I thought Word Rants were such a good idea that I created a whole category just for them! (In case you haven't been keeping up, you can find Part I here.)
Today's Word Rant is quote vs. quotation. It really bothers me when people use the word "quote" when what they mean is "quotation," as in "My favorite quote is from Eleanor Roosevelt." The proper use should be "My favorite quotation is from Eleanor Roosevelt."
Quote is usually a verb as in "The Washington Post quoted John Smith as saying...." The only time quote should be used as a noun is when referring to an estimate of goods and services.
But evidently I'm not as right as I think I am, although I'm pretty right. :-) The Oxford English Dictionary lists the following (some - I'm not going to list all 3 columns' worth of text) as definitions for quote:
- a marginal reference, a note, although this is an obsolete definition
- a quotation (grrrrr) as in this use in 1922 from T.S. Eliot: "Do you mean to not use the Conrad quote or simply not put Conrad's name to it?"
The more common usage (and more columns of text) for "quote" refer to its use as a verb as opposed to a noun. I personally think that the only word that should be used to denote words spoken or written by someone else should be "quotation." Otherwise, "quote" as a noun should only refer to an estimate of goods or services.
So, although the Oxford English Dictionary does list a possible definition of "quote" as a quotation, the more popular and current definitions, according to the OED, is as a verb.
I'm not the only one who is bothered by the popular interchanging of quote vs. quotation.
- About.com - you'll see at the bottom that they succumb to the lowest denominator and also use the two words interchangeably. (I personally feel that if you feel strongly about something, strongly enough to publish an article about it, then stick with that instead of deferring to popular opinion.)
- Ultimate Style - they list it as one of the common errors in usage. Go Ultimate Style!
I'll continue to quote quotations in the proper form and usage. :-)