Understanding Curly and Straight Quotes

When you type quotation marks on your Mac you'll usually get curly quotes that curl correctly depending on what you are typing. Learn what curly quotes are, how they work, and how to use straight quotes instead if you like.

Comments: 10 Responses to “Understanding Curly and Straight Quotes”

    Indigo
    1 year ago

    Thank you, Gary. Great to finally get my head around what 'smart quotes' meant! By the way, any idea of the origin of quote marks having double or single elements?

    1 year ago

    Indigo: "The double quotation mark derives from a marginal notation used in fifteenth-century manuscript annotations to indicate a passage of particular importance" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quotation_mark)

    Stephen Schulte
    1 year ago

    Excellent! Gary I continue to be amazed by the information you provide and your energy!! I thought I knew all about "smart quotes" -- but WOW I learned so much from your fact-packed and well-presented video! I did not realize that in Pages and TextEdit that we had these choices (curly vs. straight quotes). Thanks so much for this and so many other great MacMost videos!!!

    Joe Woyciesjes
    1 year ago

    Very useful advice, but… You left something out of your video: Curly quotes and curly brackets are for use in writing. Straight quotes and brackets are meant for use in measurements and mathematics. For example double straight quotes mean inches, single quote indicates feet, etc. I know. After 45 years in tech writing, marketing communications, graphic arts and editing I’ve been corrected many times.

    1 year ago

    Joe: True, but isn't this rare nowadays? Would a 20-something know that 5' meant 5 feet? And outside of the U.S. of course it would be metric anyway.

    V J Spindler III
    1 year ago

    I always learn so much from your tutorials. This time, I'm going to add something you forgot to mention. You will also need to use straight quotes when you want to refer to feet or inches: 6' 2"

    Thomas Greenbank
    1 year ago

    Great, as usual, Gary. I had trouble for ages with getting curly quotes to work for me. As an author, they are essential, IMO. Many thanks.

    Brian A. Foster
    1 year ago

    Two other issues to remember:
    1) Use straight quotes when referring to feet and inches, such as 5' 11" (not 5’ 11”).
    2) When abbreviating years, the apostrophe curls inwards as in “Election of ’24,” not “Election of ‘24.”

    Kathleen
    5 months ago

    I appreciate this as I'm struggling to install Segoe onto my MacBook Air after learning that it's not included in Mac fonts for Word. A client who I do editing for uses Segoe as its default font for the majority of reports it creates and requires smart quotes. However, after working to install Segoe a number of times and receiving confirmation that it is installed, I can't get the smart quotes to work in Segoe. Any clues or insights about what I might try to remedy this?

    5 months ago

    Kathleen: So can you use the font just fine? And do smart quotes work with other fonts? And if you force the curly quotes do they then work? Not sure what the issue could be then. Since this is in Word I would contact Microsoft support as they would be the ones to help.

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