I hate "quotes"

Duane Campbell dcamp911 at JUNO.COM
Sat Apr 27 01:21:08 UTC 2002

Theodore Bernstein writes, "To the do-it-yourself sign painter and poster
letterer, quotation marks are a fascinating and irresistible mystery.
There is no accounting for the way these artists reach for quotation
marks at the slightest, even at no, provocation..."

Personally I have always taken the lavish and unsupported use of
quotation marks to be the sign of an artless writer. Semi-literate
letters to the editor are full of them, often for no reason I can
discern. I can let that pass.

Lately, though, I have seen incontinent quotes by writers who should know
better. A few months ago I had ... let's call it a dialog with a full
professor of journalism who also writes a newspaper column that appears
locally. He told me that he uses quotes for emphasis.  (He also regularly
begins sentences with a conjunction followed by a comma.)
My question: Have the "rules" [quotes used to indicate irony] for
quotation markes changed? Or is their lavish use still considered the
mark of an unlettered writer?

Am I getting old? And (no comma) turning into one of "those" people?


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