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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Soon, All Words Will Be Quoted

A note on the building's door this morning:

'Dear FedEx person: Please leave packages for "2L" with "3G".'

Why have the put the apartment numbers in quotes? Are those not their real apartment numbers? Is it a code they have with the FedEx person? People have lost track of what quotation marks are for, and just stick them around random strings in what they write.

"Soon," "all" "words" "will" "be" "quoted." And someone will have to invent a punctuation character for when we are quoting someone else.

2 comments:

  1. I'm convinced that many people think quotation marks are emphasis marks (in the same sense that the underscores around _this phrase_ indicate emphasis).

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    Replies
    1. Yes, they do. I think they got that from Zagat reviews, where real quotes are extracted in such extremely brief form that they look like emphasis. ('This little Manhattan bistro has "great prices" in an "uber cool atmosphere," while adding in "innovative" dishes' -- in Zagat, those would all be real quotes, but now q. marks LOOK like a way to emphasize good stuff about your business, don't they?)

      But would you italicize the apartment numbers in a note to the FedEx guy? I can't see me doing that. He's not an idiot: he's not going to ignore the one really important part of the note if you don't emphasize it.

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