Quotation mark, non-English usage

Quotation mark, non-English usage

Quotation marks, also called quotes, speech marks or inverted commas, are punctuation marks used in pairs to set off 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.

They have a variety of forms in different languages and in different media; for usage in the English language see the article Quotation marks.


For particular quote glyph information, see Quotation mark glyphs.


French language uses angle quotation marks ("guillemets", or "duck-foot quotes"), adding a quarter-em space (officially) (U+2005,  ) 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, and the quarter-em is virtually always omitted in non-Unicode fonts. Even more commonly, people just put a normal space between the quotation marks because the non-break is not accessible through their keyboard layout. Sometimes, for instance on the French news site "Le Figaro", no space is used around the quotation marks.

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

There is no such space in other languages, e.g. Catalan, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, or in German, French and Italian as written in Switzerland:

: _de. «Dies ist ein Zitat.» [Swiss German] : _pl. «To jest cytat.»: _ru. «Это цитата».:: “This is a quote.”

According to current PN-83/P-55366 standard from 1983, "Setting rules from composing of Polish texts" ("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 makes three styles of nested quotes:

# „Quote ‚inside’ quote”
# „Quote «inside» quote”
# «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.

In Polish books and publications, the second style is used almost exclusively. In addition to being standard for second level quotes, French quotes are sometimes used as first level quotes in headings and titles but almost never in ordinary text in paragraphs. The second style is also used in Romanian („Quote «inside» quote”), according to the Romanian Academy rules.

Another style of quoting is to use an m-dash to open a quote; this is used almost exclusively to quote dialogues.

: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 toknem, 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.::“Bad—?”::“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 n-dash is sometimes used in place of the m-dash, especially so in newspaper texts.

Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian

In Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian, angled quotation marks are used without spaces. In case of quoted material inside a quotation, rules [Source: [http://www.rusyaz.ru/pr/pszp.html Правила русской орфографии и пунктуации. — М., 1956, see §200] ] and most of noted style manuals prescribe the use of different kinds of quotation marks. However, some of them [Source: Мильчин А.Э., Чельцова Л.К. [http://diamondsteel.ru/useful/handbook/index.html Справочник издателя и автора. Редакционно-издательское оформление издания.] — 2-е изд., испр. и доп. — М.: Олма-Пресс, 2003. - 800 с. - ISBN 5-224-04565-7] 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.

Right:: " _ru. Пушкин писал Дельвигу: «Жду „Цыганов“ и тотчас тисну».": (Pushkin wrote to Delvig: “I wait for ‘The Gypsies’, and I am going to publish the book immediately”.)

Permissible, when it is technically impossible to use different quotation marks:: " _ru. «Цыганы» мои не продаются вовсе», — сетовал Пушкин.": (“‘The Gypsies’ has not been selling at all,” Pushkin complained.)

But preferable ways in such case are:
* setting the quote as a separate paragraph with indent;
* marking the inner quotation with italics;
* marking the outer quotes with bold or
* using single angled quotation marks (‹ ›) as inner ones (the last method is virtually never found in practice).


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

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

And, when quotations are nested in more levels than inner and outer quotation, the system is: [This system follows the rules laid down in section 5.10 of the orthography guide [http://www.rae.es/rae/gestores/gespub000015.nsf/(voanexos)/arch7E8694F9D6446133C12571640039A189/$FILE/Ortografia.pdf "Ortografía de la lengua española"] published by the Real Academia Española (RAE).]

: _es. «Antonio me dijo: “Vaya ‘cacharro’ que se ha comprado Julián”».

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.

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. At least in China however, double angle brackets are commonly used around book titles.
* In North Korea, angle quotes are used.
* In the Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau where Traditional Chinese is used, corner brackets are prevalent, but English-style quotes are also used.

White corner brackets are used to mark quote-within-quote segments.

Quotation dash

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

: _fr. ― Je m’ennuie tellement, dit-elle.: _fr. ― Cela n’est pas de ma faute, rétorqua-t-il.:: “I’m so bored,” she said.:: “That’s not my fault,” he retorted.

This style is particularly common in French, Swedish and Greek. 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.

It's also used in many modern English novels, especially those written in non-standard dialects. Some examples include:
*In James Joyce's prose
*"Trainspotting" by Irvine Welsh
*"The Book of Dave" by Will Self (alternates between standard English chapters, with standard quotation marks, and dialect chapters, with quotation dashes)
*"A Scanner Darkly" by Philip K. Dick (not written in dialect)
*"The Van" by Roddy Doyle

In Italian, Catalan, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, Polish, Bulgarian, Georgian, Romanian, Lithuanian and Hungarian, a second dash is added, if the main sentence continues after the end of the quote:

: _ru. ― Ай, ай, ай! ― вскрикнул Левин. ― Я ведь, кажется, уже лет девять не говел. Я и не подумал.: _ru. ― 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)

According to the Unicode standard, U+2015 HORIZONTAL BAR should be used as a quotation dash. In general it is the same length as an em-dash, and so this is often used instead. Both are displayed in the table below.


ee also

* Unicode
* ISO 8859-1

External links

* [http://www.dwheeler.com/essays/quotes-in-html.html Curling Quotes in HTML, SGML, and XML]
* [http://marcautret.free.fr/sigma/pratik/typo/guilles/index.php French Quotes Typography (Œuvrez les guillemets!) -- in French]
* [http://www.unicode.org/cldr/data/diff/by_type/Attic/delimiters.html Quotation marks in the Unicode Common Locale Data Repository]
* [http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/ucs/quotes.html ASCII and Unicode quotation marks] – detailed discussion of the ASCII `backquote' problem
* [http://www.juvalamu.com/qmarks/ The Gallery Of "Misused" Quotation Marks]
* [http://www.cs.sfu.ca/~ggbaker/reference/characters/ Commonly confused characters]
* [http://www.pensee.com/dunham/smartQuotes.html Smart Quotes]

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