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Do you capitalize in quotation marks

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Do you capitalize in quotation marks
April 11, 2019 Anniversary Wishes For Parents 3 comments

You do not capitalize after the quoted question .com/education/language-arts/ grammar/how-to-punctuate-quotations-with-question-marks/.

Ask the MLAcapitalizationquotationswriting tips

When should I capitalize the first letter of the first word of a quotation?

Whether to capitalize or lowercase the first letter of the first word of a quotation depends on how the quotation is integrated into your prose and what appears in the original.

After a Verb of Saying

Capitalize the first letter if the quotation appears after a verb of saying, regardless of the case used in the source–but flag any alterations you make.

A quotation that follows a verb of saying (e.g., writes, says, states, exclaims) and is run in to your text is introduced with a comma and begins with a capital letter. If the first quoted word begins with a lowercase letter in your source, use a capital letter enclosed in square brackets to indicate that you’ve altered the source:

Introduce a block quotation that follows a verb of saying with a colon, and capitalize the first letter of the first word of the quotation:

After a Colon

A quotation that is run in to your text and introduced with a colon may begin with a lowercase or capital letter—use whatever you find in the source:

Forster describes George’s reaction to the memory: “he blushed and was ashamed.”

George’s reaction provokes in Lucy an observation about the weakness of men: “Perhaps anything that he did would have pleased Lucy, but his awkwardness went straight to her heart; men were not gods after all, but as human and as clumsy as girls; even men might suffer from unexplained desires, and need help.”

In MLA style, sentences following a colon usually start with a lowercase letter, but it is acceptable to start such sentences with a capital letter. Thus, by using whatever you find in the source, you can maintain the integrity of the quotation and avoid using brackets unnecessarily.

Integrated into Your Syntax

A quotation that is integrated with the syntax of your sentence begins with a lowercase letter: 

If the first letter of the first word you quote is capitalized in your source, use a lowercase letter enclosed in square brackets:

A block quotation begins with a lowercase letter if it integrally continues your introductory wording:

If a direct quotation is interrupted mid-sentence, do not capitalize the second part of However, indirect quotations still require proper citations, and you will be.

8 Essential Rules for Punctuating Dialogue - article

do you capitalize in quotation marks

Capitalizing People's Titles
and the Names of Political Entities

One of the most frequently asked questions about capitalization is whether or not to capitalize people's job titles or the names of political or quasi-political entities. Most writing manuals nowadays seem to align themselves with the tendency in journalistic circles: less is better. When a title appears as part of a person's name, usually before the name, it is capitalized: Professor Farbman (or Professor of Physics Herschel Farbman), Mayor Perez, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. On the other hand, when the title appears after the name, it is not capitalized: Herschel Farbman, professor of history; Eddie Perez, mayor of the city of Hartford; Juan Carlos, king of Spain. Although we don't capitalize "professor of history" after the individual's name, we would capitalize department and program names when they are used in full*: "He worked in the Department of Behavioral Sciences before he started to teach physics." (We do not capitalize majors or academic disciplines unless they refer to a language, ethnic group, or geographical entity: Roundbottom is an economics major, but he loves his courses in French and East European studies.)

The capitalization of words that refer to institutions or governmental agencies, etc. can well depend on who is doing the writing and where or from what perspective. For instance, if I were writing for the city of Hartford, doing work on its charter or preparing an in-house document on appropriate office decor, I could capitalize the word City in order to distinguish between this city and other cities. "The City has a long tradition of individual freedom in selecting wallpapers." If I were writing for the College of Wooster's public relations staff, I could write about the College's new policy on course withdrawal. On the other hand, if I were writing for a newspaper outside these institutions, I would not capitalize those words. "The city has revamped its entire system of government." "The college has changed its policy many times."

We don't capitalize words such as city, state, federal, national, etc. when those words are used as modifiers "There are federal regulations about the relationship of city and state governments. Even as nouns, these words do not need to be capitalized: "The city of New York is in the state of New York" (but it's New York City). Commonly accepted designations for geographical areas can be capitalized: the Near East, the American South, the North End (of Hartford), Boston's Back Bay, the Wild West. Directions are not capitalized unless they become part of the more or less official title of a geographical entity: "He moved from south Texas to South Africa."

