Quotation marks, when not surrounding titles or spoken words, are used to express irony - for instance: I'd like to know what is really in those "cheese" burgers.
Quotation marks around a product or service make it sound questionable. My assumption upon reading this sign is that the burgers are made with some sort of cheese byproduct or imitation which they are ironically trying to market as the real thing. The same goes for the subs that are "Made "fresh" in-store!"
In some cases, quotations marks just look ridiculous, and trying to explain why would just be futile:
|Source: Tastes Funny|
"NO" alcohol. Naturally, one should assume that if an entire word is written in CAPS, it is meant to be emphasized. Adding quotations on top of an already emphasized word is redundant and sloppy (not to mention WRONG!).
Some of these signs become open to various interpretations as a result of quotation marks:
|Source: Write Market Design|
Ring bell for "meat service." Naturally, my mind jumped to the dirtiest conclusion one could make, which I'm assuming was not the sign-maker's intent. Additionally, I don't even know why the deli has to include the word "meat" in that phrase. "Ring bell for service" sounds fine enough. "Ring bell for meat service" makes me wonder: what in God's name is meat service? Do they mean that someone will help me pick out a meat? Is someone going to service the meat I pick out?
But I digress...The point here is to poke fun of the incorrect use of quotation marks, not the phrasing of the signs:
|Source: Al Filreis|
Another example: Professional "massage." Again, leaving those of us whose minds are apt to fall into the gutter to come up with our own dirty interpretations of what a "massage" is going to entail.
How about Employees must "wash hands"? To me, that would imply that employees can either wash their hands the right way (you know, soap, water, etc.), or do some sort of variation - such as turn the faucet on, stick their hand under just enough to pick up a small trickle of water, and then walk away without truly washing their hands.
But my personal favorite is when people use Caps Lock and quotation marks to emphasize multiple words in a phrase; for instance: "Trash" ONLY.
Are you guilty of overusing quotation marks in an attempt to emphasize your words? Well stop it right "now"!