There are only a few proper uses of quotation marks. They are:
- To enclose another person's exact words
- This includes fragments of quoted material. Do not use them quotation marks with mark indirect quotations or paraphrases.
- "We just received the mail," he grunted, "and the check didn't come."
- "Mom, we had that yesterday!" they complained.
- Their contract stated that "payment is due in receipt of the invoice."
- To set off the title of a book, play, etc.
- He greatly enjoyed reading "The Da Vinci Code."
- To indicate a word that is being used in an unusual way,
- The business formed was a "closed" or "privately held" corporation.
- To indicate jargon or words of great informality that have not been come into widespread use.
- He usually spent his afternoons "goofing off."
A quotation mark is often used to enclose a letter, when it is referred to as a letter (e.g., the letter "A"), to enclose the representation of a sound, or to enclose foreign words or translations of foreign words. However, italicization often better serves these purposes.