We'll start with the primary jobs for which quotation marks are excellent:
The obvious one is when presenting an exact quotation --
"To be or not to be," is one of the most famous lines ever written.
When a quote falls within a quote, single marks are used for the inner statement --
He told her, "be careful, or I might have to go all, 'Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!'"
In this context, quotation marks are used in writing dialogue.
The trouble with quotation marks, as in the photographs here, comes with their use to indicate euphemism, irony or sarcasm. Instead of quotation marks, one could use words like "supposedly" or "so-called" -- as in,
She was "feeling ill" and left early
She was supposedly feeling ill, and left early
You can appreciate the similarity, while the first one is probably a more effective statement of the dubiousness with which the speaker/writer views the claim of illness.
Which brings us back to the problem at hand. We frequently encounter the clear error of using quotation marks to indicate emphasis -- often with slightly comedic (or disconcerting) results. We're not quite certain how this situation has grown to epidemic proportions, but it has.
To emphasize a word or statement (often a rule, regulation or command), one has quite a few tools in the typographical arsenal: italics, boldface, underlining, ALL CAPITALS or ANY COMBINATION of the foregoing. So, there is no shortage of options. Re-purposing of quotation marks to create another one is not only wrong, it's unnecessary.
Though the intended meaning in a statement containing errant quotation marks is understood, the essence result suggests the opposite.
While conducting other business on the Internet, we came across a new subject for our Facebook rogues' gallery of language error and/or misuse.
Click on the picture to see the details of the situation -- though the CliffNotes version is that Old Navy shipped and sold these shirts without a necessary apostrophe in "Let's Go!!"
Retail goods and client-facing communication material need to be checked for these basic (and embarrassing) errors. Contact us to discuss your needs.
Write and Polish recently completed the first phase of a website project for Milwaukee-area general contractor Barthenheier Construction.
The website was designed by Catral Doyle Creative (located in Milwaukee's Third Ward), whose team also established an engaging logo and brand. Write and Polish then performed a complete revision of the content, and adjusted some minor elements of layout/style to better reflect the client's aesthetic.
We will be continuing to work with Barthenheier to expand the case studies already presented to more fully reflect the scope of work undertaken, as well as to add new projects as they are completed. We are also working with them on other marketing and communications projects, including creation of an up-to-date relationship database and some "boilerplate" pieces that will allow for quicker and easier response to opportunities.
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Christie Manussier, principal Writer and Polisher, is the usual news reporter.