Monday, August 03, 2009

The Virtual Gathering Spot For
Uneccessary Quotation Marks

Writers (and careful readers) tend to be forever rolling their eyes in mild disgust at all the absurd language errors they find all around them. When you're younger, you might point out to the restaurant manager the egregious typo in his menu or note the syntax error in the sign at your local gas station. Ah, the optimism of youth. But after awhile, you probably become resigned to it. But you still notice all this stuff--how could you not?--and perhaps silently muse to yourself about what a casually illiterate culture we've become. One of the more subtle (but also most common) forms of errors you'll see all around you are the bizarre examples of words and phrases placed in quotation marks for no apparent reason. These mistakes tend to make me laugh more than anything. You can have a little fun trying to figure out what was going through the mind of the person who decided to place these quotation marks there. Sure enough, someone started a blog devoted to gathering examples of these dubious mistakes. We'd love to hear your thoughts.

20 Comments:

At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Liz said...

Thanks for sharing this link. I had a few good laughs!

 
At 12:47 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks for visiting, Liz.

 
At 1:39 PM, Anonymous Donna said...

I couldn't help but notice that a lot of the quote marks were around double entendres. Oh, and by the way, you can quote me.

 
At 1:40 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Interesting observation, Donna. I hadn't noticed that. I suppose that would make it at least a bit less egregious, wouldn't it?

 
At 1:42 PM, Anonymous Donna said...

Perhaps. I don't think I would actually like to consider consuming chicken balls. Did I just make you blush?

Because I'm "bright red".

 
At 1:43 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I don't blush virtually, Donna. Only in person.

 
At 3:03 PM, Anonymous Mike Q said...

But don't you blush virtuously?

Meanwhile, have you also noticed the proliferation of italics?

 
At 3:08 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Yes, italics have indeed become the new quotation marks, haven't they, Mike?

 
At 4:53 PM, Blogger Pat Washington said...

I just "love" the unnesscary quotations blog, John. In fact, I "thought" I linked it to mine a while ago. But maybe I just put it on "Facebook."

Anyway, it's quite "amusing." (But, really, it is.) Another amusing blog is the one about crappy church signs.

By the way, I "finished" my interview with my artist "friend" Diane. Come have a look when you have the ... "time."

 
At 4:55 PM, Blogger Pat Washington said...

"unnesscary" ... I think I like that word as it is....

 
At 5:15 PM, Blogger Diane Vogel Ferri said...

I am not great at grammar, but I can catch a spelling mistake in a fraction of a second! Drives me crazy! Even in emails. That's a cute blog. It seems that many see quotation marks as "emphasis" marks.:)

 
At 8:49 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks for stopping by, ladies.

 
At 10:40 PM, Blogger Maria said...

The person who thought of this must have had a "eureka." It's creative and funny. Let's give other misused punctuation marks their due! Imagine the fun of an exclamation point blog!!! Or the dreaminess of a gathering point . . . for lovers of ellipses . . .

 
At 10:52 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

The poor overused exclamation point. Every struggling writer's desperate way of signaling something important is going on here.

 
At 10:53 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Come on, people. We can't be completely ignoring poor E.B. White in the previous item. Doesn't anyone have anything to say about the poor fellow?

 
At 6:54 AM, Blogger Kim said...

I'll weigh in, because I'm doing anything to stall my morning run. In defense of the overused punctuation devices, I think it's a writer's attempt to keep with the colloquial nature of a piece. My guilty pleasure is writing a word COMPLETELY capitalized, to make my point. I see myself in some of these sloppy punctuation errors, although only when the tone is more "conversational". (couldn't resist).

 
At 8:17 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Kim, just think of this as a morning run for your writing brain. But the body needs the actual run as well. Nothing like those endorphins flooding your brain all day. And we all have our guilty pleasures, don't we?

 
At 2:04 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Also try the Gallery of Misused Quotation Marks at http://www.juvalamu.com/qmarks/ . Hasn't been updated in years, but still full of gems.

 
At 2:36 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks for that addition, Jennifer. I think you may be a first-time commenter, and if so, a double welcome.

 
At 2:40 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 

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