Grammar Monster
Grammar Monster

Quotation Marks with Multiple Paragraphs

Quotation Marks Covering Multiple Paragraphs

When a quotation has multiple paragraphs, use a quotation mark at the start of each paragraph (to remind readers that they're still reading a quotation) but not at the end of the paragraphs except the last one. For example:

In 1912, the publisher Arthur C. Fifield sent Gertrude Stein the following rejection letter shortly after receiving her manuscript for The Making of Americans:

"Dear Madam,

"I am only one, only one, only one. Only one being, one at the same time. Not two, not three, only one. Only one life to live, only sixty minutes in one hour. Only one pair of eyes. Only one brain. Only one being. Being only one, having only one pair of eyes, having only one time, having only one life, I cannot read your M.S. three or four times. Not even one time. Only one look, only one look is enough. Hardly one copy would sell here. Hardly one. Hardly one.

"Many thanks. I am returning the M.S. by registered post. Only one M.S. by one post.

"Sincerely yours,

"A. C. Fifield"


Top Tip

Use Singles within Doubles When Nesting Quotations

Use single quotations ('like these') within doubles ("like these"). This is called nesting quotations. For example:
  • He looked the judge up and down and said: "My dog might not be able to say 'sausages' like the one on TV, but he can hold his own in a fight with a badger."
Using singles within doubles is a widely accepted convention, but there are others such as using doubles within singles.

Read more about single and double quotation marks.