Capitalization in E-Mail

For some reason, some writers feel that e-mail should duplicate the look and feel of ancient telegraph messages, and their capitals go the way of the windmill or they go to the opposite extreme and capitalize EVERYTHING. That's nonsense. Proper and restrained capitalization simply makes things easier to read (unless something is capitalized in error, and then it slows things down). Without the little tails and leaders we get in a nice mixture of upper- and lower-case text, words lose their familiar touch and feel. Text written in ALL CAPS is extremely difficult to read and some people regard it as unseemly and rude, like SHOUTING at someone close at hand. Restrain your use of ALL CAPS in e-mail to solitary words that need further emphasis (or, better yet, use italics or underlining for that purpose, if your e-mail client provides for that treatment).

Words Associated with the Internet

There is considerable debate, still, about how to capitalize words associated with the Internet. Most dictionaries are capitalizing Internet, Web, and associated words such as World Wide Web (usually shortened to Web), Web page, Web site, etc., but the publications of some corporations, such as Microsoft, seem to be leaning away from such capitalization. The Yale Style Manual recommends capitalization. The words e-mail and online are not capitalized. The Guide to Grammar and Writing is a monument to inconsistency on this issue.

The most important guiding principle in all such matters is consistency within a document and consistency within an office or institution. Probably the most thorough and most often relied upon guide to capitalization is the Chicago Manual of Style, but the Gregg Reference Manual is also highly recommended.

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do you capitalize in quotation marks

“Its primary function is to resolve structural uncertainties in a text, and to signal nuances of semantic significance which might otherwise not be conveyed at all, or would at best be much more difficult for a reader to figure out.”
Malcolm Parkes


One of the marks used to indicate the beginning and end of a quotation.

Direct quotations are another person’s exact words — either spoken or in print — incorporated into your own writing.

  • Use a set of quotation marks to enclose each direct quotation included in your writing.
  • Use a capital letter with the first word of a direct quotation of a whole sentence. Do not use a capital letter with the first word of a direct quotation of part of a sentence.
  • If the quotation is interrupted and then continues in your sentence, do not capitalize the second part of the quotation.

Fed up with her constant whining, Rhett Butler turned to Scarlett O’Hara and said, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
Mr. and Mrs. Allen stated that they “refuse to use that pesticide” because of possible water pollution.
“He likes to talk about football,” she said, “especially when the Super Bowl is coming up.”

Punctuation with Quotation Marks

Use a comma to introduce a quotation after a standard dialogue tag, a brief introductory phrase, or a dependent clause, for example, “He asked,” “She stated,” “According to Bronson,” or “As Shakespeare wrote.” Use a colon to introduce a quotation after an independent clause.
As D. H. Nachas explains, “The gestures used for greeting others differ greatly from one culture to another.”
D. H. Nachas explains cultural differences in greeting customs: “Touching is not a universal sign of greeting. While members of European cultures meet and shake hands as a gesture of greeting, members of Asian cultures bow to indicate respect.”

Put commas and periods within closing quotation marks, except when a parenthetical reference follows the quotation.
He said, “I may forget your name, but I never forget a face.”
History is stained with blood spilled in the name of “civilization.”
Smith, criticizing the apparent inaction, writes, “Donahue’s policy was to do nothing” (27).

— Owl On-Line Writing Lab —

RUNNING QUOTATIONS: If a full paragraph of quoted material is followed by a paragraph that continues the quotation, do not put close-quote marks at the end of the first paragraph. Do, however, put open-quote marks at the start of the second paragraph. Continue in this fashion for any succeeding paragraphs, using close-quote marks only at the end of the quoted material.

— The Associated Press Stylebook —

If a direct quotation is interrupted mid-sentence, do not capitalize the second part of However, indirect quotations still require proper citations, and you will be.

Capitalization rules

do you capitalize in quotation marks

TIP Sheet

Quotation marks are used primarily to enclose or set off exact words. They are used to indicate a person's exact written or spoken words, and in certain situations they are also used to set off words, phrases, or specific types of titles. When using quotation marks, certain rules apply regarding punctuation and capitalization.

1. Use quotation marks to enclose direct quotations.

  • The direct quotation of a person's exact words, whether spoken or written, must be in quotation marks.

