AP Style

AP Stylebook punctuation guidelines: quotation marks

“I just don’t understand,” he sighed.

She smiled, “You’ll want to read this GateHouse Newsroom post about how to properly use quotation marks in AP style stories then.”

The AP Stylebook has a few simple rules for using quotation marks in AP style stories.

direct quotations Surrounding the exact words of a writer or speaker in a story

  • He said, “It’s like rain on your wedding day, or a fly in your glass of white wine.”
  • “No, ” she groaned, “those are not examples of irony.”

running quotations Don’t use close-quote marks at the end of a paragraph if it is followed by another full paragraph of quoted text, but do put open-quote marks at the start of any succeeding paragraphs. Use a close-quote mark only at the end of all of the quoted text.

Also, “if a paragraph does not start with quotation marks but ends with a quotation that is continued in the next paragraph, do not use close-quote marks at the end of the introductory paragraph if the quoted material constitutes a full sentence. Use close-quote marks, however, if the quoted material does not constitute a full sentence.”

He said, “It’s like rain, on your wedding day.

“It’s exactly like when you have a free Uber ride but you forget to use the coupon code.”


He said it was similar to “a death row pardon that comes a couple minutes late.”

“In the same way it’s like when someone gives you amazing advice that you just don’t take,” he mused.

dialogue or conversation Each piece of dialogue gets its own paragraph and its very own set of quotation marks.

“How old are you?”

“I’m 98 years old.”

“Are you scared of flying?”

“No, I love travel.”

“Oh, never mind then.”

When used with other punctuation

  • Periods and commas always go within quotation marks.
  • Dashes, semicolons, question marks and exclamation points go within quotation marks when they apply to the quoted matter only. They go outside quotation marks when they apply to the whole sentence.

irony Put quotation marks around words when they are used ironically

(Visited 112,171 times, 607 visits today)
Previous post

Online News Association board nominations include our very own Penny Riordan

Next post

Why not use an ASF to cover your meeting?