What is the correct way to denote a quotation in German?

  • In English, quoted texts are normally written in speech marks, "like this," or occasionally 'like this.'

    However on this site I have seen people writing German quotes like »this« and „this.“

    Which form is correct?

    Im Englischen werden normalerweise Gänsefüßchen "wie diese" oder gelegentlich 'diese' für Zitate verwendet.

    Auf dieser Seite habe ich jedoch auch »diese« und „diese“ für deutsche Zitate gesehen.

    Welche Form ist korrekt?

    I didn't know there was a different way! +1 :D

    @Alenanno Double quotes are considered standard english, although single quotes would be understood. The single quote is tends be used if you quoting a quote, eg he said "the newspaper claimed 'the sky is blue.' "

    I was mainly referring to „this” :D

    BTW: in english you also _wouldn't_ use "inches signs" but real “quotation marks”

    Actually, those are called straight quotation marks, I believe. Inches are marked with a double prime.

    What you're quoting is American English. British English would use (in order of preference) single quotes **‘** like this __’,__ or double quotes **“** like this __”.__ (Note the placement of the full stop and comma.) (There should be no spaces, but apparantly that's not possible in comment formatting.)

  • fuxia

    fuxia Correct answer

    10 years ago

    There are three legal variants:

    1. Gänsefüßchen and for quotations in quotations ‚ ‘.
    2. »Guillemets« and › ‹
    3. Reversed «Guillemets» and ‹ ›. There is usually a thin space between the word and the quotation mark.

    The first version is the most used in Germany, followed by the second.
    The third is the preferred in Switzerland but allowed in a German text too.

    When to use what?

    Use „Gänsefüßchen“ for handwritings. They are easy to write.

    Use »Guillemets« for printed text or for text for the screen. They don’t break the line as hard as „Gänsefüßchen“, and all fonts use them correctly. „Gänsefüßchen“ on the other hand are broken in Tahoma and Verdana: They point in the wrong direction.

    enter image description here

    How to type?

    On a German PC keyboard the characters are not available. But there is useful software for Windows. ac'tivAid Forte has a module CharacterAid:


    AllChars offers some easy to learn shortcuts:


    On a Mac

    with US-International keyboard selected as input source they can be entered with + + W for and + [ for .
    The symbol denotes the "Option" or "Alt" key, which Apple chose to Translate als Wahltaste.

    enter image description here

    On a Mac with a native German keyboard or input source layout this would then be: + ^ for and the corresponding + 2 for .

    enter image description here

    This article lists more options for the most common operating systems.

    Don’t ever use ' and " just because they are easy to type.

    Nice answer. How do you write the tiny spaces between the arrows and the text?

    Interestingly enough, most other answers to the this question use `‶` instead of the correct `”`.

    @Tim I don’t have a short cut for the Thin Space. In Opera I type just the Unicode code point `202f` and then I hit Ctrl+Shift+X. Other programs offer a character table. Not all fonts have a Thin Space, and some browsers fail very ugly if they can’t substitute it from another font. Therefore Thin Space is dying silently.

    @swegi, your example is not actually correct. The correct form for the closing quotation mark is `“`.

    Excellent answer, but `"` is perfectly acceptable in machine-written text, for e-mail, forums, etc. Word should autocorrect to the correct marks when language is set to German (Germany).

    @fzwo `"` is in German a short hand for *Zoll* (inch). 2" are 2 inches.

    @toscho I know, it's also short for inch in english. That doesn't mean it can't be used as a quotation mark when writing on a machine. It's not great style, typographically, but it's allowed.

    @fzwo: You are right. I copied the signs from a of quotation marks and I see only a difference if I make the font size bigger.

    Attention there is a known bug in AllChars when used on Windows 7 together with IE9: https://sourceforge.net/tracker/?func=detail&;aid=3186922&group_id=188828&atid=926877. I didn't yet find out if/or how I can use it on my system.

    Absolutely agree with fzwo. Apart from handwriting, I never bothered to use some "proper" German speech marks and don't know anyone who does. Also, the Guillemets look very old fashioned to me and I only know them from printed books.

    +1 for " being acceptable when typing on a computer (and not using LaTeX).

    +1 for a very detailed (not to mention illustrated) answer.

    I _always_ try to use the right marks. On a German keyboard quotation marks are often available through `AltGr+y` (»), `AltGr+x` («), `AltGr+v` („), `AltGr+b` (“) and `AltGr+n` (”).

    I have the following problem: I use the mdframed package for text boxes. If use 99-66 quotation marks in normal text everything's fine, but in textboxes I get this: „...`` Any hints how to fix it? Thanks Andreas

    @TheOMH That's a separate question and doesn't belong into a comment. :)

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM