26 Replies Latest reply: Sep 13, 2011 2:09 PM by Peter Spier RSS

    Apostrophe or ditto?

    Michael Witherell ACP

      Calling all type gurus! (InDesign CS5.5) When I click on Type menu > Insert Special Character > Quotation Marks > "Single Straight Quotation Marks (Apostrophe)" it puts into the text a single straight ditto mark, but it seems to me that it most definitely is not an apostrophe! Doesn't an apostrophe match a curly single right quotation mark? And more than that, why isn't there a choice in that menu for a proper apostrophe, iow, one that is curly and typographic? What is up with that? Many thanks!

       

      Mike Witherell in Alexandria, Virginia

        • 1. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
          Peter Spier ACP/MVPs

          Hi Mike.

           

          I'm not a typographic expert, but I bet neither are most of the programmers who build fonts (even if the font designers are), and that this is a case of needing unique names for the different glyphs inside the font files and engineers lacking imagination (did I just say that?).

           

          When you look at the Glyphs panel, Unicode position 0027 is the single straight mark, and its name is Apostrophe. 2019 is the right-hand curly mark, and it's name is Right Single Quotation. We use the same key to enter both single quotation and apostrophe marks (unless you have a special font that has differentiated glyphs for the right quote and apostrophe, but I don't think I've ever seen one), and we depend on built in logic to know which glyph (in the case of curlies) should be inserted. I think the menu is simply reflecting both the use and the name of that single glyph that gets used in all three positions if straight quotes are enabled.

          • 2. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
            [Ariel] Community Member

            I think you're right that a single straight quote mark is not an

            apostrophe. It's more like a feet (measurement) mark.

             

            A proper apostrophe is the same a single right quotation mark. And

            perhaps there isn't a choice for it there (I'll take your word for it, I

            haven't looked) because it's so easily accessible via the keyboard.

             

            Ariel

            • 3. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
              [Ariel] Community Member

              Peter,

               

              Beging your pardon, but I think most fonts have a separate glyph for

              straight apostrophe and right single quote. Let's try this one: ' ‘ ’ " “ ”

               

              Ariel

              • 4. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
                Peter Spier ACP/MVPs

                I think you'll find that if you disable typographers quotes in in the prefs and then type 'type's the thing' all three glyphs will be identical, and if you select one and go to the glyphs panel it will be Unicode 0027/Apostrophe.

                 

                If typographers quotes are enabled and you type the same text, both the apostrophe and the single right quote will be rendered using Unicode 2019/Right Single Quotation Mark. The one on the left end will be Unicode 2018/Left Single Quotation Mark.

                 

                I can't swear this is true in all fonts, but is was in the random sample of western fonts I tried (some with HUGE glyph sets).

                • 5. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
                  [Ariel] Community Member

                  That all sounds right. In which case I haven't understood your point

                  here: "(unless you have a special font that has differentiated glyphs

                  for the right quote and apostrophe, but I don't think I've ever seen one)".

                   

                  Ariel

                  • 6. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
                    Michael Witherell ACP

                    Folks,

                     

                    Your comments so far persuade me to view this as a mislabeling in the Type menu of InDesign. Can that actually be the case?

                     

                    Best to you,

                     

                    Mike Witherell in Alexandria, Virginia

                    • 7. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
                      Peter Spier ACP/MVPs

                      Arïel wrote:

                       

                      That all sounds right. In which case I haven't understood your point

                      here: "(unless you have a special font that has differentiated glyphs

                      for the right quote and apostrophe, but I don't think I've ever seen one)".

                       

                      Ariel

                      I'm thinking of something specialized where with typographers quotes disabled you actually do have two differnt glyphs for (probably three) for apostrophe and single right quote (single left quote being the potential third), and the font logic would inser the correct glyph based on the text, as typographers quotes are handled. I've never seen such a font, but can imagine that in non-western laguages that have a lot of alternate glyphs that are position-dependent they might exist.

                      • 8. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
                        Peter Spier ACP/MVPs

                        Mislabeling in what sense? A single straight quote and a straight apostrophe use the same glyph, and it's name happens to be Apostrophe (blame whoever set up the unicode names). A single right curly quote and curly apostrophe also use a single common glyph, named Right Single Quotation Mark. I think the guys who did the ID UI are trying to make it clear that the glyph you are looking for is used for multiple purposes.

