sign for incorrect description

cfu507

Senior Member
Hebrew
Hi everyone,
In Hebrew, we use inverted commas (quotes) not only for citations and direct speech, but also when we write something we don't really mean it. For example, You're such a "sweet" means that you are not sweet at all. Is it valid in English? Do you have any sign for incorrect descriptions?


Thank you in advance
 
  • nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    Hi everyone,




    In Hebrew, we use inverted commas not only for citations and direct speech, but also when we write something we don't really mean it. For example, You're such a "sweet" means that you are not sweet at all. Is it valid in English? Do you have any sign for incorrect descriptions?


    Thanking you in advance
    I think that works in AE, but please make sure that you have enough context for the effect when you use it:)

    --You forgot the day we met and our wedding date. You didn't even remember my birthday. You are such a "sweet" husband.

    Welcome to the forum!
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Hi everyone,

    In Hebrew, we use inverted commas (quotes) not only for citations and direct speech, but also when we write something we don't really mean it. For example, You're such a "sweet" means that you are not sweet at all. Is it valid in English? Do you have any sign for incorrect descriptions?



    Thank you in advance
    Hi CFU507. As Nichec says, this form of irony is used quite commonly. In fact, I saw it used today in my local newspaper. A member of the community wrote a letter to the editor in response to a journalist's article in last week's paper. The letter-writer took umbrage with much of the journalist's opinions and referred to the journalist in his letter as a "journalist" implying, therefore, that the journalist was anything but.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    Thanks to both of you
    In American English, this particular use of quotation marks has a specific name: scare quotes. See, for example, the entry "scare quote" in the online version of the American Heritage Dictionary.

    Very often, when a speaker uses air quotes--gesturing with two fingers on each hand to represent double quotation marks, " "--he is using the air quotes as scare quotes.
     

    nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    Actually I was just thinking about the movie "Austin Powers", the way Austin would always use his hands to mimic the sign of "quote":D So maybe that exists in BE too?:D
     
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