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Re: Spaces after periods (was: Documenting NEWS features for 25.1)

From: Ingo Lohmar
Subject: Re: Spaces after periods (was: Documenting NEWS features for 25.1)
Date: Tue, 29 Dec 2015 18:58:21 +0100
User-agent: Notmuch/0.20.2+113~g6332e6e (http://notmuchmail.org) Emacs/ (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu)

On Tue, Dec 29 2015 18:32 (+0100), Nikolai Weibull wrote:

> On Tue, Dec 29, 2015 at 6:05 PM, John Wiegley <address@hidden> wrote:
>>>>>>> Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> writes:
>>>> +with the Greek lambda character @samp{λ}. In a TeX buffer, it will
>>>                                            ^^     ^^^
>>> Two spaces between sentences, please (we use the US English
>>> conventions).
>> I almost hate to say this, but I'm not sure this is the English convention
>> anymore. A quick Google shows many, many sites that indicate that the modern
>> convention is now one space, and none that recommend two spaces. I've even
>> changed to one space in my e-mails, even, after being a long holdout for the
>> two space rule.
> I haven’t seen a style guide that says anything other than that one
> space is preferred.  However, I thought the general rule was to use
> two spaces to make it easy for software (oh, the continued irony of it
> all) to distinguish sentence-ending periods from other periods.
> Also, any typesetting software that doesn’t fold multiple spaces into
> one isn’t a typesetting software.  Microsoft Word isn’t a typesetting
> software.  TeX is a typesetting software, so using multiple spaces
> shouldn’t affect the output at all.  (Perhaps Texinfo is different?)
> Though, TeX, as far as I recall, favors adding space after a period
> when justifying a paragraph.

The "modern" rule of using a single space applies to systems that
distinguish sentence-end punctuation in a different way.  And any book
typesetter worth his salt will make sure, one way or another, that the
visual space between sentences is larger than between words (in the same

The two-space rule (as mentioned above) originates in typewriter use,
where the writer is reponsible for the visual appearance as well.  The
relevant point is that on such devices there is no distinction between
how to write the text and how it displays.

In software, the analogue is (to my knowledge) a word processor like MS
Word (WYSIWYG), while TeX (as a typesetting software) *does* make a
strong distinction.

In my opinion, plain-text formats in general (assuming that they are
written for the most part as one displayed char per one typed key) fit
into the former category, that's why the two-space convention is very

There is no a priori reason why the visual distinction could not be
applied by a (TeX-like) processing step, in Info manuals or elsewhere.
But without such a mechanism in place, I hope Emacs sticks to the
two-space rule.

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