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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Don't Let Word Trip You Up on Curly Apostrophes!

It took me forever to learn this trick and I didn't know it to put it into The Frugal Editor.  All I knew was that I struggled with it because all my books are written colloquially rather than like texts.  (-:  So, here is a link for information on colloquial contractions which have curly apostrophes that go the opposite way from the ones that Word wants to put in your manuscript.

Having said that, here is the absolutely brilliant trick to use that will save you tons of time as you type your manuscript. Most people just avoid the need for them or think that the copy and paste function--one mistaken apostrophe at a time!--is the only way to go.  

Here it is. Picture the colloquial use of 'em for "them."  Now picture the curly ' instead of the straight one.  Your Word program will get it wrong every time.  The Daily Writing Tips above tell you :

"[The punctuation mark used in these cases] is the same as the one used for apostrophes. However, if you use smart, or curly, quotes, your word processing program will probably incorrectly render an apostrophe not preceded by a letter — as in the last word in the opening sentence — as an open single quotation mark, so you have to outwit the witless program by copying and pasting a closed single quotation mark or an apostrophe, or typing a character followed by the proper mark, then deleting the first character."

Trust me on this. Your best editors may not catch this because we're also so used to working with straight quotes and apostrophes. But your book's manuscript should use the straight ones. So read this twice, if you need to, and then print it out where you'll see it every day so you don't forget. (-:


Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults. and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success (How To Do It Frugally series of book for writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at , where writers will find lists and other helps including Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog. She tweets writers' resources at . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

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