I’m confused. Is the game not really tonight?
Dear sign-maker, forgive me for being a grammar nerd here, but is the game tonight or not? When people use quote marks like this, there are a couple of possibilities:
- It’s a quote. Did someone actually say the word “tonight” and the sign-maker felt the need to attribute this quote on the sign? Perhaps we have an overzealous journalism student who is a stickler for always quoting his source, dammit.
- It’s an attempt to communicate some degree of uncertainty, as in, “The game is ‘tonight,’ which of course means we have no idea if it’s tonight or not.”
- It’s a display of sarcasm, as in, “Oh, riiiiight the game is ‘tonight’ … yeah (scoff), like that’s gonna happen.” (Note: This version, which is the most irritating, often is accompanied by “air quotes,” meaning that in 34 states you legally can punch them in the face.)
- The quote key got stuck. (Not very likely.)
- Those ain’t quote marks, they are the vicious claw marks made by the fightin’ Lake Travis Wildcats! Whoop! (Not likely, as the mascot actually is a Cavalier).
- Sign vandals with a spare role of No. 6 Jet-Black Vinyl and a portable high-pressure Viking vinyl steam-iron added the quote marks on a ridiculously wild dare from the English Department. (This scenario gets my vote. Those English Department people can get pret-ty nutty.)