; they were originally written ﹁…﹂ and ﹃…﹄ in vertical text
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Within a quotation, the opening quotation mark is repeated at the beginning of each new paragraph.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Usage may vary, depending on the native language of the author and publisher.
  9. First version according to the French Imprimerie nationale. English quotes are more common, though.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 In Switzerland the same style is used for all languages.
  11. Handwriting and older texts
  12. May substitute for either the opening or closing mark
  13. 13.0 13.1 These codes for vertical-writing characters are for presentation forms in the Unicode CJK compatibility forms section. Typical documents use normative character codes which are shown for the horizontal writing in this table, and applications are usually responsible to render correct forms depending on the writing direction used.


This article is based on material taken from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing prior to 1 November 2008 and incorporated under the "relicensing" terms of the GFDL, version 1.3 or later.
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External links