"Don't forget to visit me in London," Martha said.

  • Do not use quotation marks around indirect quotations. An indirect quotation does not state the speaker's exact words.

Martha said that I should visit her when I am in London.

2. Use quotation marks to indicate words used ironically, with reservations, or in some unusual way.

Declaring it was a symbol of "progress," they cut down all the trees.

3. Use quotation marks to set off words used as words.

  • Words used as words are usually set off by the use of italics or underlined to indicate italics. However, enclosing them in quotation marks is also acceptable.

The words "accept" and "except" are frequently confused.

4. Use quotation marks around the titles of newspaper and magazine articles, poems, essays, short stories, songs, episodes of television and radio programs, and chapters or subdivisions of books.

After I read "The Internet's Role in Education" in one of my educational journals, I had a much better understanding of the issues.

The class analyzed Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken" and eventually agreed that there could be several interpretations.

5. When using quotation marks, certain rules apply regarding capitalization and punctuation.

  • Use a capital letter with the first word of a complete sentence of a direct quotation.

The teacher remarked, "The semester is already half over."

  • Do not use a capital letter with the first word of a direct quotation that is only part of a sentence.

Tyler asked if I would be "heading out of town on a Harley."

  • If the quotation of a complete sentence is interrupted in the middle and then continues after the interruption, do not capitalize the second part of the quotation. Use commas to set off the explanatory words.

"When it comes to cake," Jessica said, "chocolate cake takes the cake."

  • If the quotation continues with a new sentence after an explanatory interruption, use a period at the end of the interruption and continue the quotation with a capital letter where the new sentence begins.

"When it comes to cake, chocolate cake takes the cake," Jessica said. "In fact, I'd love to have some right now."

  • If a quotation begins the sentence, set it off with a comma from the unquoted part of the sentence unless it ends with a question mark or exclamation point. Because the explanatory words simply continue the sentence, do not begin them with a capital letter.

"I don't know what happened," he said quickly.

"What happened?" she asked.

"We saw just what happened!" they shouted.


  • Always place periods and commas inside the quotation marks.

He said, "I enjoy working on automobile engines."

Although Lawrence had asked for "the best seat in the house," he didn't seem to notice they were seated right next to the kitchen.

  • Place colons and semicolons outside quotation marks.

Dave had replied, "I regret I am unable to attend the wedding"; he was there, however, for the entire ceremony.

  • Place question marks and exclamation points inside quotation marks unless they apply to the sentence as a whole.

The clerk politely asked, "Would you like paper or plastic?"

What do you mean by "over the hill"?

  • After a word group introducing a quotation, use a comma, a colon, or no punctuation at all, depending on the context.

Use a comma if the quotation is introduced or followed by an expression such as he said or she remarked.

She replied, "Take it quickly before I change my mind."

Use a colon if a quotation is introduced by a full independent clause.

He feels the advice of Alexander Pope is especially relevant: "To err is human, to forgive divine."

When a quotation is blended into the writer's introductory sentence, no punctuation is needed to separate the introduction from the quoted phrase.

Marisa comes here every day at noon and asks for "a dog and a beer."

  • Use single quotation marks to enclose a quotation within a quotation.

The professor explained, "Although Thoreau wrote that most men ‘lead lives of quiet desperation,' much of his writing expressed the joy in life."

6. Use indentation rather than quotation marks to set off long quotations of prose or poetry.

  • To quote more than four typed lines of prose, use indentation rather than quotation marks. Set off the quoted prose by indenting ten spaces from the left margin of your text and double space the lines. Long quotations of prose are usually introduced by a sentence ending with a colon.

Thoreau exhibits this strength of will in "Civil Disobedience":

I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion.
Let us see who is the strongest. What force has a multitude?
They only can force me who obey a higher law than I. They
force me to become like themselves. I do not hear of men being
forced to live this way or that by masses of men. What sort of life
were that to live? When I meet a government which says to me,
"Your money or your life," why should I be in haste to give it my money?

  • When quoting more than three lines of a poem, set the quoted lines off from the text by indenting ten spaces from the left margin.

William Blake's "The Tyger" begins with the lines:

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

When do you capitalize a word. How does that change when quotation marks are added? In this lesson, we'll find out and check out some real.

do you capitalize in quotation marks
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