apostrophes

Make sure they’re curly and point downward

The apos­tro­phe has two func­tions we all remem­ber from sixth-grade Eng­lish class.

  1. An apos­tro­phe indi­cates the pos­ses­sive case (Jes­sica’s bagel).

  2. In con­trac­tions, an apos­tro­phe takes the place of let­ters or num­bers that have been removed (is not becomes isn’t, Patent No. 5,269,211 becomes ’211).

Apos­tro­phes always point down­ward. If the smart-quote con­ver­sion fea­ture of your writ­ing sys­tem is on (see straight and curly quotes), then type an apos­tro­phe with the same key you use to type a straight sin­gle quote '. Your word proces­sor will con­vert this char­ac­ter to a curly apos­tro­phe . Or you can type an apos­tro­phe directly, using the same key as a clos­ing sin­gle quote.