                        • 9. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
                          Michael Witherell ACP

                          Mislabeled in the program since it puts in a straight single ditto mark which is never an apostrophe.

                           

                          --Mike

                          • 10. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
                            Peter Spier ACP/MVPs

                            It puts in the same glyph you get if you type it instead of using the insert special character menu (if Typographers Quotes are disabled). Sounds to me like you'd like to be mixing straight and curly, maybe? Or perhaps you'd rather use a single "prime" which you can find in some fonts, including Symbol. If what you're after is the curly version, you use the single right quote -- and I suppose you could say that should also be labeled as apostrophe, but that isn't the name of the glyph.

                            • 11. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
                              Peter Spier ACP/MVPs

                              I'm not trying to pick a fight with you about this.

                               

                              Think of it this way, maybe and it might help. "Straight" quotes are what used to on a standard typewriter -- perfectly vertical and symmetrical for left or right, and basically pretty ugly, and the apostrophe on the term papers you typed as a kid (I think you're old enough to have used a typewriter) would also have been what you are now calling single ditto marks. Books, which were typeset, had "real" typographers marks. In some fonts those are curly, and in others they are "not curly" but slanted to left or right. Some have a distinct round head with an attached tail, and some have just a tapered stroke of some sort. The appearance would depend on the typeface in use.

                              • 13. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
                                Peter Spier ACP/MVPs

                                Mike,

                                 

                                I'm curious why this came up for you? Are you building GREP expressions or FInd/Change queries or something? I can't remember the last time I inserted a single quote/apostrohe in text using the menus.

                                • 14. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
                                  Michael Witherell ACP

                                  Hey Peter,

                                   

                                  It was over a discussion in the classroom about typesetting year date abbreviations such as '11 instead of 2011. The smart swapping-out of the ditto key for a curly typographic single quote mark inserts the so-called apostrophe upside-down. We were discussing how you have to manually fix it or use a GREP to fix it. When clicking on the menu, we noticed that it said blah blah blah (Apostrophe). That struck me and my students as simply the wrong identifier for what certainly was NOT an apostrophe.

                                   

                                  Nice to hear from you,

                                   

                                  Mike

                                  • 15. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
                                    Peter Spier ACP/MVPs

                                    OK, I totally get what you're talking about now.

                                     

                                    I guess this is a case of "unclarity" in the user interface, probably coupled with a certain amount of naivete on the part of users. If you pick one of the "straight" options from the menu, you ALWAYS get the straight version, regardless of the settings for use of typographers quotes, and if you pick one of the marks not labeled straight you always get the typographer's marks, regardless of setting, and it's more or less up to us as users to understand that a typographer's apostrophe is the same glyph as the single right quote, not some other separate mark.I'm sure this comes from the days of metal type and not wanting or needing a separate piece of type to serve the purpose.

                                     

                                    Whether the UI should be changed to add apostophe to the right quote listing is probably a subject for great debate. As I mentioned earlier, the assigned name for the glyph is single right quote, while the assigned name for the straight one is apostrophe, and if we start calling then differnt things I can imagine it will cause other sorts of confusion in other  areas of the interface. Think about the confusion form the various ways some of the paragraph alignment options are named in different parts of the UI.

                                    • 16. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
                                      Michael Witherell ACP

                                      Right. You do get it. BTW, I am fairly sure that "ditto" is the correct term for the shape of that glyph, and I wish the menu said (Ditto) instead of (Apostrophe) and now that I think of it, I could wish for one more entry just to especially insert an apostrophe (the curly one).

                                       

                                      When I get a moment, I think I will make a feature request.

                                       

                                      Best to you,

                                       

                                      Mike

                                      • 18. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
                                        HeyMikey Community Member

                                        Hi all,

                                         

                                        Here's something from Dictionary.com:

                                         

                                        ditto mark 

                                        noun
                                        Often, ditto marks. two small marks (″) indicating the repetition of something, usually placed beneath the thing repeated.

                                        Dictionary.com Unabridged

                                         

                                        Interesting!

                                         

                                        Cheers!

                                        -Mikey

                                        • 19. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
                                          Michael Witherell ACP

                                          Eugene,

                                           

                                          Perhaps I am wrong, but the wiki page shows slanted prime characters while discussing ditto marks. That seems incorrect, from my research.

                                           

                                          In the second reference, the author confuses straight up dittos my calling them primes. Again, incorrect?

