Writing for Business - A Whatis.com Blog

Jun 24 2009   5:47PM GMT

When to use quotation marks



Posted by: Ivy Wigmore
Tags:
Business writing
CIO
quotation marks
typing Which is correct?
The focus group for the new product thought the marketing approach was ___________.
a. “old-fashioned”
b. old-fashioned

Answer: b

Explanation: Don’t use quotation marks to set words off unless the meaning is unclear and the word known only in certain contexts.

I was inspired to write today’s question by a document I came across online referring to “turmoil” in the financial markets. It’s often unclear why people chose to use quotation marks. I’m still not sure what they were trying to convey. In business writing, of course, clarity is especially important. The meaning of the sentence isn’t subverted here but the use of superfluous quotation marks doesn’t reflect well on the writer.

We all have a pretty good idea about what continuing turmoil in financial markets means. Otherwise, you might use quotation marks to express irony — for example, if you said “stability” of the financial markets.

David Davies’ AP style tip sheet offers more information about when — and when not — to use quotation marks.

I love The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks. (Note: I did not say that I “love” it — that’s because it would throw the whole affair into question.)

2  Comments on this Post

 
There was an error processing your information. Please try again later.
Thanks. We'll let you know when a new response is added.
Send me notifications when other members comment.

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
  • 000000000000000000000000000000
    Excellent post! In the fifth paragraph (if I'm counting correctly), I'm assuming you meant quotation marks instead of question marks.
    10 pointsBadges:
    report
  • Jaeo
    So glad you liked it! "Thanks" for catching my "error."
    0 pointsBadges:
    report

Forgot Password

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an e-mail containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: