WordPress - Apostrophe Vs Right Single Quote

I ran into a frustrating problem today with WordPress formatting an apostrophe in an unexpexted way. I am sharing this post with those of you who may run into this problem. Hopefully this will save you a couple of hours of troubleshooting.

WordPress Formats Apostrophe into Right Single Quote

WordPress converts the apostrophe literal ( ' ) into a different HTML entity code, the Right Single Quotation Mark ( &#8217 ). It should convert to the apostrophe entity which is ( &#39 ). In WordPress's documentation (wp-includes/formatting.php) you can see the annotation that this is in fact true.

Solving the problem in my situation

You can jump to the simple solution in bold below or read the steps for solving my particular problem here.

I wrote a PHP script that parses an XML data feed generated from a FileMaker database, then this data is inserted into custom tables in our WordPress database. On the front end we need to search on the 'organization' field in one of these custom tables. Everything worked well when I would test the function directly in the PHP script. But the interface setup was not returning results for organizations with an apostrophe or ampersand. Here is why.

We generate WP posts with a title that matches the name of each organization. So, the string in both the post_title field and our custom organization field are exact. The problem is when I grab the title, via the get_the_title($post->ID) function, WordPress formats the apostrophe literal ( ' ) into a right single quotation mark entity code ( ’ ). So when I pass the formatted string into a search query on our custom table's organization field, no results return. The exact or fuzzy search don't match.


The PHP function html_entity_decode() works for properly transliterated characters. For example ampersand entity code ( & ) to ampersand literal ( & ). However, the apostrophe literal ( ' ) is changed into an entirely different literal, the right single quote entity (&#8217). It should be (&#39) as stated earlier. So I used the following 'replace' code to solve the problem.

Note: Remove the space between the & and the #8217;

You can view the complete HTML and XML character entity reference here:




  • Captain Stubing

    September 12, 2012

    This is so stupid and annoying on the part of Wordpress. Go to any WP blog and try using Ctrl-F in your browser to find something on the page that presumably has an apostrophe in it, and watch it fail. Oh, no problem, just go ahead and type a right single quote... 999 out of 1000 users have no idea how to do that.

  • David

    May 30, 2013

    Thanks Nick. This worked for me... it just seems like there should be an easier way. I guess this is just the way it is.

  • josh g

    August 9, 2013

    for some reason this still isn't working for me. I'm grabbing the post title and it has an apostrophe. I'm using the post title name to SELECT from my DB. I guess it's keeping the right apostrophe instead of the apostrophe literal as it's not return data, but if I type the post title itself in the SELECT with a backslash it works.


    $title is the post title. any ideas?

  • josh g

    August 9, 2013

    Ok, so it took the html code and converted it haha, but I'm using your code above and took out the space

  • josh g

    August 9, 2013

    I ended up doing this.

    adding this line to functions.php:
    remove_filter ('the_title', 'wptexturize');

    and using mysql_real_escape_string in the post.

    reference: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/5967234/wordpress-stripping-out-apostrophes-in-the-title

  • Adriana

    March 26, 2014

    Thanks! This has been an issue for years.

  • Bilal Shah

    March 28, 2014

    Thanks !
    There are approx. 2000 products which have this issue and i can solve with one line.

  • Tom Pavey

    October 10, 2014

    After hours and hours troubleshooting I stumbled upon your site to find the correct solution. Thanks man.

  • May 30, 2020

    For me the answer was:
    remove_filter ('the_title', 'wptexturize');

    I've been stuck for hours on this, it seems like an incredibly short-sighted thing on wp's part.

    Thanks to josh g in particular.

  • Ben

    October 8, 2021

    This issue has been killing me for hours and after much trial & error and googling, this fixed it. Thanks Nick!

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