foot and inch marksUse straight quotes, not curly

Foot and inch marks—also known as minute and sec­ond marks or prime and dou­ble prime marks, de­pend­ing on what they’re la­bel­ing—are not curly. Use straight quotes for these marks.

WindowsMac OSHTML
'foot mark'''
"inch mark"""

“But back in straight and curly quotes, you told me to turn on smart quotes. So now, when I try to type foot and inch marks, they come out curly, not straight.” A fair point.

How to override smart quotes

WordType the foot or inch mark, which will come out curly, and then press the key com­mand for Undo. The curly mark will be­come straight.

Word­Per­fectNo spe­cial ac­tion nec­es­sary. Af­ter num­bers, Word­Per­fect over­rides smart quotes and in­serts straight quotes.

Ty­pog­ra­phy purists would point out that proper foot and inch marks have a slight north­east-to-south­west slope to them. 

–118° 19′ 36.9″purity

True, but those char­ac­ters aren’t avail­able in many fonts. So straight quotes are the most re­li­able tools for the job.

–118° 19’ 36.9”wrong
–118° 19' 36.9"close enough

You can ital­i­cize the straight quotes if you want an even bet­ter ap­prox­i­ma­tion of sloped foot and inch marks.

–118° 19' 36.9"bonus points

Tread care­fully if foot and inch marks ap­pear within quoted material.

She’s 6’ 10”.”wrong
"She's 6’ 10”."hopeless
She’s 6' 10".”right
by the way
  • A non­break­ing space in the mid­dle of a foot-and-inch mea­sure­ment will pre­vent an awk­ward line­break like 6'
    10"
    , and en­sure that you get 6' 10".

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