Curly or Straight - Apostrophes and Quotes - What do you use?

That’s it, that’s the whole question. What do you use?
The straight kind ("" '') or the curly kind (“” ‘’) ? Or both?
Ok… maybe why?
For the it depends crowd, I also have a poll:

  • Always Curly
  • Usually Curly
  • A mix of Curly and Straight
  • Usually Straight
  • Always Straight
0 voters

But also when ready, what do you prefer:

  • Only Curly
  • Either Way
  • Only Straight
0 voters

I don’t know why, but I find straight quotes and apostrophe irritating in regular text…


Whoops sorry, I fixed a typo and it removed some votes :grimacing:

I voted “always curly” on both, but actually it depends a little.

Regarding quotation marks, I write them curly for “important” or to-be-published texts (i.e. I don’t bother too much when, say, texting.) I also always use double (and not single) quotes.

Although since I mainly write in French, I usually use these ones anyway: « ». As far as I know, a lot of French people don’t use them and use straight ones because the latter are more accessible on French keyboards. (But maybe it changed quite recently?). I myself always use the French pointy ones in every context, though.

Regarding apostrophes, I actually configured my computer so that the curly one is the default instead of the straight one! And if I type 2 in a row it becomes a straight one; useful when programming. Didn’t do the same for quotation marks because they are used a lot more in programming so it would be a pain more than anything.

When writing interactive fiction, if I have time, I just write some JavaScript or something to convert the quotes at runtime instead of writing them curly directly.

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I always type in straight quotes (I do too much programming to have it set up any other way), but for anything involving typography, I’ll use LaTeX or something like that to ensure they come out as proper civilized curly quotes.


I prefer reading text that uses opening and closing quotation marks. They need not be curved, but I know what you mean. I prefer writing that way, too, and I guess if I were really serious about it, I could use unicode in the Inform 7 IDE (word processors and WordPress just do this stuff automatically), and maybe I will this time out. I like that Gargoyle tries to convert straight quotes on the fly; I don’t think other Windows interpreters do this. For example,


vs Gargoyle

For reading and writing, I think open quote + close quote are best. I feel less strongly about apostrophes that don’t open/close, but straight is still not preferred. Suitable for programming stuff, less so for printed text.


Always straight. Only straight. Curly quotes are not on the keyboard, and they’re not in ASCII.
I hate the way certain Apple devices default to curly quotes.
I sometimes have to fix them when I copy and paste alleged text, and I ask why anyone ever thought this was a good idea.
Death to curly quotes!


Professional typography always uses curly quotes. The straight ones are foot and inch symbols.


I strongly prefer straight quotes. I don’t even know how to type curly ones, and so many times I’ve had big bugs because some text software converted straight quotes to curly quotes.

For instance, you have to store a passcode of sorts in a file in order to have control over a Wesnoth campaign you upload to our servers. I almost lost access to one because I had curly braces instead of straight…

(Besides that, I actually do like the << >>-style quotes. I first saw them when reading Die Unendliche Geschichte in German and loved them!)


I use both.

When programming, straight quotes.
When editing ebooks and quotes are called for, curly quotes(or apostrophes). (I always try to edit epubs with Sigil and replace straight quotes with curly ones for dialog, before reading it.)
When it is about inches and feet, straight ones.
When it is about longitude and latitude, primes and double primes for arcminutes and arcseconds if they are available, otherwise straight ones.

PS: Let me use this opportunity to give a shameless plug for the free and open source books of the

They publish out-of-copyright books and care about proper typography. Their books look good, better than many commercial ebook publishers’ offerings really.


Obviously, all compilers need to be fixed to understand typographically correct quotation marks.


Hang on. Curly quotes etc are a GUI problem!

I author in straight quotes, because it’s easy. but the GUI changes those to fancy ones for display. The source text can have fancy quotes if it wants, and in that case they are not changed.

The author should not have to bother with this. same treatment for ellipsis and long hyphen.


If at any point the bytes are going to be used for anything other than strictly reading, I use straight everything.

If it’s program code: Straight.
If it’s text stored in a game: Straight.
If it’s text sent over a network to be displayed: Straight.
If it’s HTML: Straight.
If it’s a *.txt file: Straight
If it’s a static PDF file and will not be processed or otherwise put through any kind of scraping process: Gay Curly*.

I need to have guaranteed, absolute, full, certain control over the fact that the curly quotes and apostrophes won’t get mangled by any kind of encoding/software problems before I allow them in my files.

Too many times I’ve had technical problems occur because of these, and it feels like I must quarantine them to be safe.

* For anyone who doesn’t already know, I am not straight; I offer that as a license for this low-hanging fruit of a joke, just in case.


I use Inform 6, so I use straight quotes. It’s up to the interpreter how to render them. Modern interpreters will convert them to curly quotes. Old interpreters will leave them as straight quotes. If I used curly quotes, old interpreters would spit the dummy as 8-bit and 16-bit computers didn’t have curly quotes until the first Mac came along.

I prefer straight quotes for code, HTML and pretty much anything intended to be rendered on screen, but follow standard typographical conventions for anything intended for print or pseudo print, such as pdf and ebooks. You have to be very careful with Microsoft Word’s “smart quotes” because they’re really dumb and will sometimes render single quotes incorrectly and will render symbols for feet and inches incorrectly.


I use straight ones, because that’s what is produced by my keyboard (ASCII compatible).

I also would appreciate if there were REAL opening quote-marks available by default. In German language we have opening quote-marks at the bottom (like a double comma). Sure, they are available in Unicode, but they are not used by default because of backwards compatibility to ASCII.


When reading I don’t care. All that matters is that when typing, curly quotes can wreck programs, so they’re off globally on my Mac.



An interesting detail is that everybody replying to this thread seems to be using curly apostrophes and quotation marks in their replies. Does the forum software convert them?


I use whatever kind shows up on the screen when I use the quotation mark key and the apostrophe key. I don’t try to type anything special. The marks look straight on this draft, and mostly curly on the preview of the finished post (except for the last " ).

“Testing” “It’s a test” ’ “” "


The rule seems to be that apostrophes are always curly, while a single quotation mark will be straight until paired with a second one, when both become curly.


Yes, it does.

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For me, it’s just the aesthetics of the curly quotes that I typically don’t like unless it matches the font well. Most screen fonts are sans-serif and the curly style lends itself better to more ornate/serif fonts, is all.

I kind of like straight quotes that are slanted to appear as opening and closing, like @kamineko provided in the Gargoyle screenshot, but if I had to pick a lane… straight quotes, please.