                                           

                                          In summary: quotes curl; dittoes are straight; primes are slanted

                                           

                                          Or am I drawing a wrong conclusion?

                                           

                                          Mike Witherell in Maryland

                                          • 20. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
                                            macinbytes Community Member

                                            Dittos are not straight, typically not aligned to the top of the uppercase characters and usually quite a bit bigger than straight or curly quotes. Dittos on the left, lowercase n for reference and quotes of both types to follow.

                                             

                                            Untitled-1.jpg

                                            • 21. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
                                              Peter Spier ACP/MVPs

                                              I believe "traditional" dittos are slanted and are practically indistinguishable from primes (and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if they used the same glyph in the days of metal type). A lot would depend, of course on the face, and the foundry producing the type.

                                               

                                              It was interesting to see in the Wiki article that they listed a codepoint for ditto. In my brief and not scientific or thorough search of the glyphs panel and some common fonts I couldn't find any I would be using on a regular basis (and I didn't look really far afield) that actually had a glyph in that position, but it's possible I just wasn't looking properly.

                                               

                                              Where's Jongware when we need him?

                                              • 22. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
                                                Michael Witherell ACP

                                                Oh no! When Macinbytes says "dittoes are not straight" then we have possible 4 things now:

                                                 

                                                1. dittoes that slant

                                                2. primes that slant and look like #1 (not present in many fonts)

                                                3. dumb quotes that are straight (I have called these ditto marks)

                                                4. curly typographic quotes (including proper curly apostrophes)

                                                 

                                                But Macinbytes, the ditto mark on my old typewriter were straight; they did not slant.

                                                 

                                                I always thought that in correct typesetting, quotes and apostrophes were NEVER straight.

                                                 

                                                The InDesign Type menu differs with me, however; hence the orignial posted question.

                                                 

                                                Is this a case of long-term mixing together of terms until no one remembers the origin?

                                                 

                                                Mike Witherell in Maryland

                                                • 23. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
                                                  phyllisj9 Community Member

                                                  I got lost in this conversation somewhere.  But I'm picky about typography!  I don't recall the last time I saw a ditto mark in any of the copy I was working with.  But if I see one, I should use a prime mark?  Was that the final consensus?

                                                   

                                                  Thanks, Phyllis

                                                  • 24. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
                                                    Peter Spier ACP/MVPs

                                                    Consensus? I don't think you'll find that in here.

                                                    • 25. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
                                                      macinbytes Community Member

                                                      Dittos are less common in fonts than primes or double primes, about equally common as triple and quadruple primes.

                                                       

                                                      Straight or dumb quotes are a form of ambidextrous quote and aren't always vertical. Most typewriters have slanted ambidextrous quotes and apostrophes (like your keyboard. Curly or straight " “ ” are all still quotation marks.

                                                       

                                                      I think at the end of the day the only ones who care about these things are designers. I don't think you are going to find someone on the street that will ostracize you for using a double acute because you didn't have a double prime available to you (or likely know what either are). Ditto marks are not straight quotes though. 〃 is a ditto mark though and " is not.

                                                       

                                                      I, personally, never use primes or double primes to indicate feet or inches despite to the definition being correct. I've never seen a printed piece in hand that uses a prime or double prime either that didn't relate to mapping. I don't think using the correct punctuation in some of these cases is always best. I never see a phi symbol for phase (one or three phase for example) but see it a whole lotta times as a small miniscule ø. Pop open a 1000+ page multivendor electrical catalog and see how many vendors use phi and how many use the small miniscule. Hate to say might equals right, but on the other side of that coin designers aren't the ones who approve my layouts.

                                                      • 26. Re: Apostrophe or ditto?
                                                        Peter Spier ACP/MVPs

                                                        macinbytes wrote:

                                                         

                                                        I, personally, never use primes or double primes to indicate feet or inches despite to the definition being correct. I've never seen a printed piece in hand that uses a prime or double prime either that didn't relate to mapping. I don't think using the correct punctuation in some of these cases is always best. I never see a phi symbol for phase (one or three phase for example) but see it a whole lotta times as a small miniscule ø. Pop open a 1000+ page multivendor electrical catalog and see how many vendors use phi and how many use the small miniscule. Hate to say might equals right, but on the other side of that coin designers aren't the ones who approve my layouts.

                                                        That brings to mind something my linguistics professor said waaaay to many years ago. With language, usage determines what is correct, not grammar texts.