Quotation marks never create emphasis. They only cause confusion. Are you using yours properly?
It makes me smile every time I see bungled quotation marks on store signage, business marketing materials, or even in personal communications. Please don’t continue this downward trend. If you want to emphasize your language, use bold, italics, an underline, or even surround something with *asterisks* if you must, but do not—I beg you—use quotation marks.
What you need to know about quotation marks:
- They surround exact words that someone said or wrote.
- They surround a title of a song, poem, or article.
- They surround a word that is being defined or discussed.
That’s roughly it.
If you are trying to use quotation marks for emphasis, you will miss. Instead your words will be understood as either sarcastic, ironic, euphemistic, or deceptive. And is that really what you wanted to say about your “free” cupcakes? Really? Suddenly those delicious treats just became a tad sketchy. What do I have to do for those cupcakes, really?
I know this one is a huge pet peeve for a lot of people—including the creator of the “blog of “unnecessary” quotation marks (which you should definitely check out). You may not even realize that what you’re doing is wrong, but moving forward, try to remember. Okay?