Reported speech

A colon should be used to introduce a quote.  Double quotation marks should be used for direct quotes. If a quote appears within a quote, single quotation marks should be used within double quotation marks. Punctuation marks at the end of quotes should appear within the quotation marks. For example:

  • One researcher who exhibited her research at the Festival recalled her experience: “The best part for me was seeing members of the public understand what I do. I heard one child say ‘I want to be a biologist!’ as he left our stand: that was hugely rewarding.”

If you break a quote into two paragraphs, omit the closing speech marks at the end of the first paragraph and start the second paragraph with opening speech marks. For example:

  • Dr Kovac said: “Drones get a bad press but they can improve our lives.

    "Aerial robots can help us to monitor pollution and protect wildlife. At Imperial we are working on swarms of aerial robots for future cities.”

Unfamiliar words and phrases

Single quotes signify unfamiliar words or phrases. For example:

  • Approximately 1 in 1,000 people suffer from ‘pathological health anxiety’.