RE: TeX (was: apostrophe etc.)

From: Murray Sargent (
Date: Thu Aug 19 1999 - 16:07:57 EDT

I kind of like the two spaces after the period at the end of the sentence
since it's a cue to the editor/layout program that it's really the end of a
sentence and not an abbreviation. As Scott points out, the layout program
can have the smarts to do the right thing given the two spaces, but it's
hard to have enough smarts to distinguish between arbitrary abbreviations
and an end of sentence.

So actually, Michael, there is a modern reason for two spaces at the end of
a sentence :-)


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Scott Horne []
> Sent: Thursday, August 19, 1999 12:41 PM
> To: Unicode List
> Cc: Unicode List
> Subject: Re: TeX (was: apostrophe etc.)
> Michael Everson wrote:
> >
> > Good gods, what a horrible "solution". The _problem_ is that when they
> > learned to type people (mostly North Americans) didn't learn the detail
> > that there really _aren't_ supposed to be two spaces after a full stop,
> it
> > is only TYPED there with MECHANICAL TYPEWRITERS on PAPER to help someone
> > else actually set the page.
> I'm well aware of that, as is Donald E Knuth, the designer of TeX.
> TeX disregards extra spaces in the input; whether you type one or
> thirty-seven spaces after a full stop (or even between words),
> TeX will set the text the same.
> The usual spacing after a period, comma, or other punctuation mark is
> the same as the space between words. If TeX needs to fill out a line
> for the purpose of justification, it allows the space after a comma
> to grow at a slightly faster rate than inter-word space and the space
> after a period, question mark, or exclamation point to grow slightly
> faster still. This is quite consistent with traditional typographic
> practice. And if you don't like it, you can turn it off
> with \frenchspacing.
> Scott Horne

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