Sunday, July 8, 2012

On Overusing Quotation Marks

Your words should carry "emphasis" as written. They should need any additional "help" from adding "quotes." Go through your writing and cut out "all" of them. Keep them only in rare instances where they add deliberate sarcasm or irony.

An example:

Daniel is a "wuss" because he can't say "no" to anyone.

Do the scare quotes help the reader? The only way to tell is to take them out and see the result:

Daniel is a wuss because he can't say no to anyone.

The verdict? The quotes serve no purpose, other than making the sentence look amateurish. Leave them out.

Bonus: Long time QWT readers should see yet another edit that improves this sentence further:

Daniel is a wuss. He can't say no to anyone.