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Subject: Re: [docbook-apps] Apostrophe in docbook document


Ron Catterall wrote:
> Could somebody tell me which is the correct symbol to use for apostrophe.
> The HTML special characters entity set has apos #x27 where apos
> presumably stands for apostrophe - this is the straight up single quote
> mark which XML defines and uses for special purposes.

It’s advised not to use it for apostrophe. It should be used only in
programming languages, XML, etc. So, as you said, for special purposes.

> The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on-line tells me:
> "The omission of one or more letters in a word.
> A sign (') used to indicate the omission of one or more letters or
> numerals (as in can't, o'er, 'cello; spirit of '76 (i.e. 1776)), or in
> marking the possessive case (man's, boys')."
> So SOED appears to use apos.  Do they know, or just confused?  Or could
> it be a UK/US difference?
> (I've always used the keyboard ' for XML use and apos when I want the
> apostrophe in text.)

You must be one of the very rare ones!

> Wikipedia tells me:
> "The apostrophe is different from the closing single quotation mark
> (usually rendered identically but serving a quite different purpose),
> and from the similar-looking prime (which is used to indicate
> measurement in feet or arcminutes, and for various mathematical purposes)."
> So Wiki tells me use rsquo  #x2019 (#8217) which looks like an
> apostrophe, and not to use apos or prime (#x2032)
> but also:
> "The prime symbol should not be confused with the apostrophe, single
> quotation mark, acute accent or grave accent."

Not sure you will be pleased by this, but to my knowledge Unicode
defines only one code point for both the apostrophe and the right single
quotation mark (U+2019). There are different code points for prime
(U+2032) and acute accent (U+00B4), though. Strictly speaking, I suppose
that there should be two different code points for apostrophe and right
single quotation mark, that would be rendered using the same glyph by
most fonts. I don’t know if this is an oversight from the Unicode
Standard committee or if it was deliberately done so because that would
otherwise be splitting hair too much.

Quote from the Unicode Standard, version 5.2:
    ‘Punctuation Apostrophe. U+2019 right single quotation mark is
    preferred where the character is to represent a punctuation mark, as
    for contractions: “We’ve been here before.” In this latter case,
    U+2019 is also referred to as a punctuation apostrophe.’
And also:
    ‘When text is set, U+2019 right single quotation mark is preferred
    as apostrophe, but only U+0027 is present on keyboards. Word
    processors commonly offer a facility for automatically converting
    the U+0027 apostrophe to a contextually selected curly quotation


> Jacques Foucry wrote:
>> On 25 janv. 2010, at 17:30, Mathieu Malaterre wrote:
>> Hello,
>>> #3 is the fastest to type. #2 and #4 are ugly to read when editing
>>> the .xml file using text file. How about solution #1
>> In my source document I use the single quote (#4). In my custom
>> stylesheet I change them by the curly quote (#1).
>>     <xsl:param name="singlequote">
>>         <xsl:text>'</xsl:text>
>>     </xsl:param>
>>     <xsl:param name="curlyquote">
>>         <xsl:text>’</xsl:text>
>>     </xsl:param>
>>     <xsl:template match="d:para/text() | d:title/text()">
>>         <xsl:value-of select="translate(.,$singlequote,$curlyquote)"/>
>>     </xsl:template>
>> I do not change for <computeroutput> or <litteral> tags.
>> Jacques

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