Quotes Within a Quote

Quotes Within a Quote

Formatting quotations correctly is important so that we accurately capture the information we’re referencing. For instance, there are times when we need to quote something that is quoted elsewhere. To let our readers know there is another quotation within our quote, we use single quotation marks or apostrophes.


Sometimes, you may need to quote a newspaper article, and it might be necessary to quote both the article and a quote from an interview the journalist conducted. In that case, format your quote like in the example below:

John Doe notes, “Jane Smith volunteers at the local homeless shelter, claiming, ‘More volunteers are always needed.’”

Other times, you may need to quote both the dialogue and the words that go along with the dialogue, otherwise known as a dialogue tag, from a short story or novel. In that situation, use the following format:

Sally is established as a shy character early on through her dialogue and interactions with others: “‘T-thank you,’ she mumbled, bowing her head slightly” (12).

Then, there are times when you might need to quote a person’s analysis of a story or poem that also includes a quote from the original text. In that scenario, format your quote as in the next example:

Tiffany Robinson argues, “Elijah Bailey’s insecurity is apparent based on how he describes the robot, Daneel, as ‘imperturbable of appearance, infinite of adaptability, and lightning of mental grasp’” (5).

In these examples, the quote is in the double quotation marks, and the quote within the quote is between single quotation marks or apostrophes. Remember, no matter if you are using single or double quotation marks, you always need to put an opening mark at the beginning of the quote and a closing mark at the end.

Works Consulted

Asimov, Isaac. The Caves of Steel. 1954. Spectra, 1991.

Page last updated July 25, 2023.