The Bus Needs a Copy Editor

Today’s lesson: scare quotes. From The Chicago Manual of Style:

7.58 “Scare quotes.” Quotation marks are often used to alert readers that a term is used in a nonstandard, ironic, or other special sense. Nicknamed “scare quotes,” they imply, “This is not my term” or “This is not how the term is usually applied.”

With that in mind, let’s interpret the following signage from the MBTA 87 (or possibly 88) bus, submitted by concerned rider Kaylan.

I personally think it’s meant to be ironic. As in: we dare you to drill here, just to find out what exactly we mean by “DO NOT DRILL HERE.” Don’t the scare quotes make it seem like the bus is mocking you?

If you like this sense of grammatical humor, here’s a blog suggested by two alert readers, guaranteed to amuse you this weekend:

The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks

The title says it all. Happy Friday!

PS. If you were secretly hoping that the title of this post meant that Jerome Bettis needed a copy editor… you’re not alone.



Filed under Everyone Needs a Copy Editor

3 responses to “The Bus Needs a Copy Editor

  1. Lianne

    “Do not drill here”
    The Electrical Cables

  2. I have no doubt that Jerome Bettis needs a copy editor! 🙂

    Maybe these are the “Do Not Drill Here” Electric Cables? As opposed to the “Drill Here” Electric Cables?

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