Difference Between Single and Double Quotes

Main Difference – Single vs Double Quotes

Quotation marks are often confusing to second language users who are unfamiliar with English grammar and punctuation rules. The usage of single and double quotes is even more confusing. So, we‘ll be discussing the difference between single and double quotes and when to use them in this article. The main difference between double quotes and single quotes is, double quotes are used to denote a speech or a quotation whereas single quotes are used to indicate  quote within a quotation. However, it is important to notice that the usage of single and double quotes differ according to British and American English and different style guides.

What are Double Quotes

A double quote (“ ”) can be defined as a pair of punctuation marks used mainly to mark the beginning and end of a passage attributed to another and repeated word for word. Double quotation marks are more preferred in the United States, and both single and double quotation marks are used in the United Kingdom. Double quotes have several uses.

  • Double quotes are used to denote a speech or a quotation.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein.

“Don’t you dare move an inch,” he shouted.

  • Double quote marks are used to indicate irony

Here, double quotes might imply skepticism or disagreement, or indicate  that the writer intends an opposite sense of the words enclosed in quotes.

She shared her “wisdom” with me.

He was so “kind” to his stepchildren.

  • Double quotes are used for a title of short work. (magazine article, episode in a TV show)

For more information, please read “Fibs and tall stories; why children lie.”

The “Here Come the Suns” episode of Andromeda was interesting. single vs double quote -

What are Single Quotes

Single quotes are a pair of single quotation marks, written as (‘ ’) and used especially for a quotation within another quotation. As apparent from its definition, single quotes are used to indicate a quotation within a quotation.

She explained what had happened, “I was just coming out of the house when I heard him cry ‘watch out Jane’”.

She stated, “I was walking down the sidewalk, when I heard a woman cry, ‘Get out of here!’. I don’t know who she was talking to.”

Single quotes are also used in headlines. Some examples from newspapers include,

Women ‘are not tough enough to lead Labor.’

‘Welfare Queen’ jailed in Tuscon.

Rowdies: ‘Tough powers needed.’

We also use single quotation marks to highlight words that give out meanings that differ from its general meaning in specialized fields.

The inner margins of a book are called the ‘gutter.’difference between single and double quots

 Difference Between Single and Double Quotes


Single quote: It is written as “”

Double quote: It is written as  ‘’


Single quote: It is used to indicate a speech or a quotation.

Double quote: It is used to denote a quotation within a quotation.

Image Courtesy:

“Mentor Me by Ken Poirot Book Quotes 25” by Ken Poirot – Own work. (CC0) via Wikimedia Commons 


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