Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Quoth She

It's been ages since I've ranted about punctuation so let's talk about quotation marks. Because the situation is completely out of hand!

Here's when you use them:

1.) When quoting some one (ex: Gladys said, "Your hair is on fire.") or something (ex: "I do desire we may be better strangers." As You Like It);

2.) Around a title of a small piece of work, such as an article, chapter, poem, or song title;

3.) When you're being ironic, although I find this to be redundant because irony should always be obvious or else it misses the mark.

I know you know this. I'm not pointing out something you do. Other people do it. You always get this right. What I'm trying to do is get a movement started where we stop people from misusing the quotation mark. Because I've seen it used wrong all over this great land of ours.  Some examples I have seen with my very own eyes:

On a menu: Savory herb-roasted "chicken" (Is this not chicken? What are you serving people?)

On those memorial decals that people put on the back of their cars in CA: In memory of "Joseph" (Is Joseph not his name? Is it a nickname? Who would nickname a guy Joseph?)

On a billboard: Best in the "Inland Empire" (I know that the IE is sometimes the butt of jokes but this is just hurtful. We're a legit place, people!)

I'm not sure how to explain this trend. Do people think it adds emphasis? Why would chicken need to be emphasized? We already know that it's chicken. I fear the quotation marks are becoming the "literally" of punctuation. (Another acceptable use of quotes: when using a word as a word, although it is more commonly italicized. And now I have just crossed the line into Insufferable Punctuation Nazi. Remember that we love each other and let me have this rant.)

Stop the madness!

1 comment:

Nan Nestor said...

Teachers unite with you in your concern over the state of misused punctuation! You are a true soul sister.