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!