Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
- (Britain) One of a pair of quotation marks used to denote a quotation in writing. The symbol used at the beginning of the quotation ("opening quotation mark") is usually “ ("open inverted commas") or ‘ ("open inverted comma"), and the symbol at the end ("closing quotation mark") is ” ("close inverted commas") or ’ ("close inverted comma").
- (Canada, US) One of a pair of quotation marks used to denote a quotation in writing. The same symbol is now typically used at both the beginning and the end of the quotation, which is usually the "double quotes" or "straight quotes" symbol ", although the "single quote" or "straight quote" symbol ' is sometimes used, especially to denote a quotation within a quotation.
- In both the United Kingdom and North America, computer software often converts "straight quote" and "straight quotes" symbols to the matching left or right "inverted comma" or "inverted commas" style, with the first one encountered assumed to mark the beginning of the quotation and thus assigned a "left" style symbol, with the next one encountered assumed to mark the end of the quotation and is thus assigned a "right" style symbol. This is commonly known as "smart quotes", while the lack of this software or simply using "straight quotes" is by contrast sometimes known as "dumb quotes".
- However, North Americans typically no longer make the distinction either in speech or when using the symbols, and generally do not use the terms "inverted comma" or "inverted commas" unless in a field associated with publishing.
quotation marks — see quotation marks