In this sentence, which part is quoted?

It's no accident that the quote unquote golden period of Latin literature ends during this time.

It is from a TV documentary.

  • 1
    If the documentary is about Latin literature, it's probably 'golden period'. The speaker could also have said the so-called 'golden period'. Feb 5, 2022 at 8:51
  • My earlier comment deleted in the light of the following from the Collins Dictionary. You can say quote before and unquote after a word or phrase, or quote, unquote before or after it,..... collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/…. So I go with A C. Feb 5, 2022 at 9:00

2 Answers 2


It's not entirely clear. Like "so-called," this [informal] usage of "quote unquote" generally refers to the object or idea immediately following it. In this particular case, however, it could be read as either "golden period" or "golden period of Latin literature." The former would mean that "the age of Latin literature known as 'the golden period' ended during this time," while the latter would mean that "the age known as 'the golden period of Latin literature' ended during this time." It may be possible to discern based on the context.


The simplest way to read this is the "golden" period of Latin literature.

The phrase "quote-unquote" is inserted to indicate that the writer has doubts or denies the objective truth of the word or phrase that follows (or precedes) it.

But there is no doubt that Latin literature exists, nor that there are periods of time when it was being written. The only part that seems questionable is the assertion that a particular period was "golden" (ie better than all the others). I'd expect the author to explain why they don't think that the adjective "golden" should be used — either the other periods were just as good, or the "golden" period was not as good as the adjective suggests.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .