Getting Smart with Quotes

You know how sometimes you see quotation marks and apostrophes that turn toward the text they’re associated with—and sometimes they’re just straight up and down, almost like hatch marks? The former kind go by many names: directional quotation marks, smart quotes, curly quotes, or typographer’s quotation marks. And they’re much more pleasing to the reading eye than straight quotes are. So what happens if you find that your manuscript is inconsistent in its style of quotation marks? Some are smart—brilliant, even—and others are just poor, unidirectional excuses for inverted commas. The inconsistency could drive you batty. There’s actually a pretty quick way to fix this in one fell swoop or two, at least if you use Microsoft Word. I’ve talked about using find-and-replace operations before. Enforcing consistent use of directional quotation marks (and apostrophes!) means we’ll revisit those functions. CLARIFICATION: Now, you could put quotation marks (“) or an apostrophe (‘) in both the find and replace fields and run a fast replace-all operation for each. This would work, but it will replace every quotation mark and apostrophe, even the ones that are already smart and already facing the right direction. For the most part, that works, but because Microsoft Word isn’t a mind reader, it will make, for instance, every apostrophe or opening quotation marks after an em dash (—) face left. In my experience, we usually want those to open toward the right, and usually these are already correctly oriented if we have employed smart quotes for the most part. The slightly more technical solution below will help when you have both smart and straight quotes in a...