Quote Following Emdash. Has This Changed?

I’ve been noticing that Scrivener makes the wrong guess when it curlifies the quotation mark following an emdash:

I’m curious as to whether this has changed recently or whether I just didn’t notice it before. I know how to fix it, but it would be better if it made the right guess.

Nothing’s changed here as far as I can see. Apple’s Smartquotes algorithm is behaving as usual and as it should. Whether you get a close quote mark or an open quote mark after the emdash has nothing to do with the dash itself; it depends on whether the last previous quotation mark was open or close.

In that case, something’s broken. Here’s a test case. You can see that in Microsoft Word (right), it’s okay, but in Scrivener (left), it’s not:

Can’t replicate this at all — I’m seeing the correct result in both Word and Scrivener.

If you see the same bad behavior in TextEdit, look in the Keyboard panel of System Preferences, at the Text panel. There are a variety of choices off on the right for the behavior of Double and Single quotes; you might have the wrong Double Quotes choice selected there. You’ll want the top choices for both Double and Single Quotes. Scrivener relies on these System level text preferences; Word doesn’t.

As far as I know, that has been a “quirk” of Apple’s typography system for years. You may wish to fix the problem yourself, using the System Preferences: Keyboard: Text tab (of better yet, if you have your own text expansion tool, fix it there).

Well, shoot! What’s going on?

It also works fine on my laptop.

When I uncheck “Use smart quotes and dashes” in the System Preferences, Scrivener still uses Smart Quotes. So does TextEdit (and it fails in the same way).

Does that mean some other app is getting involved??

Also, if I copy in text with straight quotes, then choose Convert Quotes to Smart Quotes, I get the same failure.

To demonstrate, I’ve chosen the << style but turned off “Use smart quotes,” but Scriv still uses them:

I’m sure this is a recent thing—I would have noticed if it’s been like this all along.

I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone.

Okay, thanks. This fixed it (I should say works around the problem):

Note this: Changes in the System Preferences dialog are implemented in TextEdit immediately, but in Scrivener only after Scriv is closed and reopened. Good to know if you are experimenting.

Any software can override the system global setting, either through settings or on the fly menu toggles. We use a combination of the two, with the punctuation settings in the Corrections preference pane which establishes the behaviour for new projects, and the toggles in the Edit ▸ Substitutions (standard place to look in Mac software, by the way). This is identical to how TextEdit works: new “file” settings + per document overrides that are persistent to the document.

I’m pretty sure it has been this way for years, but since it is technically a style error, it may be that in some contextual cases it works properly, but generally we see the improper usage.

If you’ve updated to macOS 10.15 already, note Apple now has a “Feedback Assistant” tool. I’m not actually sure how to get to it, since the tool itself is buried in a system folder—but try Spotlight, that’s basically how I found it (different tool, same idea).

Apple has surely received thousands of reports on this one by now, but I see no reason to not continue hounding them for it. :slight_smile:

Yes, Spotlight found it, but it says:

Join the Apple Beta Software Program to use
Feedback Assistant to report general usability
issues with Software Betas.

I’m curious about why it would work on my Macbook and not my iMac. It will be interesting if it starts happened when I upgrade the Macbook to Catalina.

Ah, okay, I guess they hide it for a reason then. :slight_smile: It was in the Dock I think during the developer beta period. Well, they do have their feedback webpage.

I’ve noticed that one myself.

What I do to force closed-quotes after an em dash (US keyboard) is this:


That’s option, shift, and the [ or { character pressed in combination. It produces the ” (close quote) character.

in scriviner specifically end quotes were definitely being turned around correctly after em dashes previously! this issue definitely seems to be tied to upgrading to OS X catalina.

Afraid not. I noticed it several OS releases back. It’s not new to Catalina.