Quotes about the Use & Misuse of Quotation Marks

Welcome to my page of quotes about using and misusing quotation marks. Some abuse these most beautiful of punctuation marks, and that’s just a downright shame. Others are against directly quoting with them, and that’s just flat-out sad. Long live the artful mark, but let’s use it responsibly, shall we? —tg

“There’s a fine line between funny and annoying — and it’s exactly the width of a quotation mark. But it’s not the quotation mark that deserves our wrath. It’s our bad habits…” ~Martha Brockenbrough, “Do You Abuse Quotation Marks?,” 2009

“[S]ometimes… quotation marks are an absolute crime against humanity.” ~Richard Lederer & John Shore, Comma Sense: A Fun-damental Guide to Punctuation, 2005

“‘Quotation marks quotato marks! Bah!’ —James Joyce”  ~Nathan “N.R.” Gaddis, “What important people are saying about Richard Ellmann’s biography of James Joyce,” 2014  [In Gaddis’ review of the 1983 revision of Ellmann’s 1959 book. Joyce insisted on using dashes rather than quotation marks. –tg]

“Your participle’s danglin’
But I don’t want your drama
If you really wanna
Leave out that Oxford comma
Just keep in mind
That be, see, are, you
Are words, not letters…
And listen up when I tell you this
I hope you never use quotation marks for emphasis…”
“Weird Al” Yankovic, “Word Crimes,” Mandatory Fun, 2014  ♫

“The point of all this is that quotation marks stick like cockleburrs in the public mind, especially when they are attached to catchy words. So it is well to count 10 before using.” ~Marvin Creager, “You Can’t Count on Famous Words,” 1949

“I know the fashion of our time affects disdain of borrowing. But who is rich enough to refuse, or plead honorably for his exclusiveness? Somehow the printer happens to forget his quotation marks, and the credit of originality goes to the writer none the less.” ~A. Bronson Alcott, “Quotation,” Table-Talk, 1877