The ‘curse’ of single ‘quotes’

There is a new meme that has grown to be almost an epidemic in papers and on-line writing, and it’s starting to really get on my nerves. It is, to be fair, a really useful shortcut to allowing communication brevity, but it is also an appallingly lazy way of avoiding thinking hard enough to make your own judgement, by importing someone elses … and somehow aiming to get credit if it sounds sage or is proven correct, but avoiding anything sticking to you if it isn’t true.  It is of course the ‘single quote’.  And, lest you think I exaggerate, 1/4 of all headlines from the BBC news front page tonight succumb :-

Hostages’ bodies ‘found in Yemen’

Tombstoning victim ‘loved life’

‘Flushed puppy’ survives ordeal

IVF couple: Embryo ‘was our baby’

‘Susan Boyle’s fine’ says Morgan

Mexico drug gang ‘boss’ arrested

Israeli PM ‘ruins’ peace chance

Flu risk ‘still low’ after death

Herschel telescope ‘opens eyes’

Boyle ‘will sing’ at Glasgow show

Of course it’s not really a curse – but I put it in quotes, so I only meant it if you think it sounds good – if you don’t, then clearly the single quotes meant that I was being ironic.

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