Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Don't" read this post

A while ago I wrote about the blog that featured Chinglish signs, and the other day my daughter pointed me towards a similar blog that features unnecessary quotation marks. You'd hardly think it was possible to write a blog on such a subject, but there are heaps of examples around, and the blog presents photograph after photograph of mangled English grammar. (The one at the right is a fairly mild example where the word pull in quotation marks gives the impression that the writer means you to do something different to pulling the door.)

Quotation marks in an ordinary sentence ought to mean you're quoting someone else's words. But in these examples people use quotation marks to emphasize words, and in the process make the words seem to mean something else. It's like when you do quotation marks in the air as a gesture indicating there's a sense of irony, or because you don't really believe what you're quoting.

I'm sure the writers of these signs don't mean to be quite so elliptical, but of course that's how they come across. And entertain us in the process!
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