Difference Between Single and Double Quotes

Single vs Double Quotes
 

In English language, the use of inverted commas or quotation marks as they are popularly known as is very common. These can be single or double quotation and people hardly notice the difference. In general, these quotation marks are used when quoting something said by someone (quoting him). Quotation marks can be curly or straight with the straight ones being more common in typewriters. However, single quotes and double quotes are two punctuation marks that are easily confused by many people due to their similar appearance. 

What is a single quote?

A single quotation mark is a single curved line that resembles an inverted coma, often used to denote speech to indicate direct speech. However, it is in countries like United Kingdom and South Africa that the single quotation marks are most preferred in speech.

Single quotes are also used to indicate speech within speech. For example, look at the following sentence.

“The child testified that the ‘dark man’ appeared that morning right before the murder.”

Single quotes are also used to indicate irony or sarcasm. For example, look at the following sentence.

Apparently it was the “good girl” who had broken all the rules.

A single quote can also be used to used to emphasize a point. For example, 

The ‘X’ marked place on the map 

What are double quotation marks?

Double quotation marks are used to indicate direct speech, and it is there in the beginning and in the end to distinguish direct speech from the rest of the sentence. Countries like the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand prefer to use the double quotes for this purpose. When the double quotation is used, it is indicated that the person is directly speaking to someone. 

What is the difference between single and double quotes?

A common mistake that any beginner or someone proficient in the English language would make is to be confused between the single and double quotes. It is easy to assume that the two are interchangeable because of the similarity of their appearance, however, this is not the case.

• In speech, countries such as US and Canada prefer the double quotes whereas countries such as UK prefer the single quote.

• Generally, double quotes are used to indicate that a person is directly speaking to someone whereas the single quote is used to imply a quote within a quote.

• Single quotes are used to indicate sarcasm or irony whereas double quotes are not used for this purpose.

• Single quotes are also used to emphasize on certain points within a text.   

  • Willis Nash

    Not true. They cannot be interchangeable as one is used for a quotation; the other in a quotation within a quotation.