Air quotes for de facto in speech


One scholar used air quotes when saying "de facto" on TV, so I was wondering if air quotes can be used for emphasis or they are used only for sarcasm? And here is what he said,


The north Korea has "de facto" atomic bombs.


And the background is that although the north is not allowed to have atomic bombs and they also signed the agreement that they will not have them but as we know, they keep it and we already know it. So I think that the scholar used the air quotes but I think they are not necessary because the phrase, de facto already has the meaning implying the opposite so do you happen to use quotation marks or air quotes for the phrase and then when and why do you use them?


Thank you so much as usual and if you are not comfortable with this question, please ignore it.

edited Feb 18 '13 at 08:17 Hans Contributor

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