ß - scharfes S

by See-ming Lee
Explaining why I type “ß” so often.
ß - scharfes S. Explanation why I type “ß” so often.
ß - scharfes S. Explanation why I type “ß” so often.

When I chat with people on the Internet, especially with people who don’t know me, they often ask me why I type the letter ß so often. Sometimes they asked me if I’m German. I then have to write a lengthy explanation why, which is always very funny, but this came up so often that I’m just going to write a post here so that I don’t have to write about it again.

Here’s why

I type on an English keyboard on a Mac. As a designer, I prefer to type in typographically correct curly quotes — so I would press Shift-Option-] to get this character: instead of using ' which is the incorrect apostrophe, typographically speaking.

And since I type so quickly (120-140 wpm baby), sometimes when I am tired, I would miss some keys, and when any of my fingers have simply left the Option key still being pressed down while pressing the letter s for the second letter in the ’s combination, the keystroke Option-S will render that keyboard combination as the character ß.

If you’re not familiar with typography and typography on the Mac, here’s a good primer that I send to everyone who’s not a designer: Typography for Lawyers: Straight and Curly Quotes. It will explain in a non-designer friendly way why it is important to me.

That is all.