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Man pages are written in the troff/nroff markup language. Troff, which is meant for preparing output to a phototypesetter (or to files in formats such as PostScript or PDF), will automatically change the ` and ' characters in the input into curved quotation marks, ‘ and ’. Nroff, which is what the man command runs when the output is to a terminal, will pass ...


These quotation marks are often used because they look nice, similar to the quotation marks in printed books (which are different at the beginning and end of the quoted passage). These quotation marks may also have been added by your local troff configuration (or, could be removed by it!). The actual file may not contain these characters literally. You ...

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