# pdflatex: how to distinguish between apostrophe and single right quotation mark?

Continuing the comment "If a word processor/typesetter is used that distinguishes single quotes from apostrophes..." in https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/286321/distinguishing-apostrophes-from-quotation-marks, does LaTeX have this facility? In this question, I'm primaliry interested in good old pdflatex-based solutions (and only then in xelatex).

Reason: from time to time I have to typeset phrases such as

Originally published in 1965 by Harper & Row in the series 'Harper's series in modern mathematics'.

in British English, where the single quotation marks prevail. Of course, you can circumvent this particular case using another kind of formatting, say, using the double quotes against the BrE convention or using italics:

Originally published in 1965 by Harper & Row in the series Harper's series in modern mathematics.

But I'm wondering whether LaTeX (or any package) provides us with a means to actually solve this problem by distinguishing the apostrophe from the right single quotation mark in British English.

In other terms, I am searching for a means to write the following more elegantly:

\documentclass{book}
\usepackage[T2A,T1]{fontenc}%%% The fontenc package is explicitly loaded with the T2A,T1 argument simply to avoid the warning of babel about missing T2A in the log. As for the order of loading, David Carlisle says in https://tex.stackexchange.com/questions/241452/generating-a-template/241479#241479 that fontenc produces information needed by inputenc (which, however, delays processing till the beginning of the document, which makes the order of these two packages irrelevant). Moreover, in the examples in the documentation of newtx fontenc is always loaded before newtx.
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc} % Native LaTeX umlaut support
\usepackage[USenglish,british,canadian,finnish,latin,russian,french,dutch,german,ngerman]{babel} % warning: last language option will be chosen for fixed text of environments like example or definition (in svmono)
\usepackage{newtxtext}% Load it after babel according to Michael Sharpe's newtx manual from Dec 14, 2017.
\usepackage[slantedGreek]{newtxmath}%% Should be loaded after the text font according to its manual. The default uppercase Greek letters should be slanted according to the SVMono manual.
\usepackage{courier}
\usepackage[babel=true,final=true,verbose=errors,protrusion=true,expansion=true]{microtype}%%% Not strictly needed, but improves on hyphenation. Moreover, some folks say it produces a visually more pleasant text. The options "spacing" is said to be still experimental, and the option "kerning" doesn't make sense unconditionally; that's why we don't use them.
\usepackage{babelbib}
\mathtoolsset{mathic=true} %%% See https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/3496/
\multlinegap=0pt
\usepackage{amssymb}
\usepackage{stmaryrd}
\usepackage{csquotes}
\usepackage[pdftitle={Some clever title},hidelinks,pdfauthor={Myself, the beloved one}]{hyperref}\usepackage{filecontents}
\usepackage[ngerman,capitalize]{cleveref}
\begin{filecontents}{\jobname.bib}
@book{Cohn-UniversalAlgebra1981,
title={Universal algebra},
author={Paul Moritz Cohn},
series={Mathematics and its applications/6},
edition={Revised},
note={Originally published in 1965 by Harper \& Row in the series \textquoteleft Harper\textquotesingle s series in modern mathematics\textquoteright},
year={1981},
publisher={D.~Reidel Publishing Company},
isbn={978-90-277-1254-7},
language={british}
}
@article{CousotCousot-ConstructiveVersionsOfTarskisFixedPointTheorems,
Author = {Patrick Cousot and Radhia Cousot},
Journal = {Pacific Journal of Mathematics},
Language = {USenglish},
Number = 1,
Pages = {43--57},
Title = {Constructive Versions of {T}arski's Fixed Point Theorems},
Volume = 81,
Year = 1979
}
\end{filecontents}
\begin{document}
Sag mal', stimmt's, dass "Die Mathematik ist die Königin der Wissenschaften"' von Gauß stammt?
Hier ein paar Texte dazu: \cite{Cohn-UniversalAlgebra1981,CousotCousot-ConstructiveVersionsOfTarskisFixedPointTheorems}, und hier eine Formel: $$x'=x^{\backprime}+1$$.
\bibliographystyle{babalpha-fl-gs-sort}%%% Avoid problematic abbreviations such as SS and SA, see https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/441877/165772. Also disabmiguate certain repetitions; see https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/472956/165772.
\bibliography{\jobname}
%%% For whatever reason, though the language of the Cohn entry is british, put an \enquote there produces German quotation marks...
\end{document}

