Thursday, December 21, 2006

Quote unquote 

One grammatical no-no that makes me see red in a highly irrational way is the use of quotes for emphasis.

I saw a sign this morning that was advertising passport photos and other assorted photographic services. Every line, however, was wrapped in double quotes, e.g.

"Passport photos"

Why? Quotes are supposed to indicate when someone is speaking or to imply irony. Clearly no-one is speaking and where's the irony? Is the phrase "passport photos" a euphemism? Should I be reading it with a mental voice and a wink?

What could "passport photos" mean?

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