Mon 18 Aug, 2003 01:57 am
Quotation marks are used before and after quotations. No surprise there. They are also used for special emphasis:
--When you are using business jargon, technical terms, and coined expressions.
When asked where the star key was on the keyboard, she told the caller that is was the "capital 8."
Without my coffee, I have trouble getting "booted up" in the morning.
I have to stop lying around and get "ert."
(It is also acceptable to used italics in these instances.)
--When you are using words humorously or ironically.
I was "semigruntled" at that remark.
The repair will cost "only" $1200.
--When you are using a slang expression or are deliberately using poor grammar or misspelling a word.
Bush said that "nucular" power plants were unaffected.
You don't care, I don't care, they don't care, and he "don't" care.
My friend thinks that anything that lands on the green is a "gimme."
--When you are using an expression as a part of speech that is different from its actual part of speech.
Most items on sale are meant to be sold "as is."
--When you are using words that are introduced by the expression marked, labeled, or signed.
The package was marked "Fragile."
When not to use quotation marks:
--When you are defining a word. Italics are preferred.
A noun is a person, place, or thing.
--When you are using colloquial expressions.
I have the inside dope on the rumors.
--When you are using the expression so-called.
The so-called scuffle landed him in the hospital.
--When you're referring to a word as a word. Italics are preferred.
Legal and ethical do not mean the same thing.
Note: I had a terrible time coming up with appropriate examples. Please feel free to provide something better. I promise I won't be offended.
Ok, that means I get to nitpick.
I prefer will only cost to will cost only but my complaint is unwarranted.
Craven, Thanks for the nitpicking. Your comment has given me an idea for another fine-tuning thread--Where does the "only" go.
Also, I'm thrilled to get a comment. Thrilled, I tell ya. Mercy bow coo.
He he, I used to teach adverb word order every damn day.
The one I hate is when half of an idiomatic phrase is quoted... I'm horrible at examples today, but I'll try...
I was "blown" away by the performance! ("Blown away" is the phrase, and if you're going to emphasize it, emphasize the whole thing!)
When I came "to" I didn't know where I was. (same with "came to")
For letter as letter quotations are prefered, too. I thought they could be either in quotes or italics (like word as word), but I was wrong, quotations only.
She wrote a capital "D" on her business card.
"Why the 'D'?" I asked.
"'D' for desire," she said.
Mind your p's and q's.
Remember to cross your t's and dot your i's.
I also noted that in the new Chicago Manual it is suggested that a string of letters to spell out a word be in roman, no quotes, with hyphens separating the letters, which came as a surprise to me. And I really do try at this stuff. Yeeikes!
My grandmother used to use quotes for anything she wanted to emphasize. Drove me batty. For example:
I am just "thrilled" that you will be able to come for a little "visit." It will be "wonderful" to see you!
The effect was of someone who was not being very sincere, though that's NOT what she intended.
I definitely overuse the quotes. The worst is when I am referring to a previous post. For example, someone says,
They are making a fuss for no reason.
and I say
Perhaps the reason that they're "making a fuss" is that they are genuinely upset.
Gawd, it is hard to come up with examples, isn't it? Hope that's clear.
Wy, I don't think that either expression you mention requires quotation marks, but I agree with you totally. If you're going to use them, put quotes around the whole expression.
Dupre, Do I have to get a new Chicago Manual? Mine says that letters as letters should be ital. Which edition do you have?
Soz, Yes, examples are my downfall. But yours seems relevant and on target. Don't really need the quotation marks there.
Oh dear! I probably got it basassbackwards.
My edition is at the office, where my brain obviously is, too.
Thanks for the correction.
Hope I can remember it now!
Re: Fine-Tuning 19, Quotation Marks but No Quotation
Among techies, especially computer-related ones, it has become common to use single quotes for 'scare quotes'. We reserve the quotation marks for actual quotations. As Sozobe says, "it is hard to come up with examples", but The New Hacker's Dictionary
explains it at some length. I really like this variant of quoting because it adds clarity among those who use it without confusing those who don't. Unfortunately I sometimes lack the discipline to stick to it consistently.
Phoenix32890 wrote: What is the correct way to use jargon within a quotation? Do you use single quotations? For example:
I saw Mary, and she said, "Wow, what a 'cool' outfit"!
Roberta- Do you consider this correct usage?
I'm not Roberta, but I'd say it depends on who wants to make clear the jargon isn't hers. Your usage is correct if it's Mary. On the other hand, if you want to say that the jargon is Mary's, not yours, no scare quotes around "cool" are necessary because Mary's jargon is already covered by the quotation marks around her quote.
I speak English only as a second language, so you might want to take this with a grain of salt.
Dupre, Maybe I've got an out-of-date edition. Please check and let me know if I'm current.
Thomas, Thanks for the link. I now know what "scare quotes" are. Or should I say 'scare quotes.' Although techies are distinguishing between quoted material (double quotation marks) and scare quotes (single quotation marks), it's still common U.S. usage to use double for all.
Phoenix, I think that the word "cool" is sufficiently mainstream that it doesn't require quotes. However, if you want to use them, you've used them correctly. I agree with Thomas that , by using the quotation marks, the person relating the quotation is making an editorial comment. That is, the person who saw Mary and heard what she said is adding quotation marks around the word "cool" to suggest that it's not a term she (or he) would ordinarily use.
Just one comment re:Phoenix's example. Shouldn't that screamer be inside, not outside, the quotation marks?
Thomas, Thanks for the link. I now know what "scare quotes" are. Or should I say 'scare quotes.'
I'm fine with either, as long as you leave the terminating colon out of the quote. Punctuation is one of the few issues where independence from England has failed Americans and their 'English'. The only other point I can think of is your awful month/day/year format for dates.
Andy, Yup, the screamer goes inside the quotation marks. Can't get anything by you.
Thomas, I cringe at non-U.S. placement of punctuation with respect to quotation marks. But it keeps me busy when I'm editing. As for the month/day/year thing. It's a matter of what you're used to. The month first makes perfect sense to me.
"quote" Heh heh...
What are the rules regarding those annoying people who make quotation marks with their hands to emphasize bogus business terminology like "think outside the box?"
Interesting thought about those people who punctuate with their fingers in the air, Cav. It used to annoy me, but I've not only gotten used to it but now think of it as a clever way of indicating where quotation marks would go, were they commiting their thoughts to paper. It beats the awful saying of "quote-unquote" either before or after the phrase. Don't think I ever use the hand signals myself, but I no longer mind other people doing it.
Roberta, I fear I must agree with Thomas rgarding the lack of logic in 8/27/03. One should start with the smallest unit, the day, progress to the nect larger, the month, then go to the year. Some Europeans will write the month in Roman numerals to avoid confusion. 27/VIII/03. In that case, even if you wrote VIII/27/03, there could be no confusion. The US Army has used the European method since at least World War II. Today is 27 Aug 03. 'Course, the Army has also gone completely metric, except they still use (I think) the Fahrenheit thermometer.
I think I'm a day behind the times here. Just looked at my calendar. Today is 28 Aug 03.