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

From: Nikolai Weibull
Subject: Re: Spaces after periods (was: Documenting NEWS features for 25.1)
Date: Tue, 29 Dec 2015 22:05:24 +0100

On Tue, Dec 29, 2015 at 8:05 PM, Marcin Borkowski <address@hidden> wrote:

> On 2015-12-29, at 18:32, Nikolai Weibull <address@hidden> wrote:

>> 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.

> Don't really see the irony: this is just plain difficult for a machine.
> (I also use two spaces, btw.)

It was a reference to the thread regarding apostrophe choices, where
the fact that the Unicode Consortium chose U+2019 as the apostrophe
character for similar reasons. was discussed  Just because something’s
difficult doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to push it towards the
computer’s set of responsibilities.  Natural language processing is of
course an exceedingly difficult problem to solve, so I, as you,
continue to use two spaces.

>> 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.

> To be more precise, it does it by default, but it can be turned off (by
> \frenchspacing).  Also, in TeX, not only are the spaces after periods
> larger, but they also grow "faster" when justifying text (as you said).
> See "space factor" in The TeXbook, if you are curious about the
> details.  (Interestingly enough, this mechanism can be hackedto achieve
> some other goals, too.)

> OTOH, Bringhurst criticizes the above style very harshly.

Yes, Bringhurst is very particular in many questions relating to typesetting.

> OYAH, https://xkcd.com/1285/ . ;-)


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