[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [Groff] Smart quotes (and other excesses)

From: Jeff Conrad
Subject: Re: [Groff] Smart quotes (and other excesses)
Date: Thu, 1 Aug 2002 14:52:12 -0700

Larry Jones wrote:

> The traditional method is by using doubled apostrophes and accent graves
> ``like this'', which isn't hideous at all (unless you're using a font where
> they're wildly asymmetric).

This indeed has been the traditional method, but how well it works depends
upon quality of the font width data.  An early release (1990?) of CG Times
used a "punctuation space" that was the width of a solidus for almost all
marks, including apostrophes, and two adjacent single quotes looked
horrible.  Recent incarnations of CG Times are better, but adjacent single
quotes still don't look as good as the real double quotes.

Inspired (forced?) by the early CG Times, I added \(`` and \('' to the
character sets. (less typing than \*[oq], but equally hideous).  The final
solution, which I still use, was to run a sed preprocessor that replaced ``
with \(`` and '' with \(''.  The double graves and apostrophes are a bit
easier to recognize than typewriter double quotes (especially without GNU
REs), and substitution was much more foolproof in arguments to macros
(e.g., .H 1 "``Smart'' Quotes").

I think, however, the essence of "smart" quotes is that the software
figures out what's needed and does the dirty work.  I've often wished that
troff would recognize `` and '' as double quotes, and substitute the real
double quote characters if available.  The same could be said for -- (or
perhaps ---) as \(em, which is every bit as ugly as \(`` or \(oq.

Jeff Conrad

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]