Answered By: Theresa Bell
Last Updated: Dec 18, 2019     Views: 39615

APA 6th Edition

Single quotation marks should be used "within double quotation marks to set off material that in the original source was enclosed in double quotation marks" (American Psychological Association, 2010, p. 92). In other words, if you have an internal quotation within a quotation, the internal quotation should be enclosed with single quotation marks. Do not use single quotation marks to "introduce a word or phrase used as an ironic comment, as slang, or as an invented or coined expression. Use quotation marks the first time the word or phrase is used; thereafter, do not use quotation marks" (p. 91). If you're using slang or an colloquial expression in your academic writing, please consider if it would be better to explain exactly what you mean instead of relying on an expression that your reader might not know or understand.

For more information on quotation marks, please see pages 91-92 in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (American Psychological Association, 2010). For more information on how to introduce key words or terms in a work, please see "What are the APA Style rules for emphasizing words in text?".

Reference

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. 

APA 7th Edition

In short quotations of 39 words or fewer, "use single quotation marks within double quotation marks to set off material that was enclosed in double quotation marks in the original" (American Psychological Association [APA], 2020, p. 277). Use double quotation marks "to introduce a word or phrase used as an ironic comment, as slang, or as an invented or coined expression; use quotation marks only for the first occurrence of the word or phrase, not for subsequent occurrences" (APA, 2020, p. 159). For more information on when to use double quotation marks, see pages 157-159 in the APA Style manual.

Reference

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000