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View Full Version : A Mini-Rant on "Quoting" Words and Phrases.


MajorDrums
12-18-2006, 09:46 PM
This was something I noticed a friend doing during conversation many times; frequently indicating quotes (using her fingers), usually to interject sarcasm in a discussion. Sometimes her sarcasm was intentional, but other times, it wasn't. Also, I've come across this in conversational writing, i.e. messageboards, where a person seems to be quoting something that isn't being attributed to an outside source. I'm unsure, but when someone is using quotes excessively ( or "excessively";) ), I start to think that he/she is not just doing so for emphasis; that person is being passive while arguing a point. It could be the person is using quotes to offset fully owning up to a view or opinion that is or may turn out to be unpopular. Likewise, the person may be resorting to quoting key words, because he/she is unable to back up, or is trying to discourage, a counterargument. It's a little annoying, because I see it as intentionally ambiguous communication; am I the only one who notices or has noticed this? Would quoting a word or phrase that may just be one's own word or phrase be considered a grammatical error or just poor writing? Should sources be cited whenever a word or phrase is being quoted, or is that nitpicking?:D

Here's an example: I don't think that statement should be put under an "archaic lens." It's "mysogynist-baiting." That may be "wrong," but it just doesn't "fit the profile."

C.bronco
12-18-2006, 09:49 PM
Hmmm, that's "food for thought." I've always enjoyed "finger quotes," but only when used properly. One of my student's came up with (finger parentheses) which were used very effectively in my classroom.

Duncan J Macdonald
12-18-2006, 10:23 PM
This was something I noticed a friend doing during conversation many times; frequently indicating quotes (using her fingers), usually to interject sarcasm in a discussion. Sometimes her sarcasm was intentional, but other times, it wasn't. Also, I've come across this in conversational writing, i.e. messageboards, where a person seems to be quoting something that isn't being attributed to an outside source. I'm unsure, but when someone is using quotes excessively ( or "excessively";) ), I start to think that he/she is not just doing so for emphasis; that person is being passive while arguing a point. I've always known that usage of "quotes" as "scare" quotes. The general emphasis is on a faintly malodorous miasmia of wrongness emanating from the "person" or "thing" so quoted -- you, as the listener/reader, are supposed to either agree with the speaker's/writer's stance on the "subject", or be classed with the poor "unfortunates" that the quotes refer to; and we all know that right-thinking people would never allow themselves to be classed with "them".
You know, "those" kind.

You know who "you" are.

Maryn
12-20-2006, 02:17 AM
I'm overly aware that many people who dont understand the proper use of quotes outside of dialogue sprinkle them liberally over anything they write as if they lent emphasis or gravitas.

Which they freakin' don't.

Maryn, "who" hates this "practice"

arrowqueen
12-20-2006, 02:55 AM
I particularly like when people take it one step further and use asterisks instead of inverted commas - like *this*.

fanatic
12-20-2006, 03:02 AM
What, there was a "quote" party and no one invited me? *crashes the "party"*

OT, but...Maryn, your avatar...my child-like vision of Santa...I want it back. Please! My eyes are burning!

FennelGiraffe
12-20-2006, 04:32 AM
I particularly like when people take it one step further and use asterisks instead of inverted commas - like *this*.That comes from Usenet. That's how you make a word bold.

(Err, unless I've gotten mixed up which char does what. I think it's asterisks for bold, underscores for underline and slashes for italics.)

MMcC
12-20-2006, 10:01 AM
Have you ever read an email from a dilletante and wondered if he/she actually took their fingers off the keyboard to make the quote motion in the air before going back to "actually type it" on the page?

arrowqueen
12-21-2006, 02:16 AM
'That comes from Usenet. That's how you make a word bold.'

Cheers. I didn't know that. I thought they were just doing it to be annoying.

:D

Cat Scratch
12-21-2006, 03:39 AM
My friends and I tried to invent air parenthesis. It never caught on.

Cat Scratch
12-21-2006, 03:40 AM
Hmmm, that's "food for thought." I've always enjoyed "finger quotes," but only when used properly. One of my student's came up with (finger parentheses) which were used very effectively in my classroom.

Clearly I didn't read the entire thread before replying. I wonder if I know this student of yours, or if we are just brilliant in very similar ways?