W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > spec-prod@w3.org > July to September 2005

Curly quotes in W3C specs

From: Elliotte Harold <elharo@metalab.unc.edu>
Date: Sat, 30 Jul 2005 10:13:49 -0400
Message-ID: <42EB8B1D.8000505@metalab.unc.edu>
To: spec-prod@w3.org

A minor point, but one that perceptibly enhances the appearance of W3C
specs: I was wondering if it was perhaps time to start using curly
quotes in W3C specs. For instance, here's the abstract from the recently 
published CSS3 Values
and Units draft:

This CSS3 module describes the various values and units that CSS
properties accept. Also, it describes how values are computed from
"specified" (which is what the cascading process yields) through
"computed" and "used" into "actual" values.

It could (and probably should) be

  This CSS3 module describes the various values and units that CSS
properties accept. Also, it describes how values are computed from
“specified” (which is what the cascading process yields) through
“computed” and “used” into “actual” values.

As well as being typographically correct, this would also make it
clearer when quotes were part of the language syntax and when they were
being used as real quote marks.

The relevant section is 11.3:

     * Use correct punctuation. A hard copy of The Chicago Manual of 
Style or The Gregg Reference Manual may be of some help.
     * Remember you are typing HTML or XML not TeX. Use quotation marks 
rather than grave accents and apostrophes to quote text (e.g., ``value'' 
should read "value").

I don't think the Chicago manual of Style discusses the difference 
between straight and curly quotes, but it does consistently use curly 
quotes. However. although the second point clearly refers to differences 
between TeX and HTML, some editors are interpreting it as forbidding 
curly quotes. I suggest adding a third point like so:

* Quotation marks used simply as quotation marks (i.e. not as part of 
language syntax) should be the Unicode characters  0x201C (“) and 0x201D 
(”). These may be inserted with the HTML entity references &ldquo; and 
&rdquo; respectively.

The language could be cleaned up, but you get the idea.

-- 
Elliotte Rusty Harold  elharo@metalab.unc.edu
XML in a Nutshell 3rd Edition Just Published!
http://www.cafeconleche.org/books/xian3/
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0596007647/cafeaulaitA/ref=nosim
Received on Saturday, 30 July 2005 14:13:56 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Saturday, 10 March 2012 06:19:13 GMT