How do I punctuate quoted dialogue from a novel?

How you punctuate quoted dialogue from a novel will depend on what you are quoting and how you are quoting it. See the three most common considerations below.

Quoting Dialogue and Text

If you are incorporating a quotation featuring both exposition and a character’s speech into your text, use double quotation marks around the quotation and single quotation marks around the character’s speech that is within the quotation:

Early in The Great Gatsby, Miss Baker, upon meeting Nick Carraway, makes the first reference in the novel to the title character: “‘You live in West Egg,’ she remarked contemptuously. ‘I know somebody there’” (11).

Quoting Only Dialogue

If you quote only the speech, use double quotation marks around it:

Early in The Great Gatsby, Miss Baker tells Nick Carraway that he must be familiar with someone she knows from West Egg: “You must know Gatsby” (11).

Using Block Quotes

When quoting dialogue from a novel, set the quotation off from your text as a block if each character’s speech starts on a new line in the source. Indent the extract half an inch from the left margin, as you would any block quotation. If a character’s speech runs onto a new line, as it does below, indent each line of dialogue an additional half an inch. Use double quotation marks around the spoken words

Early in The Great Gastby, Miss Baker tells the narrator, Nick Carraway, that she knows someone from his town:

“You live in West Egg,” she remarked contemptuously. “I know somebody there.”

“I don’t know a single–”

“You must know Gatsby.”

“Gatsby?” demanded Daisy. “What Gatsby?” (11)

Work Cited

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Scribner, 1953.

Work Cited

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Scribner, 1953.

Published 14 December 2017

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