Thursday, October 14, 2010


(Please excuse the large page...I was unable to figure out on my scanner how to crop the image. Next time!)

Every year at the Christmas holiday season Mary used to make this incredible fudge. It was always creamy and delicious. Turns out it was her mother's recipe because when her mother died, she passed out yellow sheets with this recipe written on it for everyone in attendance. It must have been a family favorite, hence the quotation marks around Aunt Marion. Or at least that's the way that I read it.

Isn't it funny, in this day of emails, text-messaging, Facebook, and computers that quotation marks have to be explained? I had a discussion regarding quotation marks with someone almost a year ago and when I used them, it was viewed negatively. Things have changed in the grammar world or so it seems to me. It seems people take offense at things that were not intended to offend, just based on some words that were set off in a different way. With shortened words (e.g.: U R L8) people have changed what was previously not accepted.

I pulled out my "Writer's Reference" book that I used in college when I used to be a reader in the FACS department and it only has these headings when it refers to quotation mark:

  • Use quotation marks to enclose direct quotation.
  • Set off long quotation of prose or poetry by indenting.
  • Use single quotation marks to enclose a quotation with a quotation.
  • Use quotation marks around the titles of newspaper and magazine articles, poems, short stories, songs, episodes of television and radio programs, and chapters or subdivisions of books.
  • Quotation marks may be used to set off word used as words. An example of this is found in this sentence: The words "flaunt" and "flout" are frequently confused.
  • Use punctuation with quotation marks according to convention.
  • And finally: Avoid common misuses of quotation marks. 1. Do not use quotation marks to draw attention to familiar slang, to disown trite expressions, or to justify an attempt at humor. 2. Do not use quotation marks around indirect quotations. 3. Do not use quotation marks around the title of your own essay.
That's all it says about quotation marks. So, how do we figure out when the quotes around something are poking fun at or making a snide comment? I think that if they are used, as in this case, they were meant to make a statement (at least this is how I read it) that "Aunt Marion" wasn't every one's aunt, but she was loved and thought of in a loving way. This use of quotation marks is used fondly.

Perhaps we (and I am counting myself in this we) need to not be so critical in this day of rapidly moving information and technology. My friend Rene' and I often make comments to each other about things we have found unusual on Facebook that give us a giggle. It's hard not to notice some of the more obvious things, especially when words and grammar have been important to you growing up. Here are a few that we have recently seen that might give you a chuckle too.

"It's 43 degrees outside with a windshield factor or 30"

"I should of made potatoes instead of rice."

"Yesterday I visited my next store neighbor."

Words are great things, aren't they? I would imagine that if I were a foreign exchange student trying to learn our language, it would be a really difficult thing to accomplish. All those words such as to, too, two---their, they're, there---your, you're---blue, blew----how does one learn such differentiations between these words and how and when to use them? I think part of it is caring enough to learn the difference but the other part is reading and understanding the words. Looking the word up in a dictionary if you aren't sure about it. Not reading something into it that isn't there. And finally, just get a laugh out of it and move on. ------Or get an editor (and not Spell can't always count on Spell Check, that's for sure!) Bethany once wrote that Spell Check wanted to change "butch" to "bitch". I got the biggest kick out of that Bethany!


  1. lol. i love words and playing with them...particularly those with multiple can i have some fudge?

  2. My mother always made this same fudge recipe. Love the butch to bitch. heehe

  3. Most amusing. I find so many errors in newspapers and wonder if it's the journalist or the typesetter. My husband has trouble with spelling and relies so much on me to edit. I often wonder, too, if a person can't spell, how do they look a word up in the dictionary? :)

  4. Any one can see from reading my posts and comments that I really could give two hoots about grammar....I just find it wonderful that people are communicating and changing our world...regardless of it being "properly" written. And I meant those quotations as the insulting kind! ha! lol

  5. The fudge recipe looks wonderful. I will give "Aunt Marion's" recipe a try regardless of the fact that she is not "my" aunt.
    Watch out for the "grammar nazis". They are everywhere. Creative writing is different than a business report. What do you suppose the proper writers of the day thought of e.e. cummings when he started writing with very little punctuation. If he hadn't capitalized the "C" in Christ (I sing of Olaf) he probably would have been burned at the stake...and that would have been a "butch"...oops, I mean "bitch". You've got to love spell check.


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