Re: Entering quotation marks (derives from Re: proposal for a "Standard-Exit" or "Namespace" character)

From: Jukka K. Korpela (
Date: Wed Apr 15 2009 - 12:32:19 CDT

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    William_J_G Overington wrote:

    > Suppose that someone is wishing to enter the following text, which
    > includes eleven punctuation characters, into Microsoft WordPad.
    > “I saw Jane at the supermarket, in the fruit section: she said ‘Is
    > John still researching?’ and bought a punnet of reddish-orange
    > apricots; then she bought some dates!” said Edith.
    > What would be the best way to do that?

    It depends on your values. “Best” is (nominally) an absolute concept,
    referring to a maximum, but it is unavoidably relative to the ordering
    defined by someone somehow. Of course, it also depends on the context.

    In a typical situation (of an office worker), the simplest way is to open
    Microsoft Word, type the text using the keys for " and ', letting the
    program convert them, and then copy and paste into WordPad, if that’s where
    you want the text.

    In some other situation, the best way might be to use a keyboard layout I
    previously referred to, a layout where the keys or key combinations that
    normally produce " and ' generate ” and ’ instead and generate “ and ‘ when
    used with AltGr. For example.

    > Suppose that one is posting in a forum and wishes to enter the above
    > text into the forum. What would be the best way to do that?

    The same considerations apply. However, many forums still have very limited
    character repertoire, so you should—independently of the typing issue—check
    what characters you can really use there safely.

    >> For example, you could define (or ask someone define for
    >> you) a keyboard settings where the key with the "
    >> character produces “ when used as such and ” when used
    >> with AltGr key. Or something like that. Similarly, you could
    >> replace the underline _ (which is rarely needed in normal
    >> prose) by the en dash –. When you write computer code
    >> where the Ascii " is needed, you simply switch to
    >> “normal” keyboard settings (e.g., Ctrl+something).
    > Can one do that using Microsoft WordPad?

    Certainly. And even Notepad.

    > Is there some underlying operating system facility that will handle
    > it or something that one can install?

    Just the keyboard driver.

    > I know that one can use the Alt key in WordPad though the facility is
    > provided by the operating system rather than the WordPad program.
    > For example Alt 130 and Alt 142 can be used to produce the accented
    > characters in the following.

    That’s a different issue, not related to keyboard layout. Those methods have
    their uses, though they are hard to remember and difficult to use especially
    on portable computers that usually lack numeric keypad. Anyway, it’s at a
    different level of processing.


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