6. Real quotes and apostrophes
Here is another place where typewriters are limited by the lack of characters. All typewriters have is inch and foot marks. Quotation marks and apostrophes look very different. This is another typographical embarrassment when used incorrectly. There are more keystrokes you need to learn, though you can solve most of the problems by turning on Use Typographer’s Quotes in Type page of Preferences. The shortcut is Command+Option+Shift+’ by default to toggle this option on and off.
Again it is important to use the right characters. An apostrophe is a single close quote.
The typewriter inch/foot marks in almost all fonts are actually wrong. They are the mathematical marks used for prime and double-prime. True inch and foot marks are slanted a couple of degrees. Some typographers italicize them. Typographers often call prime and double-prime marks dumb quotes from their use by typists. Here’s the keystrokes on a Mac for the true quote special characters.
One of the more disconcerting things to keep track of in this increasingly global society is usage differences in the languages. For example, in America, we are taught to use double quotes for a quote and single quotes for quotes within a quote. British usage is the opposite.
Other languages use completely different characters or changes like open double quotes which look like close double quotes on the baseline—to our American eyes.
Increasingly, we are designing documents set in multiple languages. It is important to keep track of these things. Consider, for instance, the Spanish practice for questions, ¿Que pasa? or expletives, ¡Vámonos!
Guillemots: ‹› «»
Single and double guillemots are used by several European languages in place of curly quotes. For French and Italian, they point out like «thus». In German they often point in, according to Bringhurst, using »this style«. But then I am not a linguist so I don’t know the ins and outs. The point is to be careful.
Bringhurst’s work, The Elements of Typographic Style, has a great deal of information on specific typographic usage in other languages for those of you doing a lot of this work: It is important to do it right so the reader is not offended.