• Since Unicode provides only a single code for the right single quote (U+2019), and also shows a note "this is the preferred character to use for apostrophe" for that same character, it is highly unlikely that a distinction can be made between the two when input with the symbol as opposed to a carefully defined macro, especially if the "old style" possessive for a word ending in "s" is used. – barbara beeton Mar 26 '19 at 17:49
• By "old style", I meant something like "Rogers' Pond". Current style prefers "Rogers's Pond". (I'm old enough that that makes me cringe.) PUA characters are dangerous -- unless one has prior agreement among potential users, conflicts can and do arise. – barbara beeton Mar 26 '19 at 18:01
• I don't believe they are different marks. And I don't believe that it causes the least confusion for most readers. It's only ambiguous after an s anyway. As for the "modern style", I cringe whenever I pass "St Thomas' Hospital" when everyone calls it St Thomases (if we don't call it "Tommy's"). OT: Best always to use csquotes. – Paul Stanley Mar 26 '19 at 18:10
• @PaulStanley -- One of the reasons I purposely use an editor that does not try to "correct" me is to avoid the automatic transmogrification of things like an initial apostrophe. When what one is producing is merely an ASCII note, it's assumed that the recipient will be able to figure out what is meant. But when typesetting (and the appearance matters) or parsing in a linguistic context (where meaning matters), resolving the ambiguity isn't straightforward. I've yet to meet a spelling/grammar checker that I can't outfox with much simpler examples. – barbara beeton Mar 26 '19 at 18:57
• @user49915 Actually I don't have even momentary difficulty with the example you give. But it's not my choice. Left to myself I mite do lots of things, like regularize speling, abolish compleetly the unnecesary use of apostrofees to indikate that sumthings been left out, and so forth. But as things stand, there just isnt a way of distingwishing between the aksepted use of an apostrofee to show pozeshun and the ekwaly aksepted use to show kwotation. – Paul Stanley Mar 27 '19 at 10:52

You say that you don't see why you shouldn't use U+0027 for apostrophe and U+2019 for right single quotation mark.

You could do this by using the csquotes package and making ' a babel shorthand for british and defining it as a straight quote. Note that this will use a straight apostrophe everywhere when the current language is british, not just within quotations.

This code works in all TeX engines (including with fontspec).

But I think this is a bad idea and you should stick with U+2019 everywhere.

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage[british,ngerman]{babel}

\languageshorthands{british}%
}
\useshorthands{'}
\defineshorthand[british]{'}{%
\textormath{\textquotesingle}{^{\prime}}}
\defineshorthand[ngerman]{'}{%
\textormath{\textquoteright}{^{\prime}}}

\usepackage[autostyle=true]{csquotes}

\usepackage{textcomp}

\begin{document}

\selectlanguage{british}

\section*{british}

\enquote{Harper's series in modern mathematics}

If you need to produce \verb|U+2019| by itself, either type it directly (’) or
use \verb|\textquoteright| (\textquoteright).

This works too ‘Harper's series in modern mathematics’ if you don't want to
use \verb|csquotes|.

Prime should still work in mathmode: $'$

\selectlanguage{ngerman}

\section*{ngerman}

\enquote{Harper's series in modern mathematics}

If you need to produce \verb|U+2019| by itself, either type it directly (’) or
use \verb|\textquoteright| (\textquoteright).

This works too „Harper's series in modern mathematics“ if you don't want to
use \verb|csquotes|.

Prime should still work in mathmode: $'$

\end{document}


• @user49915, yes this should be possible. I'll update my answer later tonight. – David Purton Mar 27 '19 at 7:01
• @user49915, no worries. I updated anyway to show how you can do it just for british`. – David Purton Mar 27 '19 at 13:48