[scribus] Quotes -- or, about typographical conventions

John Culleton john at wexfordpress.com
Mon Aug 8 14:27:35 UTC 2011

On Monday, August 08, 2011 06:59:25 am John Ghormley KJ4UFG wrote:
> On Mon, Aug 8, 2011 at 6:00 AM, Meho R. <mehor at gmx.com> wrote:
> > As for quotes, John hasn't answered my question: aren't straight
> > quotation marks considered an error in english? I've witnessed a 
lot of
> > typographical discussions among professional book designers and
> > typesetters, but I've never seen a single one of them who's been 
> > straight quotes. So, I'm curious, why would John choose them over 
> > common curly quotes?
> > 
> > Assuming, as I would prefer not to have to do, the John you refer 
to is
> > me,
> my answer is going to be a qualified one.  Straight quotes are NOT
> considered an error in English in the USA.  In typography, straight 
> are considered improper by traditional typography standards, 
however, in
> many other forms of composition, they are definitely NOT considered 
> error or improper, but, rather are accepted as proper notation.  My
> apologies for failing to answer your question.  I took is as 
> rather than a request for information.

Traditional typographic standards are also current typographical 
standards. No printed document in English should use the foot sign or 
the inch sign to replace typographically correct single or double 
quotation marks. The use of the inch sign and foot sign is a way to 
work around the shortcomings of the 19th Century QWERTY keyboard 
layout, just as three periods are a workaround for keyboards/software 
that lack the ellipsis glyph.

BTW the typeset ellipsis should be added to the list of glyphs 
selectable by menu in the Story Editor. I would place it at the 
bottom of the list because it is not used that often.

Scribus prepares files for printing, not emails, not double spaced 
typewritten manuscripts, not texting messages. Therefore when an inch 
sign is typed the Scribus software should substitute the left or 
right double quote mark automatically, left if preceded by space or 
newline, right in all other cases. 

Happily the autoquote script does this, and handles the needs of non-
English languages too. It needs to be highlighted in all manuals on 
Scribus. It is not mentioned in The Scribus Manual or 
Scribus 1.3.5 Beginners Guide by Cedric Gemy, perhaps because it is 
very new. 

This John, John Culleton, comes down on the side of typographic 
standards. If there were a way to use curly quotes in an email I 
would use them here too. Perhaps I will use Gvim as my email 

John Culleton

"Death Wore Black" Police procedural: http://www.deathworeblack.com/

"Create Book Covers with Scribus"
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