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I am editing a story with a character who is wearing a "Search and Rescue" T-shirt. If I understand correctly, "Search and Rescue" is not a proper name. The shirt simply identifies the character as a member of the Search and Rescue team. So, in this context, how would the phrase "Search and Rescue T-shirt" be punctuated?

Would it be any different if the shirt had a name (as in a "Metallica T-shirt"), or if the shirt had a phrase (such as a "Keep Calm and Carry On T-shirt")?

  • Are there other members of the team in the story or is one person in the story wearing the emblematic shirt? – Stan Jun 29 '16 at 23:43
  • There are other members of the team in the story, but this character is the only one described as wearing the shirt. – TMorgan Jun 30 '16 at 0:06
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If the quotes are actually being used correctly, they mean that the shirt literally reads "Search and Rescue".

Like this one:

Search and Rescue Shirt

Though, technically, the above shirt would be a "SEARCH AND RESCUE" shirt.

So, if the person was wearing a shirt like this:

Metallica shirt

Then it would be a "Metallica" shirt.

Same is true with "Keep Calm and Carry On" t-shirt.

The quotes imply that that is what the text on the shirt reads, so you shouldn't use the quotes around the word "t-shirt".

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