Scare quotes  

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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli
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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli

Scare quotes is a general term for quotation marks used for purposes other than to identify a direct quotation. For example, authors might use quotation marks to highlight special terminology, to distance the writer from the material being reported, to indicate that it is someone else's terminology, or to bring attention to a word or phrase as questionable or at least atypical in some way.

Scare quotes are often intended to provoke a negative association for the word or phrase enclosed in the quotes, or at least a suspicion about the appropriateness or full truth that might be presumed if the quotes were omitted. When communicating face-to-face, an approximation of scare quotes is a hand gesture known as air quotes or finger quotes, which mimics the appearance of quotation marks.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Scare quotes" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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