Scare Quotes Exercise (721)

In each sentence, determine whether quotation marks are required or recommended around a word or phrase for clarification.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: I heard it through the "grapevine" that there are going to be layoffs.
Correct : I heard it through the grapevine that there are going to be layoffs.

A well-known figurative slang term like "grapevine" needs no emphasis.

2.
Original: Some suggested the case could become a "digital Stonewall," a reference to the 1969 police raid on a Greenwich Village bar that hastened the gay rights movement.
Correct : Some suggested the case could become a "digital Stonewall," a reference to the 1969 police raid on a Greenwich Village bar that hastened the gay rights movement.

The quotation marks around the phrase "digital Stonewall" appropriately clarify that the phrase was a quotation by someone making an analogy.

3.
Original: The governor signed the "End of Life Option Act" into law on Monday.
Correct : The governor signed the End of Life Option Act into law on Monday.

No quotation marks are necessary for titles of laws.

4.
Original: She had a "beef" about the way she was treated.
Correct : She had a beef about the way she was treated.

The slang term for "complaint" doesn’t need to be enclosed in quotation marks.

5.
Original: They were awarded France’s highest honor, the "Legion d’Honneur."
Correct : They were awarded France’s highest honor, the Legion d’Honneur.

Names of awards do not merit quotation marks.

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