Bethany Keeley

Bethany Keeley
The Book of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks

I can’t remember the last time I laughed this hard.

It takes a certain mentality to find humor in weirdo punctuation. I have just such a turn of mind. So, apparently, does Bethany Keeley, who assembled this collection of people’s misguided attempts to convey emphasis (or something more sinister) through the use of quotation marks.

The signs themselves, reproduced here in all their dubious glory, are funny enough, but Keeley’s acerb commentary sends me over the edge. You have got to see the page with the Home Depot duty roster.

Cheer yourself up with references like the following. (Sign verbiage given in italics, Keeley’s remarks in parentheses.)

Prohibited by “Law” (“Law” is the name of a vigilante who enforces drug trafficking)

“Elevator” Is Behind You (The “elevator” is an empty shaft that will plunge you to your death)

“Live” Lobsters (The lobsters have actually been prerecorded)

“We Care” (Sure you do)

Voted by the “Resident” as Midtown’s Best Pizza (“Resident” is another term for “owner of the restaurant”)

“No” Parking (Just kidding! Please park here, I insist.)

Food & Ale “Not Far” (You’re never getting to the food and ale. Never! Bwahahaha!)

Restaurants and menus are particularly fertile sources of such bloopers, but misused quote marks also abound in street signs, business names, event announcements, and cautionary notices. Some of these are lettered by hand, others printed and official looking, still others scrawled on chalkboards. All share a total misunderstanding of the actual function of quotation marks.

Lock Lids Please “Raccoons” on a photo of garbage cans adds a fillip of ambiguity by appearing to address the raccoons directly.

Or maybe it was written by them.

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