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December 6, 2022 at 4:44 AM #4616
The use/mention distinction is a concept used to differentiate between talking about a term and its referent. For example, the sentence “Christian has nine letters” is different from “Christian is the first name of Serai”. The former is merely mentioning the name, while the latter is using the name. To avoid confusion, air quotes are used to indicate that a term is being mentioned rather than used. This is especially important when talking about proper nouns, as the truth of the statement can change depending on whether the term is being used or mentioned.