About an hour ago, I asked a question on rpg.stackexchange. As many times before, my question was edited by another user. I am always thankful when someone goes to the bother of cleaning up my messy questions. But I noticed one thing in particular, that always gets edited, not only in my questions, but in other questions as well.

My quotation marks and apostrophes that look like this

” ’

, get replaced with quotation marks and apostrophes that look like this

" '

I'm not a font expert, so I don't know if one set of punctuation marks is better than the other one or if there is some other reason, why the straight quotation marks and apostrophes are preferred over the curvy ones. I usually write my questions in Microsoft Word, then copy them over here and edit them a little. English is not my native language, so I use Word to check my spelling. That seems to be the reason why my questions contain the curvy ones.

Why are curvy quotation marks and apostrophes undesired on stackexchange?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is this a recurring deal? If so, can you link an example so people can take a more in-depth look at what the edits typically look like? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 10, 2018 at 22:23

1 Answer 1


They are not undesired. Please do feel free to use curly quotes and apostrophes. Those curly quotes and apostrophes should not have been removed.

Overall we respect your writing decisions as the original author, and should not seek to “fix” someone else's writing preferences by replacing them with our own. We may choose to replace your writing style where it increases the post's legibility or readability, but since curly quotes stand to improve legibility we don't have that reason to remove them either.

More broadly we don't have a sitewide preference either way. Use "straight" or “curly” quotes as you please, and don't go overwriting either one with the other in other peoples' posts.

I've reverted part of that edit and pinged the user who made it. Please let us know if this continues.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Sorry about that! \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Aug 7, 2018 at 18:37
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Dumb quotation marks and apostrophes are universal; smart ones could be but as yet still aren't. Just sayin'. (Also see this 2016 article.) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 7, 2018 at 20:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Thanks for understanding. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 7, 2018 at 20:15
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Yeah, part of why I wouldn't try to edit them into others' posts (even if I think they're an improvement over straight quotes) is that lack of universality. Windows keyboards can't type them, Mac keyboards can type them if you know the right combination. Someone who isn't already using smart quotes might not be prepared to maintain using them, so in future revisions will continue using straight quotes and the post will look like a bit of a mess. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 7, 2018 at 20:17
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener As someone who regularly uses Alt 1 4 6 etc., I object to the claim that Windows cannot type curly quotes or apostrophes. :P \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Aug 8, 2018 at 13:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Ok, well you got me there, it is possible if you know your way around a PC well enough. ;) I have autohotkey bindings set up myself to imitate Mac bindings for those characters, and sometimes use ldquo/rdquo html entities. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 8, 2018 at 14:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ (Yeah, I recently got a laptop with no numpad, so I set up an AHK script for it—much better, I’ve been thinking I should port it over to my desktop.) \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Aug 8, 2018 at 14:16
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ Oh, I actually have something useful to contribute: and are “curly quotation marks”—originally, “smart” quotation marks referred to those that automatically became or based on their placement in text. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Aug 8, 2018 at 19:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Hooray! Thank you, I was not sure which one it was because it looked like it was getting used interchangeably. That clarifies so much. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 8, 2018 at 20:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not to mention that anyone who's familiar with HTML can use "curly" quotes in Questions and Answers (but not comments) by using the HTML entities lsquo, rsquo, ldquo, and rdquo. I do it all the time... \$\endgroup\$ Aug 20, 2018 at 16:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Overall we respect your writing decisions as the original author" - Answer "English is not my native language, so I use Word to check my spelling. That seems to be the reason why my questions contain the curvy ones." - OP. To me it doesn't sound like the curvy ones are a decision made by the OP, but rather a side effect of the spellchecking process he has in place. Can't we just continue editing them out assuming OP doesn't actually mind but just came here to ask about it out of curiosity? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 28, 2019 at 13:18
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @RyanfaeScotland We should not be editing out curly quotes regardless of how they got there unless there's a very good reason. We should not be replacing either style of quotes with the other as it's purely a personal style change that does not improve the post. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 28, 2019 at 13:23

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