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Dear World,

Lately, if I run contractions together and omit apostrophes, it isnt because I dont know how to use them. Its because, sometimes, I just cant be bothered to track down a handy blog post or email which contains an apostrophe and from which I can copy/paste one.

Generally, if I am apostropheless, I am also in possession of a non-functional delete key, and its enough of a pain to use my mouse to highlight problems so that I can type over them without hunting down wild apostrophes.

Those of you who have used apostrophes in your emails, posts, and updates in the past months, and from which I have pillaged liberally: thank you for the punctuation.

(Sometimes they work, often they dont, and I havent gotten around to seeing if the keys reparable yet, which apparently means I can live without them. Astonishing.)

I know. Ive been complaining about this problem intermittently for months, but I still feel Wrong when I post/send/communicate without apostrophes. And so this is an almost-apology for those lapses.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 28th, 2010 10:48 pm (UTC)
Both good suggestions! Curly apostrophes are only sometimes useful. Not all my programs map them.

Remapping keyboards is only useful if I can quickly switch back and forth. Ill investigate.
Jul. 1st, 2010 12:51 am (UTC)
Switching between keyboard mappings can be done pretty rapidly. Most Quebecers attach it to Alt-Shift so they can switch between English & French. Especially useful if one uses French for communicating but English for writing in C++.

I don't remember how it is done but I should imagine setting it up is fairly painless.
Jun. 28th, 2010 10:50 pm (UTC)
I was hoping to be able to write this post without copy/pasting anything, but in the end I didnt have usable quotation marks either, so copied those to make possible a cut tag with text.
Jun. 28th, 2010 11:04 pm (UTC)
Here - have a few for copying to help you reply to comments in this post:

' ' ' ' '
" " " " "
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 29th, 2010 04:32 pm (UTC)
Web writing is exactly where curly quotes fail me which is why it was on my mind. They're entirely usable, really, under any other circumstance as I default to Word.

I have located “ and ‘. I'm intrigued. They look like angled, not curly, quotation marks and apostrophes. (Actually, at a larger scale, they're clearly just curly.) Alas, one of them is on a key which isn't always functional either. I can usually live without right curly brackets, however, so this hasn't been as major an inconvenience as the absence of ' and " (and, indeed, the occasional painful absence of tab, which means I can't use command-tab to switch between programs).

I would be more pro-active about fixing this situation if it were always a problem, but it's intermittent.

Edited at 2010-06-29 04:35 pm (UTC)
Jun. 29th, 2010 04:21 pm (UTC)
How thoughtful of you!
Jun. 29th, 2010 12:08 am (UTC)
It won't help with the apostrophe catastrophe, but if you're using Linux (or any other Unix), it's worth knowing the following keypresses when you're using a terminal window:

Control-H: backspace.
Control-?: delete (although exactly what this does is dependent on your terminal configuration).

Your terminal may also understand:
Control-W: delete previous word.
Control-U: delete current line from cursor leftwards.
Jun. 29th, 2010 04:26 pm (UTC)
Useful advice when working in the terminal, which is very much an occasional issue for me. (That I now longer knew this, I accept with resignation. It's been a long time since Unix constituted a major proportion of my computer interactions.)

However, as this is a Mac, most of my interactions are with the graphical interface.
Jun. 30th, 2010 02:27 am (UTC)
While we're on the subject, the Wikipedia article for "Backspace" is particularly noteworthy for showing the idyllic pastoral life of a free-range backspace key.
Jun. 29th, 2010 12:15 am (UTC)
Other ideas:

For LiveJournal, you can post in HTML and use the character code ' for an apostrophe and " for double quotes. Like this: ' "

On Windows (at least in XP), there's an on-screen keyboard under Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Accessibility. This should do everything a normal keyboard does, including apostrophes and quotation marks.
Jun. 29th, 2010 04:29 pm (UTC)
I have my UK and US keyboard palettes only a menu+click away - and yet it still usually feels easier to scan my screen for stray punctuation instead of using it. Not sure why.

I now have some alternatives using option-{ and option-}. They look like angled apostrophes and quotation marks, not curly ones. Hmm.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 29th, 2010 04:22 pm (UTC)
My external keyboard works fine. It's the built-in laptop one which is problematic. I may well be buying a new one, though, if cleaning doesn't solve it.
Jun. 29th, 2010 04:53 am (UTC)
My deep sympathy. Due to an over-enthusiastic dog who doesn't see why he shouldn't use the laptop too, I have (1) had a laptop with almost unusable 2 and ", subsequently (2) at present have a laptop with almost unusable forward slash and question mark. In desperation I switch to the French keyboard layout.
Jun. 29th, 2010 08:21 am (UTC)
I sometimes have the joy of working on a French-language keyboard, where everything's in the wron place and some of the punctuation characters are completely missing. I keep a store of apostrophes and quote marks handy in a text file, ready for copy-and-pasting.
Jun. 29th, 2010 04:24 pm (UTC)
That's a good idea. A reliable reservoir of quotation marks, apostrophes, tabs, and any other sporadically affected punctuation for copy/pasting.

(Today, I am in my office with the external keyboard, so have all the usual punctuation handy.)
Jun. 30th, 2010 12:28 pm (UTC)
Ironically this site doesn't have an apostrophe.

Anyway, there is a workaround (see below post) if you print of a chart with the ASCII codes on it.

p.s. this only works on Windows. Macs have their own shortcuts.
Jun. 30th, 2010 12:26 pm (UTC)
Turn on num-lock.
Hold down Alt.
Type the Unicode reference on the right hand keypad.
Release the Alt key.

ALT 0039 will give you the '
Jul. 1st, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)
This should not cause too much of a problem. Since most often, apostrophes indicate abbreviated words, you could go ahead and write the entire thing, could you not?

Granted, possessives are another problem.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )