Wasn’t that the craziest key convention ever, though? What could they have been thinking? Surely the sensible thing to do would have been to make the one pair opt-[ and opt-], and the other pair shit-opt-[ and shift-opt-].
Keyboard shortcuts are a solution to the problem but shouldn’t the question be why there is a problem at all?
I am writing in Scrivener in German and the quotation marks, double and single, are different to the English ones. But I assume the code replacing the typed straight quotes is the same for both languages.
And for me there is only one way to get a wrong quotation mark, i. e. an apostrophe instead, when I first type the closing single quotation mark behind a number and only after that the opening one. Then the closing single quotation mark is wrong and not the opening one like @bimbogumbo described it. Although both English and German are left to right languages. Weird. Any suggestion, Apple?
Open quotes are default for numbers because you might be saying. “I was an Air Force officer in the ‘80s and ‘90s.” Those quotes, if they’re curly, should be open. That default becomes a problem if, for some odd reason, you want ’1’.
(I don’t know if the quotes are curly in this post, or if so are open on the left, but they would be in Scrivener.
I might be exceeding my English language skills here—my native language is German—but I dare say that you are wrong.
In ’80s the character before the 8 must not be a single opening quotation mark but an apostrophe (which looks like a single closing quotation mark). Because it’s an omission ( e. g. from 1980s) and for omissions you use apostrophes, like in it’s.
It seems—again, evaluated by someone using it in German—that the Apple Text Engine algorithm always inserts, like many word processors I know, an opening single quotation mark when typing ' at the beginning of a paragraph, after a space, or after opening brackets, notwithstanding if a letter or a number follows.
When typing ' after a letter, a number, a closing bracket, or a punctation mark the algorithm always inserts an apostrophe, unless it detects a matching opening single quotation mark. Then it replaces—at times quite visibly—the apostrophe by a single closing quotation mark.
So it is the apostrophe at the beginning of a sequence of characters—not only in combination with numbers, ’ello!—that has to be inserted manually.
You are correct. Blame it on yet another senior moment. If I’d been at a computer, I would have tested or googled it. My post (written in Chrome) did as you suggest, but I couldn’t see it in the tiny screen on my phone. That said, my point was that the default behavior is the cause of getting both quotes facing the same direction when enclosing a number in curly quotes — and that is true.
Sorry, but they are not. They are two different characters (in XML and in HTML since version 5 for example ' and ’). Apostrophe and single closing quotation mark just happen to look the same in English and maybe other languages I don’t know of. They do not look the same at all in, like, German or French.
And that’s not me being finicky. It’s very important to know the distinction between the two for programmers of apps working with text. For example, Mellel always uses the single closing quotation mark, even and wrongly inside of words. And LibreOffice gives the detection of a matching opening single quotation mark priority and therefore uses single closing quotation marks inside of words more often erroneously than the Apple Text Engine.
It’s a matter of good and not so good replacing algorithms, not of perfection. For that human minds are still need. (AI, anybody?)
I’ve been doing some experimenting and investigating. Technically, @suavito is right, and we need to take into consideration:
that other Roman alphabet languages like German, French and Spanish, have different conventions for quote marks, and in those languages the apostrophe may be an entirely separate glyph;
and that, in English at least, there are going to be edge cases where the apostrophe indicating elision occurs at the start of a “word”, e.g. '90s for example or (call me old-fashioned!) 'flu.
That said only two glyphs seem to be used, those for plain single quote/“Typewriter apostrophe” and smart/“Typographers single closing quote”.
So ’, the html-code ’ and using the single quote on the keyboard (which compiles as ’) before “flu” when compiled to HTML all use the “Typographer’s single closing quote” or something identical; by contrast ' uses the “plain single quote”.
On those grounds, it would seem to me that using ' in a text where all the quote marks are Typographer’s quotes would be bad typography; the use of plain quotes in HTML texts having been deprecated for some years, and a plai quote amongst typographer’s quotes would look unfortunate.
There is actually another glyph ′ ′, ′, which should be used for “foot”, i.e. 12 inches, with a “double prime” which I haven’t investigated for inch… and presumably in mathematical notation.
How each of these is rendered in printed/screen form will be down to the font in use.