Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. sky3120's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea

    • Join Date: Jan 2012
    • Posts: 428
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #1

    Usage of air quotes

    They said, "It is wrong".

    Can I also use air quotes for this sentence, especially "It is wrong"? Or air quotes are used only for sarcasm? Thank you so much as usual and have a good and safe day.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • New Zealand
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Nov 2010
    • Posts: 1,790
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #2

    Re: Usage of air quotes

    The normal way of showing that you are repeating exactly what they said, is to say "quote-unquote" before or after.
    "When I asked them for an opinion they said, quote-unquote, 'It is wrong'", or "…they said, 'It is wrong', quote-unquote".
    If you made air quotes instead, I would be a little unsure what your attitude was, to the quoted phrase. I might assume that either you or they were saying "wrong" with a skeptical tone.

    not a teacher
    Last edited by JMurray; 04-Jan-2013 at 05:29.

  2. probus's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Jan 2011
    • Posts: 2,341
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    Re: Usage of air quotes

    In my experience air quotes are used only to convey irony, sarcasm or derision.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 16,068
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #4

    Re: Usage of air quotes

    Quote Originally Posted by JMurray View Post
    The normal way of showing that you are repeating exactly what they said, is to say "quote-unquote" before or after.
    It's more usual to say 'quote' before and 'unquote' after.

    'He's so rude—he told me to [slight pause] quote "Bugger off" unquote.'

    Rover

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • New Zealand
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Nov 2010
    • Posts: 1,790
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #5

    Re: Usage of air quotes

    It's more usual to say 'quote' before and 'unquote' after.

    I most often hear it the way I've described it. Perhaps it's a regional thing, although COCA has 60 examples of the two words grouped together, mostly before the phrase in question, although nobody seems to bother with a hyphen.

    not a teacher

  3. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,167
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #6

    Re: Usage of air quotes

    Quote Originally Posted by JMurray View Post
    I most often hear it the way I've described it.
    So do I.


  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 24,998
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #7

    Re: Usage of air quotes

    I've never heard/used "quote" before the words and then "unquote" after them. I would normally say "quote unquote" before the quoted phrase, but occasionally after the phrase.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 44,225
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #8

    Re: Usage of air quotes

    Or They said, and I quote,....

Similar Threads

  1. [Vocabulary] the difference between on the air and in the air
    By guoqianchen in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 06-Mar-2011, 00:46
  2. [General] To air these predicaments, "air"?
    By japanjapan in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 19-May-2009, 10:34
  3. air-conditioning or air-conditioned
    By emily wong in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-Jul-2006, 18:05
  4. Quotes for a Name
    By BreezyGal in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 28-Feb-2006, 21:03
  5. usage of quotes
    By klgressieux in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-Feb-2006, 00:41

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •