Thursday, May 28, 2015

On the “Proper” use of Air Quotes and Quotation Marks in every day “Colloquialism” (This is not in anyway a soap box for me, neither is it annoying)

Can we just stop for a moment and appreciate the phenomenon that is the air quote.


We once struggled with communicating something we mean—but don’t mean. Remember those times when ideas that were not quite ideas needed extra emphasis and we had such a hard time getting our point across?

Enter the air quotes. Now we have an amazing way to communicate when we don’t actually mean something.

Exhibit A:
“Johnny, I thought you said you loved me but really you only “loved” me.”
“Sallie, it isn’t my fault you thought I “loved” you. Seriously, it isn’t like I actually loved you.”

But what about the times when we actually mean what we are trying to say? What about the times that “love” is actually love?

Use quotation marks anyway. It draws attention to the word in a clean and fashionable way that the traditional “italics” just couldn’t swing.

On that note, isn’t it amazing how “quotation marks” have evolved from their original design of designating when a person is talking? No confusion here. No added, unnecessary clutter to the “page.” Who needs “writing” and “speaking” to be clean and clear? “Decoration” is much more important to modern modes of “communication.” And who cares if you “quote” someone without actually quoting someone.

But what if are actually quoting someone? What if we really mean to say, “Johnny said, “Love” was his reason for breaking up with Sallie”? Was it love? Or was it “love”? If it was “love” than we probably should use quotation marks. But it might actually have been love, and we might actually be quoting Johnny, and Johnny might actually be sincere in breaking up with Sallie because of love. Or was it “love”?

Oh Em Gee! It’s just “love” who cares if we detract emphasis or add emphasis or make it confusing to understand or just add “quotation marks” for the sake of “hype”? Or is it hype? Perhaps it’s hype?

“Quotation marks” are not in any way “confusing” or “annoying.” They are “stylistic” and add “beauty” to every “form” of “writing” everywhere. In fact, I think we should use “air quotes” and “quotation marks” in every form of “speech” and “writing.” We should “sneak” it in as often as we can. We should use it all the time! Every time we “talk”  or “write” anything. It’s just so “snazzy.” What did we “do” before the “evolution” of air quotes and quotation marks. Let this be a “call” to “use” quotation marks as often as we “can.”

Wait a minute. Don’t we “already”?





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