In a sentence we find a word in inverted commas or a single letter. Why?
Example 1: My 'first' experience of ...
Example 2: The letter 'g' in the word gnaw is silent

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    In this example the author wants to emphasize on the word first. He could have used double quotes instead, but he might have had them reserved for some other things. – Noah Aug 7 '13 at 14:09
  • @Mari-LouA I disagree that this is a duplicate of the 3rd ref you quote: that Q. does not address Ex.2 in this Q.. Nor does either of the other 2 refs. Voting to leave open for that reason. – TrevorD Aug 8 '13 at 11:01
  • @TrevorD agreed the two questions are not identical but they are very similar. Could we at least agree that any future questions on why inverted commas or quotes are used to highlight words, should be closed. Moreover, there should be a way for the system to recognize "quotation marks"/"quotes"/"inverted commas"/"speech marks"/"double quotes" as being related to each other, otherwise we will continue to see similar questions. – Mari-Lou A Aug 8 '13 at 12:31
  • @Mari-LouA I don't disagree with anything you've said. I just thought that Ex.2 deserved an answer - which it's now had anyway. – TrevorD Aug 8 '13 at 12:48

They have different meanings

  • Scare quotes

    They are placed around a word or phrase to indicate that it is not used in the fashion that the writer would personally use it. In contrast to the nominal typographic purpose of quotation marks, the enclosed words are not necessarily quoted from another source. When read aloud, various techniques are used to convey the sense, such as prepending the addition of "so-called" or a similar word or phrase of disdain, using a sarcastic or mocking tone, or using air quotes, or any combination of the above

  • Inverted commas

    to mark off a word or phrase that’s being discussed

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Words are often written within quotes to indicate that someone has already used it earlier.
Letters are written within quotes since writing just a letter (apart from I) isn't grammatically correct. A letter by itself has no meaning. So, to use them in sentences, quotes are required.

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  • I think it's necessary to make clear that your first sentence indicates incorrect usage (however often encountered). – Andrew Leach Aug 7 '13 at 14:15
  • Could you please point out the mistake? – Shaona Bose Aug 7 '13 at 14:17
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    Simply that quotes should never be used for emphasis. They quote. – Andrew Leach Aug 7 '13 at 14:24

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