From: Frank da Cruz (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Jul 07 2003 - 13:29:25 EDT
At Mon, 7 Jul 2003 17:12:25 +0100, Michael Everson wrote:
> At 11:49 -0400 2003-07-07, John Cowan wrote:
> > It's a typewriter-based convention, and is suitable for monowidth
> > fonts only.
> It's a beastly practice held over from the time when it was useful
> (that is, when typesetters set the type from the typescript), and I
> wouldn't use it in monowidth typesetting either.
Nobody is springing to the defense of this so I'll only say that it's a
time-honored practice and we shouldn't be so quick to disparage it, lest we
be disparaged several years hence for the things we do :-)
In the world of plain text, two spaces after a sentence-ending period,
exclamation mark, question mark, or other mark is actually rather handy to
distinguish sentence enders from the same marks used in other ways,
esp. periods in abbreviations. This allows a text editor to have sentence
oriented commands that work simply and predictably, as opposed to (say)
"autorecognizing" your language, grammer, and style. Ditto for text
formatting and typesetting, where a sentence end would have less "glue"
than an abbreviation and the following word within a sentence. I imagine
there might be similar considerations in scanning, too, though I can't think
what at the moment -- but the postal authorities of many nations require two
(sometimes more) spaces between the town and postal code for scanning
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