Quotation mark abuse.

Niche blogs are where it’s at. The other day I came across this blog (via somebody) dedicated to the lower-case L as found in otherwise all-caps writing. So perhaps I should start a blog dedicated to misuse and abuse of quotation marks.

I was at a local grocery store this morning and at the till they had some sort of entry form with the following written underneath it in permanent marker:


I’m imagining the manager and his or her associates sitting in an office laughing and slapping each other’s backs over this hilarious gag, “We’ll make them think they’re entering to win this party barge, but really they’re not really winning anything—they’re just ‘winning’ it! BWA HA HA!”

Would that it were so. The reality is more dire: these quotation marks were used for emphasis, which seems to me to be the most common misuse of said symbols. I may have mentioned before the other local grocery store with a slogan that says

“Quality” fine foods

I have no qualms with that store and their food and service may be “quality fine” (bit of a double positive there), but the quotation marks around “quality” give it a sinister air.

Have people forgotten about the underline, italics or even asterisks for emphasis? This way “WIN” becomes WIN or WIN or *WIN* or a combination of all three.

I believe there was an episode of Corner Gas which revolved around a sign which offered “Free” something. I may have fallen in love with the show after seeing that one.

4 thoughts on “Quotation mark abuse.

  1. Ian H.

    I believe you’re referring to the episode where Lacey was offering “Free” Pilates classes.
    “Why would you go to a class named after the guy who killed Jesus?”
    The episode (one of my favorites) also covered the use of serf and sans-serif fonts.

  2. Randall

    And of course here in PA on the west flat you have Buddies “Groceries” Store.

    Well, you used to. They changed it last autumn.

    Probably to much punctuationism going on there.

  3. Maryanne

    Ha! I love the Pilates episode.

    The Wal-Mart near my parents’ house had my favourite mis-used quotation marks ever. On a hand-written sign, over a bin of childrens’ socks: “‘Socks’ 0.99»?” When they’re imitation socks, you can buy them for a penny and get change back.

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