Friday, February 17, 2012

Common Problems (Part 31 of 50)

Put words in quotes only if readers might otherwise misunderstand. If we want to emphasize a word, we use italics or boldface.

* Do you have a "giant" in your life that needs tackling right now?

* She will suffer through the "cold turkey" routine.

* He'll show them through this "chance" event.

* Eldred aims to come up with persuasive "arguments" when confronting difficult reasons.

* I had never felt that mysterious "knowledge."

If you use words in a special or different sense, for clarity you use quotation marks. Here is an example where you would use quotation marks for clarity: In filmmaking, movable "wild walls" make a room seem to have four walls.

If readers will understand the sentence, 
delete the quotation marks.


  1. This is a confusing topic, isn't it? When to use quotes, and when not to use them. Thanks for clarifying.

  2. Cec, in all of the examples in this post, the words appear in quotation marks. Would any of these take italics? Looking for clarification here.

    What about this phrase: Sometimes our best "ability" is "availability." Italics or quotation marks?



What are your thoughts?