Tom Pittman's WebLog

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2008 September 22 -- "Quotation"

I have recently noticed an increasing frequency of quotation marks in my communications. Quotes serve two distinct purposes.

Literally, according to English grammar, quotation marks around a body of text serves to notify the reader that this text is the exact words of some other person or some other occasion. Approximations to the other person's message are communicated by indirect quotations, indicated grammatically by the relative pronoun "that". Exact quotations are used in fiction to lend verisimilitude to the narrative, and in nonfiction to give credit to another author or speaker, and/or to argue precise meaning thus conveyed.

By extension, quotes are often used when a word or phrase should not be understood in the dictionary sense of its component words, but rather it represents a label for something else. Thus "spin" (quoted) is understood to be a euphemism for lying.

It is this second purpose I find myself using more often, most often the word "relationship", which in its dictionary sense has to do with connectivity, but when discussing people in American churchs usually is best understood as unconditional affirmation.

The purpose of today's post is to make this clarification, and to put y'all on notice. If I quote a word or phrase that might make sense without the quotes, it is almost surely because I mean it in a different sense than you might otherwise infer, and you need to examine the context and/or other postings for a clear understanding of what the label means.

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