quote marks

When you use quotes, it’s no longer “real”

People often put things in quotation marks to call attention to them or make them seem to be more prominent or important. But those quote marks actually have the opposite effect. When you surround a word with quote marks, it implies that you’re really not telling the truth. If your ads say a bracelet has … Read more


Quotation marks are a very familiar punctuation device, and we’d have a tough time surviving without them. As a famous writer once said, “Quotation marks allow us to identify what someone actually says, as opposed to simple statements being made by the writer.” Actually, I just made that quote up, but it illustrates one of the primary roles of quotation marks. The other is to denote when something is being lifted from another source.

There’s a third use for quotation marks, and it’s not well-understood. It’s to imply that something isn’t really what you’re presenting it as. For example, if I wrote that a necklace was made from “silver” or “real” silver, I’m implying that it’s actually an imitation. If I said that a particular political candidate is “smart,” I’m suggesting that she’s dumber than that proverbial box of rocks.

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