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bug#12270: 24.1.50; (elisp) Syntax Descriptors: "second character, if pr

From: Drew Adams
Subject: bug#12270: 24.1.50; (elisp) Syntax Descriptors: "second character, if present"
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 16:14:55 -0700

> > This text does not seem correct to me.  At least it seems unclear.
> >  
> >  "The first character in a syntax descriptor must be a syntax class
> >   designator character.  The second character, if present, 
> specifies a
> >   matching character (e.g. in Lisp, the matching character 
> for `(' is
> >   `)'); a space specifies that there is no matching character."
> >  
> > How can the second char be absent if the third char is present?
> > It is wrong to speak of a char being "present" here, AFAICT.
> > What should be said instead of "present" is non-space:
> >
> >  "The second character, if not a space, specifies..."
> Which third character?

Which?  Why - do you think there can be more than one third char?  "Which"
implies at a choice from a known group of at least two elements.

Perhaps you meant "What", and you meant to ask about the case where there is no
2nd char.

The point is that IF there is a second char (so that we can in fact speak of
"the second char") and IF it is not a space char, then that non-space char
specifies a matching char.  That is what needs to be conveyed.

In the examples given in the node, ". 23" and ". 14", a second char is PRESENT,
and yet it does NOT specify a matching char, because it is a space char.

The doc does say afterward that a space char specifies that there is no matching
char.  Good.  [It follows (but is not said explicitly) that a space char cannot
_be_ a matching char.]

It would be clearer to say "a non-space 2nd char specifies a matching char".
That's the point.  And that's all that needs to be said.

There is a second bug in this text, BTW: The first example is written `". 23"'
and the second is written `. 14'.  One of them, at least, is written wrong.

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