The first example you probably thought about was direct discourse, which occurs when you quote exactly what a person has said. Indirect discourse occurs when you paraphrase another person’s words by restating them in your own way. When this is done, no quotation marks are required.
Most of the time we think of quotations being displayed in the following way: He said, “The first thing I do after writing an article is to find an editor.” This is typical in the United States; however, in England and some other countries, the comma or period may be found outside the quotation marks.
When writing dialogue, it is usually understood that each new paragraph of a single speaker begins with quotation marks. However, if that speaker’s discourse has more than one paragraph with no dialogue tag or narrative at the end of a paragraph, no ending quotation mark is used. Even if the discourse continues for several paragraphs and each paragraph lacks a dialogue tag or narrative, there is no ending quotation until the final end of the discourse.
The placement of marks other than periods and commas follows the logic that quotation marks should accompany (be right next to) the text being quoted or set apart as a title. Thus, on either side of the Atlantic, you would write as follows:
- What do you think of Robert Frost's "Design"? and
- I love "Design"; however, my favorite poem was written by Emily Dickinson.
If you are quoting from another work, only use quotation marks for the words that are taken directly from that work.
If your direct quote of another work includes a direct discourse from a person, you should place single quotation marks around the direct discourse.
There are many more uses for quotation marks, and I will report on them later.