As I observed, there are 4 kinds of quotations with a quotation mark(maybe less, maybe more, I'm no professional)

  1. The old saying “If it seems to good to be true, it probably is” applies perfectly in this situation. (this is so well-put that I can't take credit for the saying)

  2. "When a big tree falls, the earth shakes" seems to be an insensitive remark. (I don't agree with what I quoted so don't blame me for it)

  3. According to BBC news, "30 people were killed or injured in the accident". (This is external data and I don't guarantee its accuracy)

  4. Maybe you will be so kind as to share some of your "wisdom" with us? (irony)

Or perhaps 2. and 3. are the same? I know 4. is probably called a scare quote, but do the other ones have names? If there's no existing name, how should I name them?(for the subtitles of a homework-level essay)

  • Can you clarify what the question is here? I don't follow what you're asking. Note: you might want to just browse over to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quotation_mark#Usage – relaxing Mar 3 '14 at 19:19
  • @relaxing as is pointed out in Jay's answer, I'm asking about the reasons for quoting, and I'm requesting some words(something like "supportive quotation" for quotations that I actually support, but more accurate and suitable) that would look good as subtitles in my homework... – arax Mar 4 '14 at 5:08

If I am understanding your question, you are asking if quotation 2 and 3 are of the same format or usage, and what their name is if they are grouped together.

To answer the first part of that question, the 2 are not the same. In your first example, the quote in question is what we call a "saying." The definition of a saying is:

Any concisely written or spoken linguistic expression that is especially memorable because of its meaning.

In the case of number 2, it is a simplified way of saying something else, so it is a saying. It is put in quotes, not because you are quoting someone, but because it is a quote (confusing, I know).

With number 3, you are quoting BBC News, and you use quotations because you are directly referencing what BBC News said. You are correct when saying it is external data, so you are not guaranteeing its accuracy, but merely stating what BBC News said. This is the most literal definition of a quote, and is not the same as number 2, which is a generally quoted, but unattributed quote (meaning nobody knows where it originated, but it is still a quote, or saying).

As for the last part of your question, "...do the others have names?" I am sure there are "official" names for each of these, but if you are giving them your own names so you can better understand them, the only correct way to name them is what makes sense to you. The only one I would change to avoid confusion is number 2. You might consider naming it something more along the lines of "this is a general saying, and I am using it in place of a more literal definition." People use sayings when they want to convey a message, but they use a general saying like the one in your example so that it can apply to many different situations.

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    I think I understand these different kinds better now thanks to your comment, but it's still hard for me to come up with the right name xD – arax Mar 4 '14 at 5:14
  • English is a very confusing language for a non-native speaker. Just keep working at it, and I would recommend using the Google "synonym" command to help even more. Whenever you are unsure of a word, go to Google and type "synonym [word]," and replace [word] with whatever word you want to find synonyms for. This will help you in multiple ways, one of which is finding a word that means the same thing as the word you want to use, but might be better suited for your current situation. It will also help you build your vocabulary! – redjax Mar 4 '14 at 16:00

Numbers 1,2, and 3 are all repeating words that someone else has said. This is what we normally think of when we call something "a quote".

In once sense, these are all the same kind of quote. All are repeating someone else's words or ideas, and using the quote marks to make clear that that is what you are doing, and that you are not claiming that you originated these statements.

When you break that out into three types, you are moving to a different level. Now you are talking not about what it IS -- a quote -- but about WHY you quoted it. I think there are a lot more than three reasons why you might use a quote rather than giving your own words. There are the three reasons you mentioned. There's also, "I am trying to prove that this historical person had such-and-such ideas for scholarly reasons." "I am quoting this highly-respected authority because his words carry more weight than mine." "I wanted to use a poem or flowery speech but it seemed inappropriate to deviate from the otherwise scholarly tone of this article in such a way, but I think I can get away with it if it's a quote." "The teacher told me to write a paper that includes at least three quotes from famous people so here's one." Etc, probably many more.

Number 4 is using quotes to show irony, as you say.

We also sometimes use quotes around foreign words.

We use quotes around words being used as words, rather than their meaning. Like, "There's one word I really hate. That word is 'ugly'." Without the quotes around "ugly", we might think you are describing the word, rather than telling us what it is.

We use quotes when inventing a new word, or using a word with a non-literal or non-conventional meaning.

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  • thanks for the complement on more reasons for using quotation! But in my homework I might probably just analyze the ones I listed, so could you help me give each one a name? It doesn't have to be official or really formal! – arax Mar 4 '14 at 5:12

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