This was something that came up with a paper I had to write for class earlier this year. It was a nonfiction paper on the cruelty of factory farms, and in it I quotes several sources. At one point, I wrote something along the lines of: The rotting corpses of chickens have been found stuffed in cages in factory farms (parenthetical citation here). My instructor told me that because the source I was using used the word "rotting" that I should put that word in quotes. Thus making it: The "rotting" corpses of chickens have been found stuffed in cages in factory farms (parenthetical citation here). I did so with no argument, and I understand that you have to use quotes for direct thoughts, but to me it doesn't seem necessary. After all, if rotting chickens were found in factory farms, then the way to say that would be to say that rotting chickens were found in factory farms. Sure you could substitute something like "decaying" in there, but do you really have to quote a single word like that? I mean, clearly nobody would expect you to put a quote around words like "was" or "didn't" or "he". The original source did not create the word rotting, so I'm not stealing any sort of literary creativity from them -- so I just wanted to get some opinions and see where the line has to be drawn on putting quotes around something.