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Re: compiler.texi: Compiling to the virtual machine

From: Ken Raeburn
Subject: Re: compiler.texi: Compiling to the virtual machine
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2009 15:43:30 -0500

On Jan 17, 2009, at 18:12, Ludovic Courtès wrote:

To me, s/e.g./for example/ is an idempotent transformation. So if the
clause after "e.g." is short, no comma necessary. Otherwise you need a
comma for breath. But maybe it is a snooty style.

I dunno, I thought the comma was sort of compulsory.

A quick googling reveals that opinions diverge, but that the comma after
"e.g." is often used in American English.

My understanding is that in American usage you always put in the comma; leaving it out (and sometimes the periods as well) seems to be more common in British usage. (Actually, I suspect that technically a comma should be required with "for example" as well, regardless of the author's breathing patterns; I've seen at least one style guide supporting that.) What I've seen vary more is whether "i.e." and "e.g.", as (abbreviations for) Latin, should be italicized. I generally use italics, in a medium that permits it, and always learned to do it that way, but I've seen at least one style guide recently that says not to bother.

Does the FSF have a style guide for this sort of thing?

... Okay, I just pulled up the GNU Coding Standards document, which says nothing about this but use "e.g." always in Roman or bold (in code examples) and with inconsistent comma usage (present in text, absent in code examples, so they may have been written by different people without attention to that detail), and "A Style Guide for GNU Documentation" ( ) which also fails to address this or to even use "e.g." or "i.e.", but uses "etc." in plain Roman, and specifically says to use only logical markup, not typographical markup, with the one exception of @r "to cause plain, explanatory text in a table or example to be in a Roman font." Since they don't touch on "e.g."/"i.e."/"etc." usage in the text, and the specific guideline elsewhere is "italic" and not "strong" or "emphasized", I wonder if what's written is really the intent or if they just didn't think of these cases.


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