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    #1

    What does "Quote-on-Quote" mean?

    On BBC I heard an expert say "I think that the problem that Europe faces at the moment, and this has to be the basis for any quote-on-quote brand strategy, is what is Europe for?"
    What does the expression "quote-on-quote" mean?
    Thank you!

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    #2

    Re: What does "Quote-on-Quote" mean?



    I think you probably heard "quote-unquote". In this context it is a way for the speaker to indicate that the phrase following it ("brand strategy") should be considered to be in quotes by the listener:

    I think that the problem that Europe faces at the moment, and this has to be the basis for any "brand strategy", is what is Europe for?
    Sorry, it's quite a hard thing to explain and I've probably made a mess of it. I hope someone else can give you a simpler explanation.
    Last edited by Red5; 19-Aug-2006 at 14:49. Reason: Spelling

  2. #3

    Re: What does "Quote-on-Quote" mean?

    NinaC, as Red5 said, it is "quote unquote".

    I have heard it used in two different ways.
    1. When someone is quoting another person's words, or a saying -
    they may say something like this -
    John F. Kennedy said, quote Ask not what your country
    can do for you, but what you can do for your country.unquote


    2. But when the text that is to be included within quotes is
    a word or a small phrase (such as the one you heard on BBC),
    they may say "quote unquote brand strategy.
    The listener knows from the context that the term "brand strategy"
    is the one that is included within quotes.

    As I have observed, there are two reasons for using "quote unquote"
    in this type of situation.
    1. The person may be using someone else's words (that is they
    are not quoting the other person's entire sentence or paragraph,
    but rather the person speaking is reporting/borrowing words from
    someone else. For example, America is quote unquote winning the war on
    terror, but the terrorist incidents are on the rise all over the world.

    Here, someone such as Bush or some spokesperson may have
    used the words "winning the war on terror", but here the person
    is not using their entire sentence but only a part of it, and he/she
    is not even mentioning who actually uttered the words "winning the
    war on terror".

    2. When the speaker wants to emphasize something or
    say something sarcastically. Again, looking at the above example,
    some listeners may interpret the words "winning the war on terror"
    as being used sarcastically since in fact the terrorist incidents are on
    the rise.

    Sometimes during conversation, people use their two fingers of
    each hand to indicate "quote unquote" while they are uttering a
    word or phrase, by raising the index finger and the middle
    finger of each hand and bending and raising them again a couple of
    times. It is as if they are "drawing" quotation marks in the air.
    When they do this, they don't say the words "quote unquote" because
    this is done by the fingers.

    I hope I did not confuse you by the above descriptions,
    and I hope the advanced users of this forum will correct me
    if what I have written is incorrect.

  3. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
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    #4

    Re: What does "Quote-on-Quote" mean?

    Incidentally, many people regard this as very bad usage. Properly, the word "quote" should be used to indicate that you are quoting somebody's exact words, especially if the quote is remarkable or contentious in some way:

    The minister then said that his constituents were, quote: The stupidest cretins ever to walk this earth.

    You might use the word "unquote" to mark the end of a quote if this is not otherwise obvious:

    Professor Nutcase said that the planet Mars, quote, consists of a chocolate crust with a mantle of caramel and a core of nougat, unquote, but most other scientists disagree.

    It is true that in writing, instead of writing "quote" and "unquote", we write quotation marks, but in speech we often have to "spell out" the punctuation like this (in this case to make it clear that Professor Nutcase did not say: "Most other scientists disagree").

    This has led many people to use the phrase "quote unquote" to signify that something is in quotation marks for any reason at all -- and to say "quote unquote" together at the beginning of the phrase. Purists find this very annoying, and regard this as a lazy way of saying "so-called".

    As for "drawing" quotation marks in the air, many people also find that incredibly annoying.

    Incidentally, there is a radio panel game, in which panel members have to guess the origins of literary quotations, which is called Quote ... Unquote. It's off the air at the moment, but you'll find its official homepage by following this link.

  4. #5

    Re: What does "Quote-on-Quote" mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss View Post
    [...]

    This has led many people to use the phrase "quote unquote" to signify that something is in quotation marks for any reason at all -- and to say "quote unquote" together at the beginning of the phrase. Purists find this very annoying, and regard this as a lazy way of saying "so-called".

    As for "drawing" quotation marks in the air, many people also find that incredibly annoying.

    Incidentally, there is a radio panel game, in which panel members have to guess the origins of literary quotations, which is called Quote ... Unquote. It's off the air at the moment, but you'll find its official homepage by following this link.
    rewboss, thank you for the detailed information. I had not
    realized/thought that this is a lazy way of saying "so-called",
    but perhaps that is why I got the sense that it is a sarcastic way of saying something. (e.g. The panel of so-called experts had recommended that
    so-called solution.
    (which apparently/obviously has not worked)).
    I have not come across the use of "so-called" in
    everyday spoken English in the US - perhaps because as you
    said people use the fingers to do the talking.

    I am aware of the annoyance value of the quotation marks in the air
    and have seen them done in an exaggerated manner in sitcoms. But
    I am ashamed to admit that it is infectious and easy to pick up
    that habit (not from sitcoms but from interactions with people in
    daily life), especially prior to knowing that it annoys some people.

    Thank you very much for sharing the website. I love comedy and
    quotations, so it looks like I missed a lot since the show is not on at the
    moment and I don't see it in any archives. I hope the show starts
    again sometime.
    Last edited by englishstudent; 19-Aug-2006 at 19:13.

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