student practising using inverted commas

Inverted Commas

Definition

Writers use inverted commas to indicate they have included a title in the sentence:

  • Robert Frost wrote the poem “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” in one night!
  • It was JK Rowling who wrote “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”.

Inverted commas are also emphasise a particular word or to suggest tone. For example, how do the inverted commas influence our interpretation of the following sentence:

  • The teacher was really “helpful” when she explained inverted commas.

Inverted commas may look like speech marks, but they follow a different set of rules in British English. Most importantly, if there are other punctuation marks, they now go outside the quotation marks:

  • If you like “Animal Crossing”, you will absolutely love the sequal.

Exercise One

Add quotation marks or inverted commas to the following sentences.

  1. All our failures, wrote Iris Murdoch, are ultimately failures in love.
  2. Was it William Shakespeare who wrote the play Hamlet?
  3. The indie folk band Mumford and Sons sang I Will Wait.
  4. A Perfect Day for Bananafish is, I believe, J. D. Salinger’s best short story.
  5. I watched the movie Frozen.
  6. Judy Garland sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
  7. The movie Dream Girls is really good.
  8. The sign read Do Not Disturb.
  9. In The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of The English Language, David Crystal argues that punctuation plays a critical role in the modern writing system.
  10. The police were called to a disturbance.
  11. Titanic is a 1997 movie about the sinking of the ship Titanic.
  12. Romeo and Juliet are the two main characters in Romeo and Juliet.
  1. “All our failures”, wrote Iris Murdoch, “are ultimately failures in love”.
  2. Was it William Shakespeare who wrote the play “Hamlet”?
  3. The indie folk band Mumford and Sons sang “I Will Wait”.
  4. “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” is, I believe, J. D. Salinger’s best short story.
  5. I watched the movie “Frozen”.
  6. Judy Garland sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.
  7. The movie “Dream Girls” is really good.
  8. The sign read “Do Not Disturb”.
  9. In “The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of The English Language”, David Crystal argues that punctuation plays a critical role in the modern writing system.
  10. The police were called to a disturbance.
  11. “Titanic” is a 1997 movie about the sinking of the ship Titanic.
  12. “Romeo and Juliet” are the two main characters in Romeo and Juliet.

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