Idioms (hidden)


Do all idioms start with a capital letter and always put in quotation marks?

See example:

Do all idioms start with a capital letter and always in quotion marks?
asked Oct 09 '12 at 03:04 Laura Purkett New member

4 answers


No in a word.

Idioms can start witha capital letter if they are the opening part of a sentence.

They can have quotation marks if they are part of a quotation or quoted.

link comment answered Oct 09 '12 at 03:24 Rahul Gupta Expert

In other words, idioms are not given any special treatment. If you are being confused by something you've read, an idiom may also be placed in quotation marks if it is being made example of or being used in an unnatural way. Such as:


"Perhaps we should exert more effort on this enterprise," remarked the scientist, "maybe 'take it up a notch.'"

link comment edited Oct 09 '12 at 04:40 mysticete Contributor

A similar question appeared just 36 h0urs ago. Here is the answer I provided there:


Most American style guides discourage using quotation marks for idioms.


The Chicago Manual of Style, for instance, devotes several pages (between 7.47 and 7.76) to the issues of italics and quotation marks. To broadly summarize:


Italics should be used for emphasis, for unfamiliar and isolated foreign words and phrases, and for highlighting key terms.


Quotation marks should be used for quotations, for words and letter used as words ("run" is a verb), and for "scare quotes." Scare quotes are often used to alert readers that a term is used in a nonstandard (or slang), ironic, or other special sense. Chicago explains, "nicknamed scare quotes, they imply, 'This is not my term' or 'This is not how the term is usually applied.'" If overused, scare quotes lose their effectiveness.


Chicago also cautions that quotation marks should not be used for common idioms, expressions, or figures of speech.


I hope this helps.  

link comment answered Oct 09 '12 at 05:22 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

I agree. Idioms are part of mormal speech (and writing) and are not automatically put into quotes simply because of their idiomatic status. As Jeff points out, however, they often appear in so-called scare quotes when "alert[ing] readers that a term is used in a nonstandard . . . sense".

link comment answered Oct 09 '12 at 07:20 Peter Guess Expert

Your answer

Write at least 20 characters

Have a question about English grammar, style or vocabulary use? Ask now to get help from Grammarly experts for FREE.