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Re: tbl(1) minor issues

From: Alejandro Colomar (man-pages)
Subject: Re: tbl(1) minor issues
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2022 12:36:43 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:91.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/91.8.1

[Sending to the list, now that I have access to a computer.
I also added a bit more to it.]

Hi Branden!

On 7/23/22 04:50, G. Branden Robinson wrote:
Thank you; I appreciate the review.  Yours is the first it's gotten
since I rewrote it.

        spaces,  or  tabs.   (AT&T tbl accepted only options with
        all characters in the same lettercase.)   Some  of  these

since the parenthesized sentence refers to the sentence previous to
it, I'd put it as part of it (notice the placement of periods):

        spaces,  or  tabs   (AT&T tbl accepted only options with
        all characters in the same lettercase).   Some  of  these

I disagree with this, because I find it awkward to put one complete
sentence as a parenthetical inside another.  I believe a sentence should
remain grammatical even if the parentheses are removed.  I admit to some
severity on this point, but all too often as a reader, I find amateur
technical writers employing punctuation as an excuse to discard the
rules of standard grammar.  That is not what punctuation is for.

I guess it's standard practice in English... In Spanish it's extremely uncommon to see parenthetical full sentences not attached to another one. In English I've seen it a lot; especially in mtk's text (that's when I realized those existed, actually).

I searched in the Spanish dictionary, and there's not much of relevance. Only a rule that I agreed with Michael that it's bad: in Spanish, if you insist to use a separate parenthetical as you did, the period goes after the closing parenthesis (so you can't blindly remove parentheses and their content; you need to check if there's spurious punctuation). See <> if you understand Spanish.

More interesting is a link found in that page, documenting the "raya" (em dash). It documents that in Spanish, em dashes are single-side spaced: <>. And also interestingly --and this is something that also got me mad with English texts--, Spanish em dashes are written in both sides even if one of them is next to punctuation --in which case it loses the space, of course--. The Spanish rules for em dashes are much nicer IMO :-)

And the Spanish rules also indicate that the level of isolation from the main text is, from more isolation to less isolation: em dash, commas, parentheses.



Alejandro Colomar
Linux man-pages comaintainer;

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