11.5 Inserting Quotation Marks

Use doubled single-quote characters to begin and end quotations: ``…''. Two single quotes are converted to left- and right-hand doubled quotation marks, “like this”.

You may occasionally need to produce two consecutive single quotes; for example, in documenting a computer language such as Maxima where '' is a valid command. You can do this with the input '@w{}'; the empty @w command stops the combination into the double-quote characters.

The left quote character (`, ASCII code 96) used in Texinfo is a grave accent in ANSI and ISO character set standards. We use it as a quote character because that is how TeX is set up, by default.

Texinfo supports several other quotation marks used in languages other than English. Below is a table with the commands Texinfo provides for inserting quotation marks.

CommandGlyphUnicode name (point)
@quotedblleft{} ``Left double quotation mark (U+201C)
@quotedblright{} ''Right double quotation mark (U+201D)
@quoteleft{} `Left single quotation mark (U+2018)
@quoteright{} 'Right single quotation mark (U+2019)
@quotedblbase{}Double low-9 quotation mark (U+201E)
@quotesinglbase{}Single low-9 quotation mark (U+201A)
@guillemetleft{}«Left-pointing double angle quotation mark (U+00AB)
@guillemetright{}»Right-pointing double angle quotation mark (U+00BB)
@guilsinglleft{}Single left-pointing angle quotation mark (U+2039)
@guilsinglright{}Single right-pointing angle quotation mark (U+203A)

For the double angle quotation marks, Adobe and LaTeX glyph names are also supported: @guillemotleft and @guillemotright. These names are incorrect; a “guillemot” is a bird species (a type of auk).

The standard TeX fonts support the usual quotation marks used in English (the ones produced with single and doubled ASCII single quotes). For the other quotation marks, TeX uses European Computer Modern (EC) fonts (ecrm1000 and other variants). These fonts are freely available, of course; you can download them from http://ctan.org/pkg/ec, among other places.

The free EC fonts are bitmap fonts created with Metafont. Especially for on-line viewing, Type 1 (vector) versions of the fonts are preferable; these are available in the CM-Super font package (http://ctan.org/pkg/cm-super).

Both distributions include installation instructions.

Traditions for quotation mark usage vary to a great extent between languages (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quotation_mark). Texinfo does not provide commands or configurations for typesetting quotation marks according to the numerous traditions. Therefore, you have to choose the commands appropriate for the language of your manual. Sometimes aliases (see @alias new=existing) can simplify the usage and make the source code more readable. For example, in German, @quotedblbase is used for the left double quote, and the right double quote is the glyph produced by @quotedblleft, which is counterintuitive. Thus, in this case the following aliases would be convenient:

@alias lgqq = quotedblbase
@alias rgqq = quotedblleft