Has anyone seen the Friends episode where Joey air quotes everything he says? It's funny right? Because he's stupid. It's funny because he's stupid. Now I'm not saying that people who misuse air quotes are stupid, they just look stupid and, really, if you look stupid who really cares if you are or not? Not me. So, because I am extremely smart and not judgemental in any way, I will graciously open my arms and lend you my expertise. Pay attention.
Air quotes are to be used to indicate irony, not emphasis. For example: If your co-worker says he's going home from work early because he's sick but you really know he's going out drinking, you could go up to your other co-worker and say, "So, buddy when home "sick" a few minutes ago". That would mean you know that he didn't actually go home sick.
Air quotes are not to be used in the following way: "My friend "Josh" is coming over tonight". Using air quotes this way indicates that you don't really know your friends name. Is it Josh? Is it Shawn? Who knows. Apparently not you.
This concludes today's lesson.