141

There are several types of quotation marks in the English language (and in other languages there are even more). There are also several ways in LaTeX to represent these. I have seen editors, that are capable of directly entering and . And I have also seen things like this `''.

So, what is the best way to do English quotation marks in LaTeX?

170

A quick summary of the available solutions:

  1. Using an Unicode editor you can simply type “text” or ‘text’ in your code. This should work in XeTeX/LuaTeX and recent versions of LaTeX, just make sure your source file is saved with UTF-8 encoding.

    In older versions of LaTeX you might need to add \usepackage[utf8]{inputenc} for this input method to work.

  2. Type ``text'' in your source code to produce “text”, and type `text' to produce ‘text’.

  3. With the csquotes package, you type \enquote{text}, but you also get loads of other options such as context sensitivity and foreign quotes.

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  • 3
    Does anybody else feel offended by the default method? The accent is usually part of a letter and a prime/apostrophe is a punctuation mark. Both characters are totally unrelated to quotations and in general it is not consistent with the usual scheme, like \textbf{...}. In my opinion it is a really bad design.
    – n4pK
    Mar 4 '20 at 9:13
  • UTF-8 input has been the default for LaTeX since 2018. It is no longer necessary to load inputenc to use opening and closing quotes in your UTF-8 source file.
    – Davislor
    Nov 10 at 5:51
  • 1
    @Davislor thanks for the info! I've updated the answer. Nov 11 at 7:14
26

TeX/LaTeX display the real quotation marks by default: ` and `` are converted to opening quotation marks; ' and '' are closing quotation marks. You'll generally always see the curved quotes in the output, in the default font. You should always quote like

``this''

and not like ''this'' or "this", because that appears like ”this” (closing quotation marks on both sides), and is very annoying to readers. (If you type the double quote character in Emacs, it automatically guesses whether you meant to insert `` or ''; other editors probably do too.)

You can also directly enter the curved quote characters if you like, if you're using an environment that supports Unicode input: either \usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}, or XeTeX/LuaTeX. See the question on glyph insertion.

3
  • 3
    The quote-rules depend on the country you live in, so your examples of "not like..." are not universal. In Finnish, for example, the rule is to use two closing quotation marks ”like so”.
    – morbusg
    Feb 10 '11 at 7:21
  • @morsbug: The question mentions "in the English language" and "English quotation marks". :-) But thanks, I didn't know that about Finnish… I've learnt something new. Feb 10 '11 at 14:59
  • I wonder why so many people insist on twisting my handle to a variation of the word "bug"... C'mon, it's not funny! You're right though, I missed the last line from OP.
    – morbusg
    Feb 10 '11 at 18:36
15

As other answers have pointed out, csquotes is fantastic. Here are three reasons I like csquotes so much.

  1. Active quotation marks.
  2. Automatic management of nested quotations so that you can pretty much always just say 'quote this' and csquotes will figure out the right thing to do.
  3. Quotation marks which adapt automatically to both the global language of the document and, optionally, the local linguistic context, if different.

Here is a demonstration which employs British and American conventions at different points in the document. British conventions are default as that is the default language of the document. However, because autostyle is specified, American conventions are used when this language is active.

\documentclass[american,british]{article}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage{babel}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage[autostyle]{csquotes}
   \MakeAutoQuote{‘}{’}
\begin{document}
This is an excerpt from Lewis Carroll, \emph{Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll}, The Modern Library: Random House. Pp.~75--76. (Note: no copyright year is included as none is given.):
\begin{quotation}
  ‘Come, we shall have some fun now!’ thought Alice. ‘I'm glad they've begun asking riddles --- I believe I can guess that,’ she added aloud.

  ‘Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?’ said the March Hare.

  ‘Exactly so,’ said Alice.

  ‘Then you should say what you mean,’ the March Hare went on.

  ‘I do,’ Alice hastily replied; ‘at least --- at least I mean what I say --- that's the same thing, you know.’

  ‘Not the same thing a bit!’ said the Hatter. ‘Why, you might just as well say that ‘I see what I eat’ is the same thing as ‘I eat what I see’!’

  ‘You might just as well say,’ added the March Hare, ‘that ‘I like what I get’ is the same thing as ‘I get what I like’!’

