straight and curly quotes

Always use curly quotes

Straight quotes are the two generic ver­ti­cal quo­ta­tion marks located near the return key: the straight sin­gle quote ' and the straight dou­ble quote ".

Curly quotes are the quo­ta­tion marks used in good typog­ra­phy. There are four curly quote char­ac­ters: the open­ing sin­gle quote , the clos­ing sin­gle quote , the open­ing dou­ble quote , and the clos­ing dou­ble quote .

Straight quotes are a typewriter habit. In tra­di­tional print­ing, all quo­ta­tion marks were curly. But type­writer char­ac­ter sets were lim­ited by mechan­i­cal con­straints and phys­i­cal space. By replac­ing the curly open­ing and clos­ing quotes with ambidex­trous straight quotes, two slots became avail­able for other char­ac­ters.

Word proces­sors are not lim­ited in this way. You can always get curly quotes. Com­pared to straight quotes, curly quotes are more leg­i­ble on the page and match the other char­ac­ters bet­ter. There­fore, straight quotes should never, ever appear in your doc­u­ments.