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Formatting Information — An introduction to typesetting with LATEX

Chapter 1: Writing documents

Section 1.8: Quotation marks

If you are using XƎLATEX and UTF-8, you can use your operating system’s curly ‘open-quote’ and ‘close-quote’ characters.

Otherwise, use the ` key (grave-accent or ‘backtick’) for the opening quote, and the ' (apostrophe) key for the closing quote, doubled if you want double quotes; LATEX will automatically typeset these as real quotes:

He said, ``I'm just going out.''

He said, ‘‘I’m just going out.’’

This ensures you get real left-hand (opening) and right-hand (closing) ‘curly quotes’, usually shaped like tiny 66 and 99 characters, or as symmetrically-balanced strokes in sans-serif or script typefaces.

DO NOT use the unidirectional typewriter single-quote ' key (apostrophe) or double-quote  " key (quotes) for opening quotes: LATEX treats these as closing quotes only.

However, if you are using Emacs as your editor, the " key is specially programmed in latex-mode to think for itself and produce correct `` and '' characters automatically.

When typing one quotation inside another, they need to be separated by a small amount of space. The Thin Space character used for this is code 0x2009 but it’s not on most keyboards, so LATEX provides the command \thinspace. This leaves just enough separation between double and single quotes — leaving no space would make them look like triple-quotes, and using a normal space is too much and could allow an unwanted linebreak:

He said, `Her answer was ``never''\thinspace', and she 
meant it.

He said, ‘Her answer was ‘‘never’’ ’, and she meant it.

Browser fonts and spacing

If you are reading this in a browser, or if you have typeset the document yourself using different fonts, it may not show you real quotes (some older browser fonts are defective) and the \thinspace may look too wide. Download the typeset (PDF) version of this document to see the real effect, and switch to a standards-compliant browser.