From Broomcorn to Supplemental Punctuation Marks
That took him to the appropriate site, and, since he was already in the neighborhood, he indulged himself with a casual perusal of Fabiola’s recent blog entries, one of which featured a link to The Blog of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks.
That site turned out to a collection of signs, notices, billboards, ads, flyers, and such, each characterized by an excess of quotation marks, administered without a discernible coherent algorithm. DrHGuy does not recall, for example, any of the multitude of rules taught him by Mrs. Greer in fifth grade English that would result in the quotation marks that appear in the specimen on the right (taken from The Blog of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks), especially those surrounding the “A;” his best guess is that the writer has a uniquely powerful, and perhaps pathological, affection for the indefinite article.
Indeed, the placement of the quotation marks in all the samples seemed motivated primarily by whimsy although one cannot rule out a purely random distribution – or acts of terrorism designed to disrupt this country’s grammatical infrastructure. And, there does exist some possibility that, not to put too fine a point on it, commonplace stupidity might play a role in this phenomenon.
The Blog of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks is, in short, an asylum for documents suffering from Punctuational Tourette’s, Quotes Subtype.
And Home Again
The notion of unnecessary quotation marks triggered a recollection of DrHGuy’s own post from the past, Misquotation Marks & Quasi-Quotation Punctuation, which did not address the superfluity of quotation marks or the cavalier manner in which they were strewn about but focused on the potential advantages readers and writers would gain if certain subcategories of quotation marks were added to the current one size fits all generic model.
That post proposed a few such specialty punctuation tools. If, for example, a writer could not verify the exact wording of a quotation and conscientiously wished to alert his or her readers to this uncertainty, DrHGuy suggested Questation Marks might be appropriate:
Other varieties of quotation marks introduced in that post included Quoproximation Signs, Quoquivalence Symbols, Quodaptation Marks, Misattribution Marks, Semi-Morons, and No-Fault Signs (AKA Plagiarism Protection Points, Kaavya Kommaz, Frey Fabrication Factors).
And now, the Heck of a Guy Blog offers …
Three New Specialty Quotation Marks
As DrHGuy processed this concatenation of posts, he came to realize that, based on some some recent reading material, three more types of quotations deserved specialized punctuation. Click on examples for best viewing.
1. Self-quotations are not unusual1 and are surely qualitatively different from quotations attributed to others. So, why not signal such quotes by bracketing them between these Self-quotation Mirror Marks?
Out Of Context Quotations
2. Context Shifts, quotations taken out of their original context and presented in a misleading manner, are also frequent occurrences, especially during election years. Because they are typically disguised, many go unnoticed. In response, DrHGuy recommends legislative action to create a statute mandating the use of Contextual Confusion Confessionals.
Quotations Bought And Sold
3. Incentivized Quotations are not, DrHGuy believes, necessarily evil – as long as the motivation for such statements is made clear to the reader. It turns out, however, that, much to DrHGuy’s amazement, such disclosures prove not to be universal. DrHGuy can imagine no reason for this failure to alert the reader to such possible bias other than the lack of a methodology to accomplish this task.
- The use of self-quotation in scientific papers and musical compositions, in fact, is an ongoing issue of debate [↩]