Saturday, February 03, 2007

Show 275 Friday 2 February

Watch today’s show at YouTube or BlipTV.

Hi, I’m Sarah. Welcome to The Daily English Show.

Today’s topic is: inverted commas. Also called quotation marks, or speech marks.

Inverted commas come in doubles and singles. Either one’s fine, but apparentely, in the United States doubles are preferred and singles are preferred in the United Kingdom.
If you writing an essay just follow whatever that institution’s style is.
And if you’re not following any particular style –just choose one way and just stick with that.

I often see inverted commas used incorrectly in Japan. It’s one of those things that irritates me actually. I guess everyone has their own language pet peeve and maybe this is one of mine.

Lots of people use inverted commas for emphasis. For example on a sign outside a café:

Our coffee is “delicious”.

This is wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Please don’t do it. Stop killing me!

If you want to emphasize a word you can use italics or bold or CAPITALS or underline – depending on what style you’re writing in. But never use inverted commas.

Apparently native English speakers also make this mistake because I just came across a site called:
The gallery of Misused quotation marks.

So, how can you use inverted commas correctly?

They are used for direct quotes.
If they are the exact words somebody said.
Tom said, “This is just ridiculous,” and then got up and left.

If you paraphrase, don’t use inverted commas:
Tom said it was ridiculous and then he got up and left.

Another way inverted commas are used is to show that the word is being in a different way than its usual meaning. Or to show irony – that you actually mean the opposite of the word.

For example:

There are lots of videos on YouTube with people complaining about “haters”.

I would put the word hater in inverted commas because I know what people mean when they use it – but I just happen to think that labeling people “haters” is ... ah problematic.

She can’t come to work today because she’s “sick”.

In this case – maybe she said she was sick, but I know or I think that she’s lying.

And going back to the coffee example. If you say that: our coffee is “delicious”. Then you actually mean that it’s not delicious.


Kia ora, in Stick News today, out of all the international visitors to Australia, New Zealanders are the biggest trouble makers. In 2005 almost half of the people kicked out of Australia were Kiwis.

If you go to another country and break the law – they can make you leave.
This is called being deported.
Australia deported 84 people in 2005. Almost half of them were Kiwis.
New Zealanders seem to be habitual trouble makers in Australia. In 2004, 23 people out of 66 people deported were from New Zealand and in 2003, 54 out of 97 were Kiwis.
Coming in at number two were the British. And other naughty nationalities were Malaysians, Vietnamese and Chinese.

And that was Stick News for Friday the 2nd of February.
Kia Ora.

the snow report

This is the view from the mountain. Isn’t it beautiful? And this is the moon.

conversations with sarah
#167 Did he come here to fly balloons?

Step 1: Repeat Mike’s lines.
Step 2: Read Mike’s lines and talk to Sarah.

Sarah I met a balloonist last night.

Mike A what?

Sarah A balloonist – someone who flies in a hot-air balloon.

Mike Where did you meet them?

Sarah At a bar in Hirafu. He was from Australia.

Mike Did he come here to fly balloons?

Sarah No. He came here to ski.

Have you ever flown in a balloon?

Mike No. Have you?

Sarah No.