Quotation mark after dash

Hi there –

I’ve noticed the following issue when writing dialogue. After typing dashes to indicate that someone’s been cut off, the close quotation mark changes to a smart quote and then points in the wrong direction (i.e., looks like an open quotation mark.)

For example, I will type (using real words):
“xxx xxxx xxx xxxx --”

The two dashes will turn into an em dash, but then the close quotation mark will change into a smart quote that faces to the right – an open quote, in other words – that looks like this: —“

I haven’t found a fix other than copying and pasting a regular smart close-quote.

Any ideas? Thanks so much!!

If you always want them that way, you could set it up as a substitution, although this is at the system level so it will apply in other programs on your Mac too. The “Text” tab of “Language & Text” in System Preferences (there’s a button to give you quick access via Scrivener’s preferences in the Auto-Correct tab) will let you set up substitutions, so you could type the double hyphen and quote there and then just paste in the em-dash and close quote that you want as the replacement. As long as you’ve enabled symbol and text substitution in Scrivener’s preferences, that will work.

You could also just use the code specifically for a close quote when you need it, Opt-Shift-[, but if you use this all the time the substitution might be easier. Just remember you have it set up that way in case you ever require it the other way, “as you might”–she pointed out pedantically–“if you interrupted the dialogue.” (Though I’d probably use parentheses there…)


This is always the case in most programs - it’s the same in Pages and Word (and Scrivener uses the standard OS X text system for its smart quotes). The trouble is that software can never guess the user’s intent perfectly. What I have got in the habit of doing is, if I have a dash and I know I want quotes to follow it, I type “d” (I don’t know why “d” in particular, I guess I just find it easy on the keyboard), then type the speechmarks, hit back-arrow, delete and forward arrow. I’m so used to doing this from many years of Word that I don’t even notice.

All the best,

I’ve been noticing this problem too. If you just type another quote after it makes the erroneous open quote, the second quote will be converted to a close quote and you can delete the bad one. Seems a little more straightforward than typing a d. :slight_smile: