When do you use double quotation marks?

Use double quotation marks

Observe the following guidelines for uses of double quotation marks other than in material quoted directly from a source.

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.

Examples:

  • considered "normal" behavior
  • the "good-outcome" variable…the good-outcome variable [no quotation marks after the initial usage]

but

  • Subjects in the small group [Small is italicized to prevent misreading—here it means a group designation, not the size of the group]

to set off the title of an article or chapter in a periodical or book when the title is mentioned in text.

Example:

  • Riger's (1992) article, "Epistemological Debates, Feminist Voices: Science, Social Values, and the Study of Women"

to reproduce material from a test item or verbatim instructions to participants.

Example:

  • The first fill-in item was "could be expected to __________."

(adapted from the sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual, © 2010)