Apostrophe and quotation marks in English

Apostrophe and quotation marks in English

The punctuation of an English sentence is a topic that needs to be read several times. Least. In fact, despite its apparent simplicity, the presence of a large number of punctuation marks, as well as the fact that many of them are used differently than many of us are used to, makes learning this topic more difficult, especially for beginners this way. 

One of these punctuation marks that I want to pay a little more attention to is quotation marks and apostrophe.



Let's start with the fact that an apostrophe is something like a superscript comma, a stroke, or any other similar character. It belongs to non-alphabetic characters and serves as a punctuation mark in many languages. 

In English, an apostrophe is used in the following cases: 

1. When transferring the possessive case of nouns. In this case, the apostrophe is placed at the end of the sentence, used with the letter -s. 

  • Kids’ toys were everywhere around the room so I told them to clean that mess.  
  • I think this is Ben’s book, so you can give it to him.  

2. When transmitting colloquial speech in writing, meaning the omission of some letters, both vowels and consonants. Note that the apostrophe for missing vowels is used in many languages. 

  • She kept telling ‘em to stop talking.  
  • “I don’t even know what she was doin”, Catherine said to her best friend.  

3. When indicating stress in English transcription 

  • [ˈfɑːðə] – father 
  • [ˈkærət] – carrot 
  • [ˈæpl] – apple 

4. Sometimes used to abbreviate the year to two digits in calendars or the names of annual events: '21, '22, etc. 


Quotation marks 

Unlike the apostrophe, quotation marks are used only with each other, a pair, they are not separable. In total, several functions of quotation marks in English can be noted. They highlight direct speech, quotes, contain the titles of magazines, articles, books, and so on. We can also use them to add irony to a statement, accompanying it with the “quote marks” gesture. 

There are two types of quotes - double, perhaps the most popular, and single.

So, single quotes can be used to quote text within another quote. That is, with them we can just highlight the name of the film or article in the newspaper that attracted you with a loud headline. 

  • She said, “Can you imagine that she hasn’t watched ‘Avengers’ yet? Thats nonsense!”.  

Double quotes. In English text, they look like two superscript commas, and may have slightly different styles, as in some fonts the tails may point upwards. 

Double quotes will be used in the following cases: 

1. To highlight the irony of the statemen 

  • Of course, I know how “smart” he is.  
  • Oh, she told me that she will be “busy”, but we all know that she has nothing to do, except sleeping.  

2. To highlight quotes. If in your work you refer to some information, then it should be in quotation marks with a citation. 

  • “When I was five years old, my mother always said that happiness is the main thing in life. When I went to school, they asked me what I want to be when I grow up. I wrote: "Happy." Then they told me that I didn’t understand the question, and I answered that they don’t understand life.” – John Lennon  

3. For direct quotation or transmission of direct speech. Quotation marks stand out direct speech, excerpts from articles or books. In the event that the quote is before the words of the author, after the closing quotes will be placed 

  • So, he came to my place and said “Wow, your house doesn’t seem like those pictures you’ve sent me before. Did you lie to me?”