Statalist


[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date index][Thread index]

RE: st: RE: apostrophes, quotation marks, left or right quotes?


From   "Nick Cox" <n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk>
To   <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   RE: st: RE: apostrophes, quotation marks, left or right quotes?
Date   Tue, 26 Feb 2008 14:26:24 -0000

This very careful response is, in my view, really for StataCorp to
consider. I have only one comment, 
intended half-humorously: when I think of the number of keyboards, I
imagine counting keyboards, not 
types of keyboards, i.e. I weight by number of machines. 

Dirk Enzmann

Reply to:
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/lwgate/STATALIST/archives/statalist.
0802/date/article-1051.html 

Nick,

your are correct in pointing to the difficulty that showing how the 
characters on the screen look like depends on the (screen) font used. 
But the fact that many people have difficulties using the single quotes 
correctly points to the necessity to improve the explanation.

To my mind the explanation should address the three problems mentioned 
in my previous mail. May I suggest a solution that considers/focuses on 
(1) the language for denoting the keys/signs,  (2) a demonstration of 
the appearance of the signs, (3) a description on how to produce it with

your keyboard? Let's try:

(1) To denote the signs "left" and "right" quotes makes sense from the 
perspective of reading command syntax or describing the function of the 
single quotes as starting and ending quotes. But it is not helpful for 
producing the signs with a keyboard because on a keyboard "left" and 
"right" quotes do not exist. Instead, there are accent keys, a key for 
single quotes (apostrophe), and a key for double quotes (quotation 
mark). Thus, don't use "left quote" and "right quote" if you refer to 
the keyboard. To explain in words which signs have to be used for left 
and right quotes, I suggest the following:

-------------------------------------------------------------------
A "left" quote is produced by the accent key that produces an accent 
starting top left ("accent grave" or backtick). A "right" quote is 
produced by the single quote key (apostrophe).
-------------------------------------------------------------------

(2) It is important to show how the signs look like. Because in printing

often curved quotes are used that do not exist on keyboards, I suggest 
to use Svend Juuls advice because it is reproducible for everybody, 
supplemented by a demonstration of its appearance using Courier font:

-------------------------------------------------------------------
The appearance of the quotes printed often differs from how they look on

your keyboard and screen. Try 'help quotes' to see how they look on the 
screen. Using Courier font, the word "shortcut" inclosed in "left" and 
"right" quotes looks like this: `shortcut' .
-------------------------------------------------------------------

(3) The manual is wrong in describing where to find the keys "on most 
keyboards": The description is correct only for the US keyboard, even 
the UK keyboard is different, let alone the 20 other keyboards shown at 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyboard_layout . As far as I could infer 
from this wikipedia article keyboards that allow to produce the accent 
grave ("left" quote) by a single stroke are rare. Naturally, the US and 
UK allows it, however, on most of the others it is located on a dead key

(a dead key produces no output when it is pressed, but modifies the 
output of the next key pressed after it). On these keyboards, you 
produce it by pressing the "shift"-"dead key"-combination of the "accent

grave"-key followed by pressing the space bar (rather laborious, but on 
some keyboards even this is impossible, see the Italian keyboard). 
Therefore, I suggest the following:

-------------------------------------------------------------------
Keyboard layouts differ. The only safe thing to say is that the "left" 
quote corresponds to the decimal ASCII code 96, whereas the "right" 
quote corresponds to the decimal ASCII code 39. On most keyboards the 
"left" quote is produced by pressing a dead key, meaning that nothing is

produced until you hit the spacebar (on many US and UK keyboards you can

simply press the upper left key).
-------------------------------------------------------------------

To sum it up, here my suggestion to explain how the quotes look like and

how to produce them:

-------------------------------------------------------------------
It is important to distinguish two kinds of single quotes: starting or 
"left quotes" and ending or "right quotes". Single quotes are often 
printed as curved quotes. The appearance of quotes thus printed often 
differs from how they look on your keyboard and screen. Try 'help 
quotes' to see how they look on the screen. Using Courier font, the word

"shortcut" inclosed in left and right quotes looks like this: `shortcut'

. Keyboard layouts differ. The only safe thing to say is that the left 
quote corresponds to the decimal ASCII code 96, whereas the right quote 
corresponds to the decimal ASCII code 39. On most keyboards the left 
quote is produced by pressing a dead key, meaning that nothing is 
produced until you hit the spacebar (on many US and UK keyboards you can

simply press the upper left key). A left quote is produced by pressing 
the key(-combination) that produces an accent starting top left ("accent

grave" or backtick). A right quote is produced by pressing the single 
quote key (apostrophe).
-------------------------------------------------------------------

(Of course, when printing this explanation make sure to use Courier font

for the example `shortcut'.)

HTH,
Dirk

P.S.: Sorry for using a.m. without thinking. I meant to abbreviate 
"above mentioned".


*
*   For searches and help try:
*   http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/res/findit.html
*   http://www.stata.com/support/statalist/faq
*   http://www.ats.ucla.edu/stat/stata/



© Copyright 1996–2014 StataCorp LP   |   Terms of use   |   Privacy   |   Contact us   |   What's new   |   Site index