Blogging Tip: Use Real Quotes

What’s one thing that separates a great site from merely good sites?

Great sites use real quotes.

No, I’m not saying that other sites make things up (though I’m sure some do). This article is about the other kind of quotes.

Quotation Marks.

Okay, so what the heck am I talking about? Quotation marks are quotation marks are quotation marks, right? Just press Shift+apostrophe and you’ll get some.

Well, no, not exactly.

If you’re typing anywhere but in Microsoft Word (or another word processing program with Smart Quotes turned on), what you’ll get is not a set of quotation marks. Instead, you’ll be greeted with some of what I like to call Stupid Quotes (more commonly known as Dumb Quotes, straight quotes, or - somewhat incorrectly - a double prime, though this is another mark altogether, used for measurements and usually slanted).

What separates Stupid Quotes from Smart Quotes?

Here’s a comparison in some well-known typefaces:

The easy way to tell the two apart is that Stupid Quotes look like a Dunce Cap turned upside-down, and Smart Quotes look, well, nice. Like they were designed by a font-designer, not some grunt with a hammer and chisel.

Now you know the difference. How do you start rocking the intelligent use of this rather basic but supremely important typographical concept? Easy. Well, it takes a bit more effort than what you’re used to, but it’s worth it.

You can specify Smart Quotes by typing special codes known as HTML entities (don’t worry what this means, just go with me) where the quotes are supposed to go.

Here’s a handy table for reference:
How To Make A Smart Quote
Name Secret CodeVoila
Left Double Quote“ or “
Right Double Quote” or ”
Left Single Quote‘ or ‘
Right Single Quote’ or ’

Now, it takes some getting used to, but when you get the hang of it and start seeing the difference, there’s no turning back.

Don’t be a dummy. Do what the pros do and use Real Quotes. Real Smart Quotes.

It’s the cool thing to do.