I need a macro that expands an argument into the string { "argument"}. The following macro seems to do the trick:

\newcommand{\myquote}[1]{\{ "{#1}"\}}

This macro produces for the input xyzzy{\myquote{fubar}} the output xyzzy{ ”fubar”} which is what I expect.

However, the macro seizes to work properly once I add the package ngerman to my document by writing in the header \usepackage{ngerman}. Now the input xyzzy{\myquote{fubar}} no longer produces the expected output, but instead results in an error when running latex:

! ngerman: The command "fubar is undefined.

I have tried to modify the macro with

\newcommand{\myquote}[1]{\{ \noexpand"{#1}\noexpand"\}}

This gets rid of the error, but the quotes " are not displayed at all anymore. The observed output becomes xyzzy{ fubar} instead of the expected one (the quotes are simply missing).

How do I need to write the macro that produces the expected output even in the presence of the ngerman package?

[Edit] Clarification: The macro is needed as a marker for a post-processor. Thus, there must not be typographical quotes, but regular double quotes.[/Edit]

  • 1
    The ngerman package is obsolete, use \usepackage[ngerman]{babel} instead. This will also solve the error. – Qrrbrbirlbel Jun 25 '13 at 13:15
  • Use the csquotes package. – Daniel Jun 25 '13 at 13:15
  • What about \newcommand{\myquote}[1]{\{ ``#1''\}}? – Sigur Jun 25 '13 at 13:28
  • @Qrrbrbirlbel Using \usepackage[ngerman]{babel} indeed solves the issue. csquotes is not needed. – user8472 Jun 25 '13 at 13:31
  • @user8472: However, with csquotes you gain independence from the loaded font as well as other language packages that may turn " into an active character. – Daniel Jun 25 '13 at 13:34

The ngerman package is obsolete and should be replaced with the babel package loaded with the ngerman option.

As the default font Computer Modern creates still not the up-quotes " but the English closing quotes you should us the T1 font encoding (you should use it anyway for a German text) and the lmodern fonts (or whatever font you prefer).


\usepackage{lmodern}% or libertine …


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The excellent csquotes package provides a convenient interface to all kinds of quotation problems. Main purpose is typographically correct quotation, but it also provides commands to directly access all kinds of quotation characters.




  Text in \enquote{typographischen Anführungsstrichen} oder \myquote{anderen Anführungsstrichen}.


enter image description here

  • If I understand the OP correctly he doesn’t want typographical correct quotes but " (and all enclosed in { and }). – Qrrbrbirlbel Jun 25 '13 at 13:21
  • Yes, I need the regular quote character ". The { and } are easy to add (I have just added them for completeness to my question). – user8472 Jun 25 '13 at 13:24
  • @user8472: See updated answer – Daniel Jun 25 '13 at 13:30

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