Quotation mark to signal unusual usage of a word


When you use the quotation mark to signal unusual usage of a word, do you use the mark only the first time, or throughout an entire essay?

Edit: for example, I am using a noun in a different way than it is conventionally used to convey a meaning I find necessary for the essay. It is not a proper noun.
edited Nov 28 '13 at 01:01 Dillon New member

2 answers


That's an interesting question, Dillon! Could you provide more context? I'm not sure why you would want to use such a word repeatedly in an essay unless it is a name or part of a direct quote. If it is a name (proper noun), it should be capitalized. Formal writing doesn't use slang or quote the same person repeatedly.

link answered Nov 27 '13 at 10:26 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

I made more explanations above

DillonNov 28 '13 at 01:01

Your additional explanation doesn't add any context, so I still don't know, Dillon. Formal writing generally sticks with conventional. You might follow Jeff's advice from CMoS, use scare quotes to signal an ironic or purposefully incorrect (unconventional), and use it sparingly.

Patty TNov 28 '13 at 06:09

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The Chicago Manual of Style discourages the use -- or the overuse -- of "scare quotes" -- that's what they are called.


Scare quotes should only be used to signal an ironic or purposefully incorrect use of a word. (You should use italics to signal the use of uncommon words borrowed from other languages.)


Patty makes a good point ... and CMoS implies the same. Why would you repeatedly use a word ironically or incorrectly? Once has power ... but overuse causes the effect to be dilluted.


I hope this helps.

link comment answered Nov 27 '13 at 17:13 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

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