I believe that using double quotes around a word or phrase negates the word or phrase that is quoted. Let me demonstrate:
- “All beef” patties – Isn’t even all “meat”
- “Cheese” product – I shudder to think what this really is
- “Seafood and crab” cakes – sold by Trader Joe’s
From this list you may think that double quoting as negation only works for foodstuffs, but that is incorrect. People use air quotes to accomplish the same thing as well as a method for reinforcing a negation. For example:
- I’m not a “strong swimmer.”
- I had to brief the “executive team.”
- An “expert” said this will make us safe.