Using Quotation Marks

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Punctuation:  Using Quotation Marks

“I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls
will be holding hands with little white boys and girls.”

Dr. Martin Luther King is one of the most quoted people of current times. (I can say “current times” since Dr. King said this during my life time.) A speaker at a podium pays tribute and honor to Dr. King by repeating his words.   A speaker can stand up and proclaim that “There comes a time when silence is betrayal” and people will nod their heads and clap enthusiastically. But to write that same phrase without the proper punctuation could be construed as plagiarism.   Those quotation marks are mandatory when directly quoting someone. But is that the only time we use them?

Examples of when to Use Quotation Marks

1.  To enclose the exact words of a speaker or writer and only the exact words:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told us,   “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.


Faith is taking the first step, said Dr. Kingeven when you can’t see the whole staircase.

But not following the word that:

Dr. King said that faith is the first step even if you can’t see down the staircase.

2.  To enclose slogans or mottoes, but not signs or notices:

Dr. King was opposed to that eye for an eye attitude.

But not

Dr. King was opposed to the Whites Only signs.

3.  To enclose words or phrases used to indicate humor, slang, irony or poor grammar.

To other countries, I may go as a tourist, but to India come as a pilgrim.

4.  To enclose a title:Dick Holler that pays tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King. 

Abraham, Martin, and Johnis a song originally written by Dick Holler that pays tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King.

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