Correct Punctuation is “Important”

Published 14th July 2011
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I came across a delightfully funny blog recently, which not only tickled me, but also made me extremely grateful that I am not alone in the world.

‘The “blog” of “unnecessary” quotation marks’ is exactly what it sounds like – a blog dedicated to chiding those who abuse the English language.

The over- and mis-use of quotation marks is unfortunately something that anyone who has ever entered a shop will recognise. People are increasingly using quotation marks as a way of emphasising certain sections of text, but this is just not correct! In fact, quotation marks can be used to denote irony or sarcasm, so using them in this way can make an announcement seem disingenuous. Take the following, for example:

“Free” doughnut with every coffee!

Would you trust this sign? To me, it sounds as though there is a catch, and that the doughnut won’t actually be free at all. Although perhaps I’m just too distrusting of deals that seem too good to be true…

For “most” of us, this is probably not that “big” a deal, but “what if” someone punctuated their CV “like this”, using quotation marks to “emphasise” the most important sections? Well, the “employer” would very likely “not” hire them.

I agree with Lynne Truss (author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves) and her assertion that “Using the apostrophe correctly is a mere negative proof: it tells the world you are not a thicko.” However, I believe that this applies to all punctuation, not just the poor abused apostrophe. If that makes me a grammar geek – something I have been called numerous times – then so be it.

So what do you “think” about “correct” quotation mark use?

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