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speech

Elocution is an art, locution a style

If you have ever tried acting or serious public speaking, you may well have thought about your elocution – but how about your locution?

locution: [noun] style of spoken language, a phrase or idiom
A linguist can easily tell people apart by their locution. 

elocution: [noun] how speech is delivered, the art of delivery speech
The actress changed characters predominantly by changing her elocution. 

To tell them apart remember that elocution is how you orally express your thoughts.

Quotation marks for speech

Do you remember learning about talking marks at school? I remember thinking of them as commas up in the sky:)

Over time, I learnt they are called quotation marks and that there are a few simple rules associated with their use. One of the rules about quotation marks is that you don’t close them until the person finishes speaking.

It isn’t often I come across examples of this in business writing – it’s generally more relevant for fiction or story writing. However, I did come across a media release recently which completely ignored this rule (and a few others but that’s a different story altogether!)

How do we use this rule? I’m glad you asked!

John said ‘It is hot today.’

John has finished speaking so we close off the quotation marks – easy.

John said ‘It is hot today and I would like to go the pool for a swim. The pool is just around the corner.

‘I wonder if Mary and Susan would like to come too? I will call them before I leave.’

In this example, John’s speech is divided into two paragraphs but he hadn’t finished speaking so I didn’t close the quotation marks. For clarity, however, I opened them again to show he is still talking (and I hadn’t just forgotten to close them!)

However, if John’s talking was interupted  by text, we would close the quotation marks:

 ‘It is hot today and I would like to go the pool for a swim. The pool is just around the corner,’ said John.

‘I wonder if Mary and Susan would like to come too? I will call them before I leave.’

Quotation marks

Have you ever noticed how many unnecessary quotation marks are used?

I once wrote the following as a guest blogger:

Quotation marks seem to be fashionable at the moment, which is a shame as they are being used so badly! “Recommended by doctors and mothers” makes me feel like they are telling me a lie – if it is a genuine statement, why does it need to be in quotation marks?

Quotation marks are correctly used to: 

– indicate you are quoting someone

– indicate speech (e.g. He said “How are you?”)

 – present a title of something

– show the text lacks credibility or truth, or at least is not verifiable (e.g. The media release stated the product was “superior”)

If you are tempted to use quotation marks for emphasis, try bold, italics, underline, colour, indenting or size of font instead – it will stand out more and not send any incorrect messages!

So I was rather amused when I came across a blog dedicated to silly use of quotation marks. I hope you enjoy seeing these grammatical blunders, as well as getting tips for your own writing!