• Janice used too many ‘do’s and ‘don't’s in her last paragraph.

The sentence above means that she used the individual words ‘do’ and ‘don't’ excessively in her paragraph. Without recasting and without using italics, do ‘do’s and ‘don't’s look correctly punctuated, i.e., curly single quotes around each word and a single straight quote in ‘don'ts’?

• Janice used the phrase ‘do's and don'ts’ several times in her last paragraph.

Does ‘do's and don'ts’, with the curly quotes before and after the phrase, and the straight quote in ‘don't’ look correct?

A very simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ is fine for each question. Again, I prefer single quotes around the words/phrases in question, and I opt for not italicizing.

I think I have satisfactorily punctuated each but am looking for confirmation that I did.

Again, please no recasts.

Many thanks.

marked as duplicate by Kristina Lopez, NVZ, Edwin Ashworth, jimm101, Helmar Oct 8 '16 at 10:15

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.


The first is actually incorrectly punctuated. There is absolutely no need for an apostrophe after 'do'. The phrase is 'dos and don'ts'.

Obviously an apostrophe is required before the 't' in 'don'ts', and it is certainly more aesthetically pleasing to use a straight apostrophe so as to delineate it from the close of the quotation as such.

(The phrase 'dos and don'ts' can be found in this format in the Oxford Dictionary.)

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – tchrist Oct 8 '16 at 19:10

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.