Wrong Word Wednesday #63

Every week I demonstrate an example of poor English where a different word is used from the word intended. Usually, this creates a grammatically incorrect sentence and sometimes it sounds amusing, other times it sounds embarrassing. Unfortunately, the mistake is so pervasive that we all do it and such errors are usually made by those who should know better – journalists working for national or global media outlets such as newspapers and television.

Quotation / Quote

Another one with a surprising difference. We generally use “quote” for both purposes but one is a verb and one is a noun and therefore we should be using them differently.

Quotation: Noun. When you are referring to and not reproducing, something that somebody has written or said. “The quotation in yesterday’s edition we attributed to physicist Brian Cox should have been attributed to Brian Cox the actor.”

Quote: Verb. When you are repeating something somebody has said such as in speech or reproducing it as in an academic text. “I wrote down exactly what she said so let me quote…” and “The full quote appearing on 247 reads…”

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6 thoughts on “Wrong Word Wednesday #63

  1. I believe quote is also a noun, admittedly Oxford give the nouns definition as either “a quotation” or “quotation marks”, but it is a valid use ( I used quotes!) .
    I suppose it is possible somebody may have verbed quotation, which would be horribly, horribly wrong although I’m not sure if it would be worse than “burglarization” .

    1. Yes, that’s the modern use. Most of the sources I checked said today “quote” is used interchangeably; obviously langauage evolves but the original meanings are those above.

      1. The “modern” usage is from at least 1888… Which hardly sounds modern at all (certainly the verb cable from the same period sounds very dated), although in linguistic terms I suppose that’s the middle of last week 🙂

      2. I’m not sure where the horrible (I assume) back-formation “Quotate” originates however, and I was surprised to discover that quote and quoth are unrelated…

        So I learned something at least 🙂

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