Friday, March 06, 2009

Quotation marks

Here's a blog featuring wrongly used quotation marks.

It is a common error to use quotation marks for emphasis. They are not for emphasis, they show a quote, or irony. For emphasis you use underlining, bold, or italics. Or upper CASE, though that's a bit blunt. In text-only environments you can use *asterisks*. "Don't" use quotation marks.

Wrong:
You "must" look both ways before crossing the street.

Right:
The man hollered: "look out, there's a car!"

Right:
Wow, what an "alert" pedestrian, call an ambulance.

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Friday, March 06, 2009   7 comments links to this post

7 Comments:

At 6 Mar 2009 23:03:00, Blogger Alex said...

I remember being told that underline was used in text to show the printer where boldface should be used.

"I" would never 'quotation marks'!

 
At 6 Mar 2009 23:11:00, Blogger eolake said...

Yes, underlining is not used in professional documents, it's for home use or for manuscripts (because bold is less clear.)

 
At 7 Mar 2009 01:25:00, Blogger BlankPhotog said...

These "definitive" uses of language punctuation and usage are not so final as one would think. They evolved, and evolve, and one day you may Find Yourself Writing In Capital Letters All The Time. Or talking in italics.

 
At 7 Mar 2009 05:22:00, Blogger Alex said...

They evolved, and evolve

You mean like the dropping of apostrophes from common contractions like bus, plane, phone and others of their ilk?

 
At 7 Mar 2009 14:19:00, Blogger Joe Dick said...

That's what gets me about the often bizarre rules of English grammar and spelling. So many of those were created on a whim and/or for pretty stupid reasons. If you look into the history of the development of the language.

They say that Chaucer and Shakespeare ended sentences with prepositions and used double negatives - because the rules against those were developed later. Why did they decided it was bad to end a sentence with a preposition? Because that was the rule for Latin. In English it doesn't often word. Sounds clunky. People don't talk that way.

 
At 7 Mar 2009 14:24:00, Blogger eolake said...

"That's the type of thing with which I won't put up." - Churchill

 
At 9 Mar 2009 06:14:00, Blogger Pascal [P-04referent] said...

"and one day you may Find Yourself Writing In Capital Letters All The Time."
Naah. People are too lazy to cnstntly hit the shft key, arnt they? Shrt wrtng is "in", N IM rulz.

"Or talking in italics."
Si! Now, that-a would-a be bellissima, si? Molto eleganto.

Seriously now, languages do evolve, and often take excessive time to adopt some pretty logical simplifications. Like those bizarre rules about spaces related to punctuation. I just use spaces the way they are most visually convenient! Like between an exclamation mark and letters such as "i" or "l", which in Arial font are too close apart.
Oh. My dictionary tell me in US English it's "exclamation point". Point taken. :-)
I use "world English", anyway. Meaning, what I've learned/learnt from the coalesced sources of the modern world.

Writing should follow careful rules to ensure it's always clear and expressing the meaning properly, reliably. "Know what ah'm sayin'?" The rest soon becomes clutter. I loves good experssion, but I'm allergic to arbitrary dusty roolz, yo.

You have no idea how annoying school was, with the many shifting rules over the years of "proper reading of Arabic", and also what's considered "proper" writing. All those facultative nuances and options turned into strict grade-costing rules. They soon made any natural, common, convenient or understandable reading and writing fiercely illegal.
I'll spare you the description, if you're curious just learn Arabic for yourselves.
(Yeah, right! :-)

"Why did they decided it was bad to end a sentence with a preposition?"
Odd, because the way I was taught English, that's not unheard of. And was often dealt with. Rules for phrasal verbs also seem to be shifting. Turn on the light? Or turn the light on? This all puts me off!
}:-P

"People don't talk that way."
What mean do you, young Padawan? Obscure your speaking is.

"That's the type of thing with which I won't put up." - Churchill"
Yeah, you tell'em dawgs, yo! Word life, wassup wid dat shit, bee-hatch? Ah mean, let's get down wid it, know what ah'm sayin'? Get chillin', go with the floooowwww....

 

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