For example, in the yes man page:

yes outputs expletive, or, by default, ``y''

Why is "y" quoted this way?

  • 1
    Care to tell us what your system is? Most probably it's just a mistake...
    – Jan
    Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 11:18
  • This doesn't seem to be from yes from coreutils.
    – Anthon
    Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 11:59
  • In print the lefthand quotes are different from righthand quotes. nroff is processing the manpage in an attempt to mimic this. These quotes are not at all related to, or attempt to simulate, shell quotes.
    – wurtel
    Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 12:24
  • This is actually in OS X, I assumed it was the same everywhere.
    – laurent
    Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 13:20
  • 1
    wurtel is right. It is trying to get this effect by using two left-single-quotes and two right-single-quotes, but screen fonts hardly ever look like that any more. P.S. I see the same usage in various Linux man pages, although it seems to be with individual quotes (e.g., `y') more often than double. Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 18:46


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