Unraveling the Meaning of ‘Quote on Quote’

If you’ve ever been confused about the phrase “quote unquote“, you’re not alone. It’s a common source of misunderstanding in English language conversations and writing.

Understanding “Quote Unquote”

The phrase “quote unquote” is used when you are quoting a word or phrase directly from another source. It’s usually used to highlight a term or phrase that the speaker does not necessarily agree with, or to emphasize certain text. When you want to indicate a quotation, you would say “quote unquote [the word or phrase]“.

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“Quote Unquote” Usage

  • As an Adjective: When used as an adjective, the term acts as an emphasis on the following word or phrase, implying irony or skepticism. For instance, you might say, “Perhaps you should ask your quote unquote friend about what happened.”
  • As an Adverb: As an adverb, the term is used to delimit a quotation in a similar manner to quotation marks, to indicate a word-for-word quote. Suppose you want to quote the philosopher Adam Smith verbatim, you could say, “Adam Smith claimed that a capitalist is, quote, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention, unquote.”

Common Misunderstanding

The phrase “quote on quote” is usually a result of mishearing or mispronunciation of “quote unquote.” The correct phrase is “quote unquote“, not “quote on quote.”

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Correct Usage in Conversation

In spoken language, verbally tag the start and end of a quotation by saying “quote” before the quotation and “unquote” after the quotation. It’s crucial to identify a quoted material’s start and end; without cues, listeners wouldn’t understand where the quote starts and ends.

Non-literal Application

At times, you might encounter situations where there’s a need to stress an irony or disbelief concerning a statement or phrase. For example, quote-unquote friends could refer to people who are supposed to be your friends but don’t act accordingly. In such a case, it’s acceptable to use “quote-unquote” before the word.

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Understanding the phrase “quote unquote” is essential to navigate English conversations effectively. It serves as an effective verbal indication of quoted phrases during speech and conveys a speaker’s level of agreement or degree of emphasis on a particular statement or term. It’s crucial to remember its correct application, as using it incorrectly, like “quote on quote,” can lead to miscommunication and confusion. By mastering “quote unquote,” you significantly enhance your conversational and expressional scope in the English language.

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