Be smart, Do not use dumb quote marks…

You’ve probably seen a typography fan covered in blood and wailing while holding a steaming human head above his head. The point of contention was most likely smart quotes or dumb quotes. A fantastic new website, part Internet scold, and a sympathetic cheat sheet try to avoid such dreadful scenes.

quotation is the repetition of a sentence, phrase, or passage from speech or text that someone has said or written. In oral speech, it is the representation of an utterance (i.e. of something that a speaker said) that is introduced by a quotative marker, such as a verb of saying.

Quotations are often used as a literary device to represent someone’s point of view. 

Before discussing the differences between smart and dumb quotes. Co. Design isn’t exactly meticulous about using typographically correct quotation marks or apostrophes. This is the point if you stop and think about it. Even a website managed by hoity-toity web designers, who can easily rattle off a thousand words about the Fibonacci sequence in some typographic curlicue… even when aren’t using the correct quotes.

What is a smart quotation?

Depending on the font, they are quotes with a curly or diagonal end. It is better to have “smart quotes” than “dumb quotations.” This also applies to single quotes. “This” is smart, while “this” is stupid. It’s not vertical. They are curled or diagonal. This is how we write quotation marks on paper. This is why we write quotation marks on paper in this manner.

Blame the invention of the typewriter. Santa Maria is right to point out that “dumb quotes” or straight quotes are a relic of typewriters. Using one key for two marks saved space and allowed them to be used in a single place. Many incorrect sports end up on websites due to poor defaults in CMSs and applications. It can quickly become difficult to maintain your quotation marks straight if you have to write HTML and text (as I am here).

You can use shortcuts to avoid getting the wrong quote if you have a modern computer. This is the purpose of Smart Quotes For Smart People. This is very simple on the Mac. It’s the same thing that would have made Steve Jobs blush. Hold down the Option key, and then press [ to open a smart quotation. Option + Shift to close it. To appear smarter with quotes on Windows, you will need to press five keys.

What’s the deal?

It’s silly to use smart quotes when everyone already knows what a dumb quote means. Let’s try this: Imagine that you were sarcastically quoting someone in a bar, and instead of curling up your fingers, you started waving a Nixon-Esque, double peace sign around your head to emphasize the point. Your brain would be thought to be broken. This is how typography enthusiasts view you online every day. Let’s be gentlemen like Jason Santa Maria and not get too cocky about our quotes.

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