Monday, January 26, 2009

Notes from an unrepentant grammar nazi

Quotation marks are wonderfully versatile—not only can they denote direct quotations, they can also indicate irony or unusual usage, signal that the word, not the concept, is being referred to, or mark a title or nickname. What they do not, NOT, not, not, not, do, however, is indicate emphasis (which is fine, since I just demonstrated four ways that you can show emphasis). So, when I see things like the following pictures, I am a little irritated, but mostly amused at the unintentional humor. Behold:


Gilberts' Fridge said...

One of my pet peeves, as well. Bad grammar is pretty much universal. When my sister Krystle was visiting, she didn't know what to take pictures of. So we chose signs with bad grammar and spelling, as well as the uniquely British signs that are incredibly wordy. Loads of fun! I think she used them to teach grammar to her students!

Clark Goble said...

Are they emphasis or just quoted to imply fake. i.e. "cheese" burgers that don't have read cheese in them. In which case it'd probably be justified. Quotations to indicate a difference from the literal sense is rather common and justified.

Clark Goble said...

BTW - my pet peeve in grammar is the attempt to impose Latin rules on English syntax and grammar. It's less common now than it used to be of course. The most famous example being split infinitives which come out of a bizarre notion that since Latin doesn't have them (since to be is implicit rather than explicit in verbs) English shouldn't have them either.