I’m completely fine with a writer who bends the rules. There’s a little thing called style, right? I’m sure that as an educator you’ve no doubt had a student try to pass off errors as style. I know I tried when I was in school.
As they grow and mature as writers, it’s necessary for your students to crawl before they can walk. They should at least know the ground rules before they start breaking them in the name of style. And as we all know, there are plenty of rules. There is one rule—out of a whole set of rules about the use of quotation marks—that can be very effective in conveying irony, sarcasm and subtlety. Or, it can be very effective in unintentionally looking ironic, sarcastic and boldly unusual. That rule is the use of quotation marks around words and short phrases.
The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks is a great site that features the abuse of quotation marks and the amusing results. While this site is intended to show the humor of misinterpreting other peoples’ bad punctuation, you can use it as an effective tool to demonstrate to your students what not to do. You might even want to mention that anyone can submit a photo to this blog. It could give your students a strange motivation to pay attention to punctuation as they walk around in their day-to-day lives. What sort of strange world would that be? –NICK YINGLING