Minor tweak - em dashes and quote marks

When writing dialogue the convention is to use an en-dash (option/hyphen) or em-dash (shift/option/hyphen) to indicate interrupted speech:

'Sir Jasper, you devil, I’ll — ’

In Scrivener the smart quotes (single or double) don’t recognise the dash as the end of a speech segment and face the wrong way. To solve this I have to cut and paste quote-marks facing the right way from elsewhere in the text.

This is such a minor problem that it barely qualifies as such, but if there was an easy fix…

Hi Steven,

Unfortunately this is an OS X thing - Scrivener just uses the smart quotes system provided by the text system, just turning them on or off, and has no control over how they work (pre-Leopard I had my own smart quotes code, but when the OS introduced its own smart quotes system, users wanted consistency). Word has the same problem (although, annoyingly, Pages doesn’t, which suggests that Apple use improved code there that they haven’t rolled into the OS X text system provided to third-party developers), and I’ve long been used to typing a “d” after a hyphen, em-dash or en-dash, then the quote, then hitting the back arrow key, deleting the “d” and then hitting the forward arrow key to get back where I was. Not ideal, but I’d have to go back to using a custom smart quotes system to have any control over this.

All the best,

Thanks for the reply. I suspected it might be embedded too deep to easily tinker with.

If you don’t object to using Spell Catcher (I don’t love it, fwiw), it does smart quotes properly as you type (I close the space between the m-dash and the closing quotes, though).

I found this because I came looking for information on the closing quotations around m dashes in Scrivener.

If you don’t mind it being wrong inside the Scrivener project (or if you fear you may be missing some smart quotes), you could use the Replacements section of your preferred compile settings to replace the “dash-backwards quote” with “dash-correct quote”.

i’ve had similar issues - no smart quotes, double hyphen not becoming the long hyphen, spellcheck not working, backup location not changed. All started with Lion.

i experimented; started a whole new project and like magic, everything worked. Until, mid-sentence, the issue reappeared. Seems the preference file isn’t being written or recognised. i’ll stop talking technical before i say something foolish.

Running Scrivener in Snow Leopard now and it’s back to its good old self.

Here’s something to try when this happens: hold down the Shift key while launching Scrivener. That is, hold down Shift before you open it, then launch Scrivener with the Shift key still held down, and don’t let go of the Shift key until Scrivener has finished launching. Your projects won’t load, but just reload them manually via the File > Recent Projects menu once Scrivener has launched. On Lion, holding down the Shift key while launching a program prevents any of Lion’s automatic restore code from running. Evidence so far seems to suggest that it is this that is causing the issue - the preferences are working fine (I’ve run tests with users who have experienced this which show that Scrivener has saved the settings correctly but the text system is ignoring them), but something in Lion is saving the spelling and autocorrect settings entirely separately, in some hidden file on the system somewhere and out of Scrivener’s reach, even though it most certainly shouldn’t be doing this (because it should only do this if a program opts into this sort of thing, which Scrivener doesn’t, and it shouldn’t do it with arbitrary settings like this). I’ve filed a bug with Apple about this, but if it happens (and it only seems to happen on some systems), then holding down the Shift key while launching should clear the problem. Let me know how it goes, though!

All the best,

(Back to the OP) I usually just let the quotes go however they want in the project–I use straight quotes the majority of the time anyway–and then just do a find/replace through the project at the end when I’m ready to compile. The replacements option for compile is nice for this, and sometimes I know that’s going to be fine, but in the cases where I’m not sure and might have a few cases where the quote after the dash should be an open instead of a close quote, I like just running through the whole thing manually so I can verify each instance. Also gives you a good sense of how often your speakers get interrupted. :wink:

This just answered my question and solved my issue – thanks so much!

This is not working for me. I am having the same problem with Scivener 2.3.1 purchased from the Mac App store. Tried holding shift to no avail. I kinda need the smart quotes and em-dashes…

Quick update: I installed the version from the website with my Mac App store proof of purchase and it now works – must be some kind of problem with the Mac App Store version. I’ll use the non-MAS version for now.