There's a discussion going on about the use of Guillemet in written French. The official view of l'Académie is pretty clear I think, but how widely is this reflected around the world?

Is it normal to use Guillemet instead of English style quotation marks when in Quebec for instance or other non-France French speaking countries?

In real world usage within France how much do people actually deviate from the official line in practice?


4 Answers 4


It really depends on the typographers. Some consider that using English quotes makes the text actually looks nicer, even though it is discouraged by the Académie (and the Imprimerie Nationale).

In the past, it was hard to typeset the guillemets, too. Modern programs replace quotes by guillemets automatically (or provide macros, like frenchb in LaTeX) which make it much easier to typeset them properly.


Written publications in France (books, newspapers, academic journals, magazines) all use double guillemets as primary marks of quotation.


In Canada, the guillemet is used.


In Belgium, we use guillemets as well as double quotes.

  • 1
    when you say 'as well', do you mean they're interchangeable, or that you could also use them together?
    – Benjol
    Commented Aug 18, 2011 at 10:19
  • mmm right, the first case.
    – patapizza
    Commented Aug 18, 2011 at 11:40
  • Is this the case for any kind of publication? Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 18:28
  • The newspaper La Libre Belgique uses English quotation marks “” more or less systematically (but one can still find guillemets «» in some minor sections). However, I am pretty sure that the French-speaking publishing industry in Belgium uses guillemets «» dominantly.
    – iNyar
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 23:42

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