"Hal E. Fulton" <hfulton / austin.rr.com> writes:

> However, what we use here (email, ordinary text
> files, etc.) is not typography, nor do we have any 
> way of rendering it as such (other than the system
> many people use of substituting a backtick for a
> left single quote and a single quote for a right
> single quote).

Except the documents _are_ being rendered typographically as well -
the same source is used for pdf output and for html output (it fact in 
the case of the reference pages the same source is actually being
directly typeset). I can't think of a reliable way of changing
backticks to single quotes automatically.

> Notice that in a "real" typeset book, a quote (single or
> double) leans toward the thing being quoted. But the
> single and double quotes that we use are vertical (" ')
> showing that they serve as both left- and right-hand 
> quotes.

From that I'd guess you're a Windows user. I just popped over to my NT 
box, and you're right, the ` and ' are not symmetrical there. On my
Linux box under X, however, they make a perfectly matched pair, just
as they would when typeset.

I wonder if there's a Windows codepage that represents the ` and '
characters better?

> But I don't believe there is a typing teacher (or a book or 
> magazine publisher) who actually condones this, much less
> teaches it. Go look it up in the _Chicago Manual of Style_ or
> in any publisher's manuscript guidelines, and please correct
> me if I am wrong.

Well... you'll find many examples in the CMoS that _do_ differentiate
open and closed quotes, both single and double. In fact, in any book
you pick up, you'll see the same differentiation. The problem isn't
the convention. The problem is that Windows fonts fail to represent `
and ' as paired characters. Go figure...

Dave