Thursday, September 30, 2010

Quotation Marks: Visit a Zoo, Lose an "Arm"

I love how Twitter's grammar police fight punctuation crimes the world over. @theollymann tweeted about a sign he saw on the crocodile cage at the Miami Seaquarium.

Where does the Miami Seaquarium go wrong? These quotation marks add uncertainty where there should be none.

Quick rule:
  • Quotation marks signal ambiguity, causing the reader to believe that there is a hidden meaning. Those crocodiles aren't really "dangerous." Those "big teeth" look harmless enough. 
  • If you mean what you say, don't use quotation marks. Using misguided quotation marks will make you the brunt of jokes behind your back, and nobody wants that.

  • For your safety, please do not extend arms or legs into exhibit area

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