Straight Quotes Because I Dislike Curly Quotes

Most web editors hate Microsoft Word and how it changes apostrophes and quotes into the curly quotes. Why? Because the curly quotes do not translate well in most web content management systems. They end up as boxes or " or some other random mess.

If you’re a blogger, you’ve experienced this same problem when you do your cut and paste into your blogware.

If you’re a real editor, you probably hate the curly quotes too. Here’s how to turn them off in Microsoft Word. Go to Options and then click on Proofing. Then select AutoCorrect. In the AutoCorrect dialog box, clock on AutoFormat As You Type, and under Replace as you type, select or clear the “Straight quotes” with “smart quotes” check box. Then, click the AutoFormat tab, and under Replace, select or clear the “Straight quotes” with “smart quotes” check box.

So, turns out that the curly quotes came first.

Straight quotes are the two generic vertical quotation marks located near the return key: the straight single quote ( ‘ ) and the straight double quote ( ” ).

Curly quotes are the quotation marks used in good typography. There are four curly quote characters: the opening single quote (?‘?), the closing single quote (?’?), the opening double quote (?“?), and the closing double quote (?”?).

“That’s a ‘magic’ sock.” wrong

“That’s a ‘magic’ sock.” right

Straight quotes come to us from the typewriter. In traditional printing, all quotation marks were curly. But typewriter character sets were limited by mechanical constraints and physical space. By replacing the curly opening and closing quotes with ambidextrous straight quotes, two slots became available for other characters.

Word processors are not limited in this way. You can always get curly quotes. Compared to straight quotes, curly quotes are more legible on the page and match the other characters better. Therefore, straight quotes should never, ever appear in your documents.

By the way, I left the error on the display on the curly quotes to prove a point but as you can see, it can work: “This text is surrounded by curly quotes.” For those of you who use WordPress and are tired of fixing your quotes, try out Smart Quote Fixer.

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