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I am becoming increaingly perturbed by the use of inverted commas in headlines...

10 replies

MrFibble · 02/12/2009 07:50

Why do they do this? I notice this particularly on the BBC website. The sections in inverted commas do not appear to be quotes and for some reason I find the use of inverted commas suggestive of doubt. Examples can be found at the link below:

BBC world news

Mind you, I doubt the story about the 'global surge' in Rhino poaching as it's non-existent here in Luxembourg and so I can guarentee it has not surged!

So, am I 'missing the point' or do I have a point?

OP posts:
MrFibble · 02/12/2009 07:51

Apologies for the typo in the title .

OP posts:
AllFallDown · 02/12/2009 14:37

It's lazy journalism, but it's too signify that the words inside quotes are not facts, but someone's view - ie it is not the voice of the publication saying there is a global surge, it is the opinion of someone else. Common across all written media, and I agree quotation marks should be reserved for actual quotations.

StealthPolarBear · 02/12/2009 14:39

it's a quote from the report, mentioned in the main story, that's how i interpret it. if not, then yes, misleading.

Iklboo · 02/12/2009 14:40

I did see something along the lines of 'alleged' assault. Which sort of cancelled out the point that the assault was alleged doesn't it? (I think)

StealthPolarBear · 02/12/2009 14:41

yes Ikloo, so they are suggesting that the assault was alleged. So does that mean it was stated as fact, maybe...

saw a menu recently talking about sandwiches made with 'real' what?

nickelbabe · 02/12/2009 14:47

yes, iklboo, you're right: alleged means it may or may not have happened "alleged" means they're pretty sure it happened but they can't say that yet.
it's a face in a headline.

unless they just don't know what alleged means.

Iklboo · 02/12/2009 14:55

That's what I thought. It implies that the assault isn't actually alleged in a 'we-know-something-you-don't-know-but-can't-tell-you-or-we'll-get-sued' kind of way

cattj · 03/12/2009 11:01

That's alright, a journalist the other day was interviewing someone who had been electrocuted.

Obviously it was someone who had only had an electric shock, otherwise the interview wouldn't have been possible.

MrFibble · 03/12/2009 11:24

A slight aside here; what's the difference between inverted commas and quotation marks? I am perplexed.

OP posts:
nickelbabe · 03/12/2009 11:49

inverted commas is another name for speechmarks (quotation marks)
they can be " or ' ("is usually when quoting a speech or writing speech down: He said "i'm going". and ' is usually used when you're just highlighting something (or implying something: he 'said' he was going [ie he didn't go even though he said he intended to]) ' is also used to mark a sepeech within a speech : He said "I'm going and she said 'I'm going too', but she didn't".)

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