I was in a dilemma when to use " " (double quotes) and ' ' (single quotes) in a sentence.

Can anyone here please let me know when to use these quotes exactly in a sentence. Am assuming that these both are the same in a sentence.


It completely depends on your usage. But you have to use it consistently. Commonly American prefers single quotes within double quotes, i.e.,

"He is a 'good' man."

And British prefers vice versa, i.e.,

'He is a "good" man'.


When you're in a dilemma, it's best to consult a usage guide. One of my favorites is the Purdue Online Writing Lab (a.k.a. the Purdue OWL); the OWL has an entire section devoted to using quotation marks.

Other commonly-used style guides in the U.S. include the APA and the Chicago Manual of Style. The Oxford Style Guide would be a good one for British English.

These style guides often talk about "tricky" instances, such as:

If I’m making a song title possessive and the song title is plural, what would I do?
(see Q-and-A here)

Not all style guides make the exact same recommendations, and variations also occur between British and American English – one of which is discussed in both Oxford and in the answer by ARYF on this question, when ARYF said, " ‘He is a "good" man’."

As a footnote, a quote within a quote within a quote is discussed here. It's messy, but I couldn't resist.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.