  ‘You might just as well say,’ added the Dormouse, which seemed to be talking in its sleep, ‘that ‘I breathe when I sleep’ is the same thing as ‘I sleep when I breathe’!’
\end{quotation}

\selectlanguage{american}
Here is the same passage with American conventions:
\begin{quotation}
  ‘Come, we shall have some fun now!’ thought Alice. ‘I'm glad they've begun asking riddles --- I believe I can guess that,’ she added aloud.

  ‘Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?’ said the March Hare.

  ‘Exactly so,’ said Alice.

  ‘Then you should say what you mean,’ the March Hare went on.

  ‘I do,’ Alice hastily replied; ‘at least --- at least I mean what I say --- that's the same thing, you know.’

  ‘Not the same thing a bit!’ said the Hatter. ‘Why, you might just as well say that ‘I see what I eat’ is the same thing as ‘I eat what I see’!’

  ‘You might just as well say,’ added the March Hare, ‘that ‘I like what I get’ is the same thing as ‘I get what I like’!’

  ‘You might just as well say,’ added the Dormouse, which seemed to be talking in its sleep, ‘that ‘I breathe when I sleep’ is the same thing as ‘I sleep when I breathe’!’
\end{quotation}

\end{document}

Quoting Carroll

1
10

If your needs are simple, you could still use the csquotes package, but configure it to recognize the " character:

\MakeOuterQuote{"}

This way, when you enclose some text in double quotes, it will render with the appropriate quotes for your language.

Though this approach won't work well if you have nested quotes. You could specify another character (like `) for inner quotes using \MakeInnerQuote, but you would need to maintain nesting manually and you can't use ', because that would conflict with apostrophe's other uses.

1
  • 1
    This is the most convenient solution for languages that use " as quote symbols. Nov 24 '20 at 18:55
8

You can make a command to typset quotation marks correctly without installing any packages. Add the following to your preamble:

\newcommand{\q}[1]{``#1''}

and then simply type your in-text quote in place of <text> in the following

\q{<text>}

Therefore, your document code should look like

\documentclass{article}
\renewcommand{\q}[1]{``#1''}
\begin{document}

    Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. \q{Pooh?} he whispered.

    \q{Yes, Piglet?}

    \q{Nothing,} said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand. \q{I just wanted to be sure of you.}

\end{document}

*Winnie the Pooh* - A.A. Milne, LaTeX quote typeset

(Quote credit to A.A. Milne from Winnie the Pooh)

3
  • Well, this is one way to do it, but not necessarily the best way, as was asked by the question. To me it seems that what you're suggesting is OK in spirit but in practice this is very heavy handed because you are breaking the standard LaTeX quote environment.
    – user30471
    Apr 19 '15 at 13:32
  • Hi, Andrew. Thank you for your feedback. I have adjusted the code accordingly. Apr 25 '15 at 18:58
  • great hack. if you already have defined a \inQuotes command in some language you can use that in conjunction with \renewcommand to get the same \inQuotes command with different effects for the different languages... very helpful have a +1
    – der bender
    Jun 10 '19 at 17:14
3

I have always simply used two backticks, ``, to create an opening quotation mark, and two apostrophes, '', to create a closing one. In fact, many editors will automatically keep track of which one you need next and enter it if you type the 'regular' quotation mark, ".

3
  • This is a very American approach, if I may say so: it pretty much assumes English text and, above all, a QWERTY keyboard. Great if it works, just might not be ideal for everybody.
    – Ingmar
    Nov 11 at 8:01
  • @Ingmar good point, these answers to a question about "quotation marks in the English language" that explicitly asks "what is the best way to do English quotation marks in LaTeX?" do all tend to provide approaches that assume English text! (As an aside, English is used outside both the US and the Americas, and in fact even originated elsewhere, not to mention that these glyphs are used in a wide range of non-English languages around the world.) Nov 17 at 19:23
  • The question, as it stands, refers to “quotation mark glyphs”, including, yes, English ones and “even more in other languages”. It's not so much the assumed English language, though, as it is the QWERTY keyboard: “Simply use backticks” just might not be the best advice to give to people who not only use “English”, but also „German“, „Polish”, ”Swedish” or « French » quotation marks (and for whom the backtick character might be inconvenient to reach). QED & EOD.
    – Ingmar
    Nov 18 at 8:46

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