Can single quotes be used as double quotes for the purposes of denoting words?

I’ve noticed a whole spate of questions here on this StackExchange using single quotes ' ' as a substitute for double quotes " " , in their function of denoting words as words. Is this usage kosher as long as one sticks to the same convention within a text? Is there an idiosyncratic use of single quotes in this manner by an authority, like the New Yorker?

EDIT: I probably should have added an example to make my point more clear. Which of the following titles is better stylistically:

Is ‘passion’ a more descriptive word to use in this sentence versus ‘love’?


Is “passion” a more descriptive word to use in this sentence versus “love”?


Fowler says in the first edition of Modern English Usage that there is no universal distinction between single and double inverted commas. He explains that there are two systems in use: one in which a regular quotation has single inverted commas, and a quotation within a quotation double; the other the inverse. He encourages the former system. He doesn’t mention anything special about single words. In the third edition, Burchfield mentions only that the former system should be used; he doesn’t mention single-word quotations as a special category either.

I have seen perhaps a few authors who would use double for real quotations and single for ironic or similar short phrases or words; however, I think this system is not widely used. In fact I’d use it in Dutch, but not in English. It could be that there is some respected newspaper or publisher who would use it too, but I can’t think of any.

Source : Link , Question Author : Uticensis , Answer Author : Cerberus_Reinstate_Monica

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