Re: French group separators

From: Jim Allan (
Date: Mon Jul 07 2003 - 16:57:29 EDT

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    Michael Everson posted:

    > Typists were taught to do it generally, but the origin of the
    > practice is to assist the typesetters.

    No so. It predates typewriters and one can see this style in the
    typography in many books of the Victorian era and the early decades of
    the twentieth century.

     From Robert Bringhurst's _Typographic Manual of Style_, pp. 28-30:

    << In the nineteenth century, which was a dark and inflationary age in
    typography and type design, many compositors were encouraged to stuff
    extra space between sentences. Generation of twentieth-centry typists
    were then taught to do the same, by hitting the spacebar twice after
    every period. Your typing as well as your typesetting will benefit
    from unlearning this quaint Victorian habit. As a general rule, no
    more than a single space is required after a period , a colon or
    any other mark of puctuation. Larger spaces (e.g., en spaces) are
    *themselves* punctuation.

    The rule is usually altered, however, when setting classical Latin and
    Greek, romanized Sanskrit, phonetics or other kinds of texts in which
    sentences begin with lowercase letters. In the absence of a capital, a
    full en space (M/2) between sentences will generally be welcome. >>

    For discussion of when double spacing after a period might still be good
    practice see and

    Jim Allan

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