Quotation Marks & Apostrophes

What are these?

' "

If you said "apostrophe" & "quotation mark", you'd be right, but they’re also wrong.

Butterick’s Practical Typography explains the problem well:

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. …

Straight quotes are a typewriter habit. 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.

… 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.

So this is not good practice because of the straight quotes:

"Wasn't it lovely?"

This would be far better because it uses curly quotes:

“Wasn’t it lovely?”


Here's the HTML you need:

Character Unicode Name Numeric Character Reference Named Character Reference
Prime1 ′ ′
Double Prime ″ ″
' Apostrophe ' '
" Quotation Mark " "
Left Single Quotation Mark ‘ ‘
Right Single Quotation Mark ’ ’
Opening Double Quotation Mark “ “
Closing Double Quotation Mark ” ”

  1. Primes are used for things like navigation: 39°6'58"N & 93°11'52"W

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