Quotation marks and apostrohes

Last year, my editor had difficulty finding and changing straight apostrophes to curly ones…L&L, like Word, doesn’t seem to know that apostrophes exist. I used to use single quotation marks all the time, but we need to change that for publication. I can change universally in L&L, but that then gives me double quotes where an apostrophe should be.

Most often the apostrophe, even curled, is going in the wrong direction. It thinks it is a single quotation mark.

ATM my manuscript is half straight and half curly because I changed midstream. I can’t change throughout…that in itself is an issue if someone could help.

Hi lindy,

I think this is very easy to solve - don’t panic - I’m not seeing any problem yet. So just to understand:

  1. Your sentences with the quotationmarks would have to be at the beginning of the line a lot, wouldn’t they? (I’d have to try that case) Or do they have a space before the quotation marks? (would be the best case)
  2. But what should certainly be the case is that before the end of your closing character is the period - right?
  3. If that’s the case (2) and you now use the “apostrophe” as a genitive apostrophe and there’s a s and after that comes a s - then just sing with the three little birds …:notes: every little thing, will gonna be alright​:notes:…
    Apostrophe stands with the genetive s isn’t it…? - I don’t know which key is being pressed there. But if it’s the genitive, then we get that 100pro. May you please take a scrennshot (screenshot by default cmd, shift 4 - cmd, shift 5)to know what where talking about - just as an example - start and ending of your sentences? and what it should look like. and tell me please which key you’re pressing - Both cases work fine for me in Scriv.
    And do I have to know what “your ATM” is?

Cheerz, Ape Kid

And please don’t be surprised by the strange questions. You will understand in a moment why I asked them.

Scrivener has a text tidying tool for converting straight to curly. Does this not work for you?


Side note: Any straight apostrophe’s can be uniquely targeted by the fact that there is an alphabetic character immediately before and immediately after it. A RegEx formula in your Search & Replace can thus be used to replace them with a curly apostrophe. I am not a RegEx expert, so I will leave it to someone else to suggest the code for this, if this is something you need done.

I do not see why searching & replace on your single quote marks would produce double-quote marks. Can you clarify the problem you are having with this. Are you aware that you can directly type curly quote marks of all kinds right on your keyboard?

Finally, if there is a space before your straight apostrophe, then it will get interpreted as an open single quote. This will happen if you are saying things like “I did it ‘cause you said to.” I am uncertain which way the apostrophe for the deletion is supposed to go, but if it should be the opposite way, then you would need to do some separate search and replace to catch these special cases.

The trick is to dumb everything down and then smarten it all up. Although any conversion tool should be smart enough to leave existing smarts alone when converting to smarts.

My free Literary Toolbox IV and Text Toolbox II Keyboard Maestro palette (compatible with Scrivener) has a number of battle-hardened tools for doing that, including switching from single to double or back.

A really nice Tool for Bulk-Text-Editing-Tasks which I lately discovered and might help for this is WordService. App-Store. Free. Hooks in the secondary click menu - always at your side. I use it for translating text which I copy and paste into DeepL and therefore delete all line breaks or doubled spaces bars. Really cool. Works very well. No Costs so - I’ll guarantee you money back for this month. :wink:

Thank you Michael. I downloaded WordService but it seems to be a grammar tool, not typography one which is what I need.

Thanks. I’ll take a look.

so, are you saying I should do a RegEx search like this — s’s. ?

No I don’t search for single quote marks. What I meant was, if I do a blanket ‘change all’ from straight to curly quote marks, the apostrophes turn double! However I tried it out on Word yesterday and I can do that, then do a simplesearch for "s as a first step to getting rid of doubled apostrophes. However Im a novelist and often want to drop or use an inverted comma before a word, example him and 'im…in slang…and he single quotation becomes the opening quote, which curls a different way from closing quote marks.

  1. As I say, I am not the right person to guide you on regEx, but I think you do not want to use ‘s’ in the regEx, since that matches ANY character whatsoever including spaces. You just want to catch apostrophes flanked by alphabetic characters. The token ‘w’ matches on alphabetic characters.

  2. I am now wondering if the typescript you are trying to quote-convert uses single-quote marks for quotation/speech as well as for for apostrophe. That would explain the mystery of why when you try to do a replace for these things your apostrophes get doubled.

  3. If (2) is correct, it seems like you need steps as follows, a) curl all the embedded apostrophes (ignoring apostrophes of elision), then b) convert straight single quote marks to straight double quote marks, then c) use Scrivener’s built-in command Edit > Transformations > Convert Quotes to Smart Quotes, then d) you will need to walk through all the instances of space-Character-followed-by-curly-open-double-quote to find all instances of elision, in order to turn those into curly apostrophes. Best I can figure.

gr. you are a doll. (If I may say that). I had no idea about L&L’s transformations…I did reset in preferences but it didn’t do anything for the first half of my manuscript. Transformations has just changed everything. Thank you for your persistence :slight_smile:


I think s and w are not tokens, @gr. \s and \w are. Am I confused?

If you’re not, I am by your comment. If, however, you can help me solve my quotation mark/apostrophe problem, please say more.

Lookup the ascii codes for quote, double quote, and apostrophe (straight and curly), and this could help:

quotes and regEx

More here:

RegEx in Scrivener

Thaks for this advice, I’ve written it down to pursue later. I need to learn some of that stuff.

In the meantime, I found a workaround that won’t be too onerous IMO.

Scrivener ATM has single quotes. Transfer like that.

Search in Word to change all to “ double quotes which will include apostrophes in the possessive case etc.

Then Search for “s. and a universal change to ‘single’ quotation mark for those items only.

This process should give curly quotation marks and apostrophes throughout which is what I want in the end.

You likely also have contractions like can't and don't. So, it is not just possessives that you will need to address, if you go that route.

Yes, you’re right, it is a nightmare…I may have to leave the the punctuation alone. But, for. now, I’ll add 't for can’t don’t haven’t. any other endings like that tyou can think of, please tell me. If there are more, I’ll try and pick them up myself because if I have a good list, I should be able to change them all b search and change 's and 't ++

Before you change things, FIND and study them. Then you’ll have a better chance. Search for apostrophe using regEx and see what’s going on.