RE: TeX (was: apostrophe etc.) (probably offtopic)

From: Alistair S. Vining (
Date: Sun Aug 22 1999 - 11:50:26 EDT

> From: Michael Everson []
> Sent: 19 August 1999 20:03
> 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. In the modern world of electronic
> publishing, whether on one's own desktop or another's,
> No, it's an artifact of bad training codified by someone who
> should have
> known better.
> Grrrrrrrrrr.

I'm either misunderstanding here or just confused. It seems to have
become an article of faith for many people that in 'real' printing there
are never two spaces (or, a larger space) after a full stop. But does
this 'rule' go back very far? Picking some random 'old' books, I find
that nineteenth and early-twentieth century books all use two spaces,
but that one space becomes common from about 1950 onwards. Is it just
part of some quest for the mythical 'uniform grey'? Post-war rationing
of spaces? Or does it have something to do with the pronouncements in
the Mac Bible, and _The Mac is not a Typewriter_? I know that's where I
found it :)

Nowadays I tend to use two in email / monospaced fonts, and one with
proportional fonts, but I'd really like to use about 1-2 spaces, to
break up the uniform grey of the pages, so I think TeX's solution is
about perfect.

Anyway, I don't propose encoding this in Unicode, so I'll stay quiet,
unless someone wants to take this to TYPO-L...

yrs etc.

( al )

Alistair S. Vining
Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge
Tel.: +44 1223 520337

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