Grammar Snit: Quotation Marks

Here at the Edge, we occasionally get into a Grammar Snit.  I’m capitalizing that because we have a tendency to make grammar questions an office-wide affair that occupies a lot of conversations. This will be the first in a series.

This week’s Grammar Snit is about quotation marks: how to use them, where the punctuation goes, and how to air quote with two fingers from each hand.  An explanation of how and why air quotes are used can be found here.

Joey on “Friends” even admits that when people do the air quotes with their fingers, he doesn’t really know what that means.  We have found that Joey is not alone, nor is he the only one who misuses quotes – air or otherwise.

One of the culprits of quotation misuse is the category of company calendars, sports schedules and business cards. The intent, we think, is to highlight a slogan or a company message.  Instead, the misused quotation marks call the mission into question.  Note the example below:

This begs the question, are these folks indeed dedicated to my health, or are they sarcastically suggesting that they are?

A quick search on the Internet provides thousands of examples of quoting gone wrong.  Your students could have a blast finding examples of them in public, taking pictures and bringing them in for extra credit.  This is, of course, after folks know how to properly use the quotation mark.  This is an excellent resource for this particular grammar issue, courtesy of the The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Many, many other resources abound with a quick search online.

We are still gonna use the air quotes around here – but after this little reminder blog, we are going to be much more “careful” when we do.

Have a “fantastic” day!

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