Do you use quotation marks for idioms or emphasis.


Do you use quotation marks for idioms or emphasis. I have found out that even native English speakers say different opinions on it, so I do not know where I have to follow. What do you experts here think about it? Thank you so much as usual in advance.

edited Oct 07 '12 at 02:17 Hans Contributor

2 answers


Yes, you can enclose an idiom in quotation marks to identify it as special in some way, but there is certainly no need to do so if it will be easily understood by your audience without being singled out for special attention.


Quotation marks should not be used for emphasis – use italics, bold, or underline; but note that underlining affects readability. Upper case is not appropriate in running text.

link comment answered Oct 07 '12 at 07:34 Peter Guess Expert

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 07 '12 at 15:09 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

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