4

In Italian I could write Ho visto "l'albergo" dove lavori. (I saw the "hotel" where you work.) In that sentence, I am not quoting what somebody said, but I am using albergo in an euphemistic way, probably because I don't want to really call with its name what I have seen.

Is it possible to do the same in English, or should I use something different? In the latter case, what should I write instead of I saw the "hotel" where you work?

  • kiam, I think the sentence is more euphemistic this way I saw the hotel where you "work", no? – user114 Jul 16 '13 at 18:52
  • 1
    In that case, the meaning would be different: It means the person doesn't do much for work, or avoids doing anything. – kiamlaluno Jul 16 '13 at 18:55
10

Yes, the punctuation as in I saw the "hotel" where you work. works in English as well as in Italian; according to wikipedia's Scare Quotes article,

Scare quotes are quotation marks placed around a word or phrase to imply that it may not signify its apparent meaning or that it is not necessarily the way the quoting person would express its concept. Thus, the quotes are used to establish a use–mention distinction, in a similar way as verbally prefixing a phrase with "so-called". When referred to as "scare quotes", the quotation marks are suggested to imply skepticism or disagreement with the quoted terminology.

(Emphases added.)

  • 3
    One thing I'll add: You can use scarce quotes, or you can use so-called, but you shouldn't use both in combination. In other words, you would not say: I saw the so-called "hotel" where you work. – J.R. Jul 16 '13 at 18:01
  • I learned something new: I didn't know what scare quotes would mean. I would have thought of quotes from horror movies. ;) – kiamlaluno Jul 23 '13 at 19:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.