February, 2010

An ‘infestation’ of ‘inverted commas’

“Anything that causes you to over-react or under-react can control you, and often does,” reads the quote in the book I’m reading. It’s a book about improving productivity and the quote is absolutely correct.  However, it was more relevant at the moment I read it than the author could possibly have imagined.

I found myself very much over-reacting to his over-use of quote marks. He’s wrapped them around anything and everything. On one page alone there are nine instances of totally unnecessary inverted commas. And the very fact I’ve bothered to count them shows I’m over-reacting, and that these seemingly innocuous little punctuation marks are indeed controlling me.

I find them distracting. They force me to pause and emphasise the framed word in a particular way and with a very particular voice in my head that I heartily dislike. So that (and counting the marks) means my productivity is slowed right down: the total opposite of the book’s point.

So when and where should quotation marks be used?

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It’s just so ironic

Let’s start with a little sing-song. All together now…

“It’s like rain on your wedding day

It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid

It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take

And isn’t it ironic … don’t you think?”

Well, no actually I don’t. Bad luck – yes. Ironic – no. So when should you use the word ironic?

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Hello. I'm Elaine, I'm a copywriter and this is my blog.

It's mostly about words and writing - things that inspire me, entertain me, and make me smile. Sometimes it's about things that horrify me so much I want to scream and shout!

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