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Re: line adjustment at the end of a sentence

From: Stefan Monnier
Subject: Re: line adjustment at the end of a sentence
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2012 20:34:02 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.2.50 (gnu/linux)

> Differentiating between end-of-sentence full stop and in-sentence
> period by the number of spaces is an artifact of pre-Unicode
> typography.  When the only available space was the ASCII 0x20, it made
> sense.  Now it doesn’t, as we have the U+0020 SPACE, the U+00A0
> respectively, as well as other fixed-width spaces.

While Unicode provides the necessary different elements to eliminate the
need to use conventions such as double-spaces to end sentences, I don't
think Unicode has penetrated enough in everyday use yet to make such
conventions completely useless.

E.g. for many people it's much easier to type SPC sometimes and SPC SPC
other times than to try and figure out how to type NBSP.
Also there's no good convention for how to distinguish on screen a SPC
from a NBSP.  Emacs highlights the NBSP specially (because accidental
use of NBSP in program code leads to trouble) but that's not ideal when
reading text that uses NBSP between Dr. and Watson or between « and the
quoted text.

So the Unicode characters offer a way to represent/store the needed
information, but I don't think we have yet a sufficiently good way for
the user to enter this information, nor do we have a sufficiently good
way for Emacs to display this information.

> One place where two spaces are double plus annoying is when people try
> to apply this rule to the Web.

While the "double space convention" might be at the origin of those
problems, I don't think it's unfair to say that it's a case where the
"double space convention" is annoying, because this convention applies
to plain text only.
We can apply the convention to HTML source code (it will only help us
navigate the text but won't affect the display), but we can't directly
apply it to its rendering because we don't type its rendering.


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