A small rant: I’ve never been a fan of scare quotes. Used sparingly, they can be useful, I suppose; I just think a careful writer can usually find a better way to alert readers that a term is being used in a nonstandard, ironic, or otherwise “special” sense (see what I did there? Aren’t I “clever”?).
Sometimes, though, quotation marks are just straight-up misused, and the results are confounding:
At the entrance to the Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium, there is a welcome sign that uses quotation marks the phrase “Enjoy Your Visit.” Used properly, the quotation marks would indicate that the words are not being used in their usual sense. So what does the Nebraska Games and Parks Commission know that we don’t? The sign seems to be saying, “Pretend to enjoy your visit,” or something more sinister like, “Enjoy your visit, suckers!”
More troubling in its improper use of quotation marks, though, was Ian’s recent prescription for antibiotics. The instructions read, “Shake liquid well and give ‘Ian’ 4 ml by mouth twice daily for 10 days. Discard remainder.” Well, I’m not sure who or what they meant by “Ian” (fake Ian? wink-wink nudge-nudge Ian?), so we just gave regular Ian the meds.
And not to be obnoxious, but a little tip that might actually be helpful for some: when you use the word so-called, scare quotes are redundant (i.e., “my so-called life,” not “my so-called ‘life’”).