Steve Bennett wrote:
On 6/20/06, Phil Boswell
See this is where using real apostrophes would actually be an advantage,
insane mutterings about MS "smart quotes" be damned...
I don't follow - real apostrophes as opposed to what? How? Where? Whodunnit?
You probably knew this much of the story, but:
1. In the beginning there was the ASCII apostrophe, hex 0x27,
decimal 39. It was also used as a single quote character,
as of course it is in typography. Some computer printers
and displays displayed the apostrophe as a slanted glyph,
reminiscent of a typographical apostrophe, and some users
paired it with the grave accent or "backquote" (0x60, 96) when
using it as a quote: `like this'. Other printers and displays
used a directionless vertical glyph -- as indeed old
typewriters did, since they had no ! character and users were
expected to backspace and overstrike a ' and a . to create one.
Some users paired the apostrophes when using them as quotes,
'like this', and many computer languages (C, SQL, etc.) used
the character this way in character and string constants.
2. When Unicode 1.0 came out, recognizing the overuse of the
ASCII apostrophe, it split that one character into three,
so to speak:
hex dec UTF8 description
--- --- ---- -----------
0x27 39 ' Apostrophe-Quote (ambiguous)
0x02BC 700 ʼ Modifier Letter Apostrophe
0x2019 8217 ’ Single Comma Quotation Mark
0x02BC was the "preferred character for apostrophe", and 0x2019
was the "preferred character for closing single quotation mark".
3. Somewhere between Unicode 2.0 and Unicode 3.0, the
recommendation was changed so that 0x2019 (whose official name
is now "Right Single Quotation Mark") is now the preferred
character for both the closing single quotation mark and the
apostrophe. Personally I think this is a real shame, but I've
turned into a real crank on the subject so I won't rant about
Anyway, the point is that there are now a bunch of
apostrophe-like characters which you can use if you (a) want to
be typographically correct, or (b) want to reduce ambiguity, or
(c) want to play games like the one being discussed here, to duck
a special meaning of one particular character, or (d) *increase*
ambiguity and get into endless philosophical arguments on
Wikipedia and Wiktionary trying to decide which character the
Manual of Style should recommend for use in ordinary text, or
article titles. (Should it be "it's" or "it’s"?)
And the fun doesn't end there, either. Besides the obvious left
single quotation mark, there are two other variants for emulating
various European typographical styles, and there's also a
distinct "prime" character which is preferred for indicating feet
and minutes of arc (and which has been debated over on [[Template
talk:Coor dms]]), and then there's this new double apostrophe.
And then the whole story repeats for double quotes, though at
least without the apostrophe angle.
0x2018 8216 ‘ Left Single Quotation Mark
0x201A 8218 ‚ Single Low-9 Quotation Mark
0x201B 8219 ‛ Single High-Reversed-9 Quotation Mark
0x2032 8242 ′ Prime
0x02EE 750 ˮ Modifier Letter Double Apostrophe
0x0022 34 " Quotation Mark
0x201C 8220 “ Left Double Quotation Mark
0x201D 8221 ” Right Double Quotation Mark
0x201E 8222 „ Double Low-9 Quotation Mark
0x201F 8223 ‟ Double High-Reversed-9 Quotation Mark
0x2033 8243 ″ Double Prime
(Probably more than you wanted to know. I'll stop now, without
even mentioning fullwidth variants, or double prime quotation marks.
I've managed to avoid any insane mutterings about "smart quotes", too.)