A recent discussion came up in GameDev that suggests that when you are using apostrope for abbreviations, that the correct apostrophe to use when typing is the backtick. On US Keyboards below the escape-key — left of the 1 key)

Questions about the difference between the single-quote, and the apostrophe have come up before, but they do not address whether the apostrophe should be typed as if it is a single-quote, or it should be typed as a backtick.

Which of the following are (more) correct:

Itˋs common sense that a student darenˋt interrupt its professor!


It’s common sense that a student daren’t interrupt its professor!

  • 3
    In English, "it" is rarely used to refer to humans... but that's a different problem, discussed elsewhere. – keshlam Apr 14 '14 at 2:02

A backtick would be my last recommendation. A straight single-quote is acceptable, and a curly close quote can be substituted as an improvement. In other words, of these three:

  • It`s common sense. . . .
  • It's common sense. . . .
  • It’s common sense. . . .

I would avoid the first, accept the second, and consider the third to be superior to the other two.

One website says the backtick:

shouldn't be used in place of the opening single quote, or for any other discernible typographic purpose

and goes on to say that the closing single quote is:

the preferred character to use as an apostrophe, as in I’m coming, or He’s with me.

It also mentions that the ASCII apostrophe:

shouldn't really ever be used in proper typography, but is often used because it's easy to type and well supported.

  • As a footnote, more information on this subject is available here. – J.R. Apr 14 '14 at 0:34
  • 5
    As a footnote to the footnote: Speaking as a typographer, I agree that the single-quote is preferable. Speaking as someone who has to worry about the portability of document from system to system -- and who has worked with a lot of systems that don't support anything more than ASCII -- I have to strongly recommend the ASCII apostrophe unless you know the document will never be re-edited using different software. – keshlam Apr 14 '14 at 2:04
  • I might be too dumb. How would I type that third case? – lulalala Jun 27 '16 at 6:32
  • in 2019, @keshlam is luckily no longer right. everything worth its salt can handle UTF-8, and no bad compromise should be accepted. Typographically correct apostrophes FTW! – flying sheep Feb 27 '19 at 11:58
  • @flyingsheep but again, although anything can display it, it can be not really easy to type. I know I can type it using Ctrl+Shift+U+2019 in GTK apps, maybe Alt+NumPadSomething on Windows and... no easy way anywhere else (maybe use Character Map apps...). So unless and until it gets into keyboard layouts (and becomes known for this), it'll not be used much. – Ruslan Jan 30 '20 at 15:13

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