7 Situations When It's Easy to Mistake Quotes

Quotation marks in Russian are used in direct speech, in quotations, with titles, and to convey the unusual or ironic meaning of a word or phrase. It seems to be simple. However, there are nuances in which it is easy to get confused.

1. Conditional and real names

Conditional names are those in which the literal meanings of the words do not coincide with what they call: “Contemporary” is a theater, and not a person living at the same time as someone; “Apple” is a party, not a fruit; Lokomotiv is a football club, not part of a train. Such names are always written in quotation marks.

In real names, the words are used in their direct meaning: the Guinness Book of Records is a real book, the Bolshoi Theater is a theater, Moscow Printing House No. 2 is a printing house. These names don’t need quotation marks.

However, the real name is in quotation marks if it is used with a generic name (most often this is the organizational and legal form): OJSC Moscow Printing House No. 2 , FGBU B. N. Yeltsin Presidential Library .

2. Names that have become common nouns in everyday communication

Many names eventually become common nouns and lose quotes. This has already happened, for example, with a photocopier and a diaper – words that were originally the names of companies.

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And now an interesting story is happening with the names of social networks and instant messengers. They can be written in Latin, and then quotes are not put: Facebook page * , Instagram post * . But if you use Cyrillic, then you need to pay attention to the meaning.

When we mean exactly the name, we write in quotation marks and with a capital letter: Facebook * promotions , Telegram technical support , innovations on Instagram * .

However, in ordinary, everyday communication, these words have the meanings of “blog”, “personal page”, “messenger”: posted on my instagram * (posted on a page, blog), wrote in a telegram (wrote in a messenger). In such cases, it is acceptable to write with a lowercase letter and without quotes.

The names of foods and drinks that have become common nouns can also be used in personal or informal correspondence without quotation marks and with a lowercase letter: drank Coca-Cola , ate amateur sausage , bought Essentuki‑17 .

3. Names of stations and stops

The names of metro stations and ground transport stops are enclosed in quotation marks: station “Okhotny Ryad” , stop “Children’s Polyclinic” .

But the names of railway stations, railway stations and airports are written without quotes: Lavriki station , Ladozhsky railway station , Sheremetyevo airport .

4. Nicknames

The nicknames of historical figures and legendary characters are transmitted in the texts without quotes, each word is capitalized: Vladimir the Red Sun , Vsevolod the Big Nest , Richard the Lionheart . The same applies to the nicknames of animals and similar in structure to the names of literary characters: White Bim Black Ear , Fedka Wash with Mud .

Following the same logic, nicknames such as, for example, Garik Bulldog Kharlamov or Dwayne Skala Johnson should also be written without quotes.

5. Set expressions

Words that are used in a figurative or unusual sense may be enclosed in quotation marks. This is done so that the reader knows that the meaning is not to be taken literally.

But over time, such an unusual usage becomes commonplace, so there is no longer any need to emphasize non-literal understanding. Then you should write without quotes: zest (in the meaning of “feature”), star (celebrity), gold (award), helpline , white salary , round table , bags under the eyes , turnkey , rush hour .

6. Ratings

The names of the grades are written without quotes: five , four , three . The same goes for excellent , good , satisfactory , unsatisfactory . The meanings of all these words are not only not perceived as unusual, but are also fixed in dictionaries, so quotes are not needed.

7. Words and expressions after “so-called”

After the phrase “so-called” quotes are not put: the so-called local case , the so-called reserve fund . However, if a word or phrase is used in an unusual or ironic sense, then quotes must be put: I received 10 rubles, and I gave him my phone – the so-called “fair exchange” took place .

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*Activities of Meta Platforms Inc. and its social networks Facebook and Instagram are prohibited in the territory of the Russian Federation.

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