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Word Use As Social Copying

People commonly use words without knowing their meanings. Instead of learning what a word means, people observe others and learn what situations the other people use that word in. People commonly use words by social copying instead of by understanding their meaning.

This is a very bad method. It's one of the reasons people write incoherent stuff so often.

They do the same thing with quotation marks. They don't know what quotation marks mean, and they copy other people misusing them.

I've observed frequent misuse of quotation marks, by many people, in a variety of contexts. I've been trying to figure out what's going on. Sometimes the quotation marks seem to be italics, and other times they seem to mean "add the text 'so called' before this word or phrase". They're used in many other incorrect ways, too.

I've tried asking people about their grammar usage, but they're unable to give coherent answers.

Elliot Temple on October 3, 2017


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