11 Points

11 Great Moments in Misused Quotation Marks
written by Sam Greenspan

When quotation marks are randomly inserted into the wrong place it's an extra special moment in the pantheon of punctuation errors -- because of the IMPLICATIONS. I've taken on apostrophe s pluralization before and while that's more egregious, random quotation markin' is far more delightful.

As you know (I assume), when someone misuses quotation marks, they inadvertently cast doubt on the validity of their message. So the quotation marks they were trying to use to add credibility to their message have the opposite effect -- with sexy results.

Here are 11 great examples of misused quotation marks, all of which send a perfectly incorrect message.
  1. "New" Underwear



    Buying underwear at what appears to be a yard sale is a dicey enough proposition to begin with. A sign that even remotely suggests the underwear is used should guarantee zero sales. Not even for 50 pence. I'd first give a shilling to a ne'er-do-well than buy these.

  2. The "Very Best" Transportation Security Officers



    Sometimes low hanging fruit is still delicious. By that metric, this is a knee-level ripe peach.

  3. "Security Guard"



    I had a friend who had a part-time job as a nightwatchman for a building. His basic summary of his job -- and all security jobs -- is that they're just there to provide the illusion of security. There's nothing they can actually do if something really goes down. So... in a way, all security guards are "security guards." (Although an old man asleep on the job aggressively drives that point home.)

  4. NFL "Quarterback'



    Sam Bradford was really the perfect NFL quarterback to get this quotation mark treatment. This clipping is the literal embodiment of his (and St. Louis's) greatest insecurity. (Also, they didn't even misuse quotes properly -- the close quote is an apostrophe.)

  5. Motor Vehicle Engineers "With Integrity"



    In trying to dispel the most damaging stereotype about mechanics, their misused quotes inadvertently reinforce it. (Also, this is going to be a strange statement -- but I was surprised there are mechanics in England. I'm not sure exactly how I thought their cars got repaired, but I just can't picture a British mechanic.)

  6. Professional "Massage"



    This place must get so many dudes who are super disappointed when their massage doesn't actually turn into a "massage."

  7. For a Special Daughter and "Son"



    This is one of those out-of-context photos you find on the Internet that beg for a back story. Why is son in quotes but daughter is not? What could the situation be in this family that warranted that difference? And how many people were scarred for life because of those quotation marks?

  8. Fishing, Surfing, Snorkeling -- "All Legal"



    So... you definitely wind up spear fishing for delicious dolphins here, right?

  9. "Free" If Cashier Dont Ask



    Walgreens tripled down on this sign, bringing together so many different abuses of grammar and punctuation in one sign. It's like The Avengers of bad English.

  10. We Have "Crabs"



    Never before have I been so sure a restaurant would give me an STD. Not even at Arby's.

  11. "Beer" Now Available



    Based on what people think of American beer, this one is almost too on-the-nose. This error should warm the hearts of so many people overseas it might one day become the official flag of the European Union.


This post was originally published on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Misc.

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