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 What is with "quote, unquote"?

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tmiles

  • Total Posts: 1908
  • Joined: 10/1/2004
  • Location: Millbury, MA
What is with "quote, unquote"? Sun, 06/10/12 4:15 PM (permalink)
I am seeing and hearing it all the time. I was no star English student, and I hated grammar, but I have made some nice extra pocket change over the years as a freelance writer. In general, my editors were good English students, and I have had to do more than a few re-writes, but that is another story..........
 
Why have editors let this "quote,unquote" stuff get by? I've seen it used in far better publications than those that publish my stuff........
 
I first remember the term in a President Kennedy speech. I must have been in middle school. He said ".....quote, bla bla bla, unquote". I wondered what he was doing, and my parents explained, and then my teacher at school brought it up the next day. (and why do I remember this????who knows). I have heard it used in speeches since, without much thought. In the last few years it has been used, incorrectly, in common speech......"It is like, you know, quote, unquote totally fat".
 
Now it am seeing it in print. No wonder English is so hard to learn.
<message edited by tmiles on Sun, 06/10/12 4:19 PM>
 
#1
    mbrookes

    • Total Posts: 1350
    • Joined: 10/8/2004
    • Location: Jackson, MS
    Re:What is with "quote, unquote"? Sun, 06/10/12 9:55 PM (permalink)
    It seems to be part of the dumbing down process. Use it incorrectly enough times and people will forget that it is incorrect. I'm seeing this particularly with the misuse of I/me and myself. It really bothers me, but I guess that is why I am sometimes called the grammar Nazi.
     
    #2
      FriedClamFanatic

      • Total Posts: 1491
      • Joined: 7/14/2008
      • Location: west chester, PA
      Re:What is with "quote, unquote"? Sun, 06/10/12 11:31 PM (permalink)
      The school teacher who calls here on the phone and invariably says, "It's Me!" She is, quote, "so Wrong!" unquote.
       
      #3
        Davydd

        • Total Posts: 6222
        • Joined: 4/24/2005
        • Location: Tonka Bay, MN
        Re:What is with "quote, unquote"? Mon, 06/11/12 9:22 AM (permalink)
        What I think you are seeing is a form of printed BBcode entering into the spoken language. If you quote and edit enough in message boards on your computer you start thinking of " " as quote /quote or spoken as quote unquote.
         
        #4
          seafarer john

          Re:What is with "quote, unquote"? Mon, 06/11/12 10:21 AM (permalink)
          I've never seen that particular annoyance in print - I've only seen it as wiggly fingers on each side of the head.
           
          Here's my pet peeve: "One of the only". As in, "It's one of the only places in town to get  a good hamburger."
          It's either the only place in town or its one of the few places in town... It cannot be "one of (several)" and "the only" at the same time. The two ideas are mutually exclusive  and cannot exist in  the same time and place.  Sadly, I see this locution in the New York Times ,  of all places.
           
          Cheers, John 
           
          #5
            SeamusD

            • Total Posts: 939
            • Joined: 4/1/2008
            • Location: Syracuse, NY
            Re:What is with "quote, unquote"? Mon, 06/11/12 11:49 AM (permalink)
            I usually hear it when someone is trying to not take ownership of something they're saying, or relaying something somebody else said. Like "it's a quote/unquote terrible restaurant". And they make the little gesture with their fingers.
             
            #6
              tmiles

              • Total Posts: 1908
              • Joined: 10/1/2004
              • Location: Millbury, MA
              Re:What is with "quote, unquote"? Mon, 06/11/12 7:36 PM (permalink)
              SeamusD


              I usually hear it when someone is trying to not take ownership of something they're saying, or relaying something somebody else said. Like "it's a quote/unquote terrible restaurant". And they make the little gesture with their fingers.

              But they should say, "It is quote, a terrible restaurant unquote" They can still make the little motion with the fingers. The companion can then say, "Who says it's a terrible restaurant?" One can then answer, "Roadfood.com, the best source of nationwide independent restaurant info."
               
              #7
                felix4067

                • Total Posts: 3289
                • Joined: 12/13/2003
                • Location: Near Grand Rapids, MI
                Re:What is with "quote, unquote"? Mon, 06/11/12 7:53 PM (permalink)
                mbrookes


                It seems to be part of the dumbing down process. Use it incorrectly enough times and people will forget that it is incorrect. 

                A perfect example is that the dictionary has now been changed to make lectern and podium synonyms. People always got it wrong, so apparently the powers that be gave up on educating and decided to just go with the ignorant masses.
                 
                As for the "quote/unquote" thing...I never really thought about it, but you're right. It's everywhere. And it should be "quote (whatever you want to say) unquote" rather than putting them both at the beginning.
                 
                #8
                  MikeS.

                  • Total Posts: 5357
                  • Joined: 7/1/2003
                  • Location: FarEasternPanhandle, WV
                  • Roadfood Insider
                  Re:What is with "quote, unquote"? Wed, 07/4/12 7:31 AM (permalink)
                  How about "toast" Seem like everything that is broken is now "toast"
                   
                  #9
                    Billfish

                    • Total Posts: 397
                    • Joined: 9/24/2003
                    • Location: Georgetown, DE
                    Re:What is with "quote, unquote"? Wed, 07/4/12 9:49 AM (permalink)
                      In the Baltimore area,the description for a machine that has broken/failed is it "went up".As in "I couldn't send you E-mail because my computer went up".Which is pretty strange because everywhere else in the English speaking world they would say the computer was "down".Maybe its a Heaven and Hell differentiation of some sort.
                     
                     
                    #10
                      wheregreggeats.com

                      Re:What is with "quote, unquote"? Wed, 07/4/12 11:26 AM (permalink)
                      Billfish


                        In the Baltimore area,the description for a machine that has broken/failed is it "went up".As in "I couldn't send you E-mail because my computer went up".Which is pretty strange because everywhere else in the English speaking world they would say the computer was "down".Maybe its a Heaven and Hell differentiation of some sort.


                      I'm guessing that's shorthand for going T*ts Up
                       
                      #11
                        wheregreggeats.com

                        Re:What is with "quote, unquote"? Wed, 07/4/12 11:30 AM (permalink)
                        Here's one that gets me ... usually in advertising ...

                        "NOBODY makes a better [whatever] !!!"

                        Of course, that translates into ...

                        "Our's is just as good as anybody else's ... certainly not better, because if it were, we'd certainly say so !!!"

                         
                        #12
                          lleechef

                          • Total Posts: 6200
                          • Joined: 3/22/2003
                          • Location: Gahanna, OH
                          Re:What is with "quote, unquote"? Wed, 07/4/12 11:48 AM (permalink)
                          The "quote unquote" and the finger gesture thing drives me crazy.  What drives me more crazy is the continual use of "you guys".  Be seated in a restaurant and the server always says, "How are you guys doing?"  We were watching Anne Burrell on the Food Network the other night and she said "you guys" over and over.  Enough already!  
                           
                          #13
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