Quote . . . Unquote

Is it just me, or is anyone else mystified by the fact that so many people say, “Quote, unquote” before they utter a quotation? I admit that I’m a grammar and punctuation nerd, but it seems to me that logically, it makes more sense to just say “quote” before uttering the relevant phrase, and then “unquote” afterwards – as you would if you were writing it down. Or if you’re really pushed for time, you could just say “quote”.

If you immediately say “unquote” after “quote”, your verbal quotation marks contain nothing. You end up with a quotation that consists of zilch, followed by a statement that may or may not be a quotation.

Maybe people do this because they’re worried about forgetting to close the quotation marks at the end of the quotation, so they think they might as well close them straight away, before they even begin the quotation, and get it over with. . . ?

What do you think?

Of course you could always do squiggly, rabbit ear “air quotes” with your fingers to indicate quotes. The advantages of this being that you can communicate with deaf people, while simultaneously looking hilariously sarcastic. 🙂