How to unquote 'nested' quotes at once?


How many quotation marks do I need to put to close more than one unclosed quotes at once (for example, in the end of a sentence or heading)?

In my language the only one is enough.
… “… “…”.

Not … “… “…”[color=red]”.

But what is the rule for that in (standard and proper :slight_smile: ) English?

And the same question - for ‘nested’ (direct) speech. My [specially constructed] example is:

Maria asked him, “Stop doing that, please, it’s risky. Yesterday your father said, “I’ll throw the skateboard away if Mike continues those acrobatic exercises without any protectors.”[color=blue][size=134][?”?][/size].


Hi Tamara

I’d say your example needs “” at the end. :shock: But, that would look very strange, wouldn’t it? I think that’s why most people would make a conscious effort to avoid the necessity of doing it. In your sentence, for example, it would be clearly preferable and much less clumsy to use reported speech (for what the father said).

Maria said (to Mike), “Stop doing that, please, it’s risky. Your father told you just yesterday that he’d throw the skateboard away if you continued those acrobatic exercises without any protectors.


Yes, I know. I’ve just asked about the general rule. If you have it :slight_smile:

…But what about my morning (not specially constructed :)) case:
“Yes, ma’am, we certainly have it. You can easily find it at “Home Bakery”[color=red][?”?]…

(I suppose, in this case I might be advised to use " 'Home Bakery ’ " or other tricks to avoid clumsiness. For example :).

But, again, I just ask about general rules for nested quotes. For example, imagine a heading ending with an idiom (quoted) that in turn contains a part of another idiom (also quoted).
Or some technical texts that normally require correct and precise quoting. Sometimes you need to quote a phrase that ends by a quote, in turn. ‘ ‘ ’’.


Hi Tamara

I have seen the quotation marks doubled up on occasion (in news reports, for example). As far as I know, that’s necessary when there’s a quote within a quote.

But for your Home Bakery example, it’s probably enough that you capitalized and didn’t use an article, don’t you think? (i.e., it’s a proper noun — the specific proper name for a department in that supermarket).


He said ‘she said “they said ‘I said “hello”’”’

The rules for inverted commas (aka ‘quotation marks’ or ‘quotes’) seem to be confusing, illogical and byzantine. They also differ, depending on whether you’re American, British or whatever.

Anyway, you might enjoy the following:



Quite fresh real illustration to the first post & another (close) question (direct speech, punctuation rules, de jure <> de facto :slight_smile: ):

A literal quote from a local newspaper (Comet, June 29, 2006, local edition):

What’s new or unusual for me:

  1. Each paragraph (of a long direct speech) begins with a new [color=red][size=167]“[/size] !
  2. There is the only [color=red][size=167]”[/size] in the very end that closes all the above. !
  3. Colon ([color=red][size=167]:[/size]), not comma, is used to begin a direct speech. In my language colon is the only right punctuation mark to do that, but in English, as I can see, formally prescribed comma is used. Almost everywhere :slight_smile:

Please, comment the case (long direct speech with paragraphs).