Don’t abuse the quotation mark

This form of punctuation is sometimes misunderstood and often overused. Here’s what you should know.

Do you find yourself using air quotes? Be honest. How about in your writing? Are your sentences peppered with single or double quotation marks? Are you sure you’re using them correctly?

Quotation mark abuse is so rampant, it begat a popular Web site, The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks, documenting their often confusing, but always funny, misuses.

For instance, a sign introducing Franco’s “Special” Fried Chicken was recently showcased on the site. The blog humorously noted that the quotation marks suggest it’s either not chicken or else coated in marijuana.

Blog author Bethany Keeley, a researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, believes her colleagues in academia most often abuse the quotation mark. She greatly underestimates corporate writing. Whether it’s an article in a corporate publication or CEO’s letter, quotation marks are sometimes misunderstood and often overused.

Here’s how you can curb the misuse.

A primer

Quotation marks denote direct speech or an excerpt from someone’s prose, but it wasn’t always this way.

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