Ah, the quotation mark. It takes many forms…in the air, overused, underused, absent, and just plain wrong. Some use it for “emphasis.” (Hint: don’t.) Some put quotation marks common phrases in signs or marketing collateral. The short answer on all this is, of course, that quotation marks are marks for notating quotations. Not for emphasis. We might use them to set off a phrase someone said or their misuse of a phrase (such as a liar’s version of the “truth,” for example). But otherwise, they only work for quotes.
But within that, how are they treated? In American English, double quotations go around an actual quote. Punctuation (periods, commas, dashes, etc) go inside. It’s different in British English, but that’s beyond the point. When in doubt, consult this APA table.
There is an argument for logical punctuation, but as an old English major having two major publication styles chiseled into my head, this sort of thing makes my skin crawl.
Mad Men has wrapped up, and with the closing of this beautifully executed AMC series, we say goodbye to the wave of nostalgia that has gripped the cable networks for most of recent memory. However, just as Don left on a commercial note–Coke, in this case–the fast food chains have filled the vacuum with characters from their golden days. Colonel Sanders and the Hamburglar are back at KFC and McDonald’s.
I don’t know the rational behind it, and Darrell Hammond isn’t exactly a clone of the Colonel, but it’s schtick that should at least turn some heads. I remember Chicken Littles from the Colonel Sanders era of KFC. I remember playing on the McDonald’s playground where the plastic Hamburglar lurked over in the corner.
One company’s dealings with nostalgia did not go as planned. Last year, Hardee’s quietly did away with the Cinnamon Raisin Biscuit. Those had been around ever since I was a child, and I have fond memories of getting ready for school early enough so that my dad would take me to Hardee’s on our way and we would share an order of those. It didn’t happen often, but it was fun. Many have similar memories, and when those biscuits were replaced by an inferior Cinnamon Pull Apart, all hell broke loose. Even the clerks at the register admitted the company made a mistake. At last check, Hardee’s had put things back to normal and acted like the ill-advised move never happened.
The lesson here? Nostalgia is a tricky thing. Mad Men seemed to have run its course, as had the viewing audience’s appetite for a midcentury modern drama. However, where food is concerned, appeals to the past are timeless. Now, go get yourself some home cooking at a restaurant nearby….”just like Mom used to make.”