Re: Empty set

From: Philippe Verdy <>
Date: Fri, 13 Sep 2013 05:04:41 +0200

2013/9/13 Stephan Stiller <>

> Again, I agree with what you write, but "" has always been a bit of a
> mystery to me. I guess in the US-American (sub?)tradition where (some?)
> authorities ask for spaced-out
> . . .
> . . . .
> for ellipsis (with truly bizarre rules about which to choose in any given
> context; look at CMOS if you are interested in their odd and unintuitive
> prescriptivism about this) it makes sense to provide a *spaced-out*""-glyph (". . .") that can't linebreak (I'd need to think about whether
> you'd also want a non-linebreaking ". . . ." to conform to CMOS rules).
> Otherwise I don't see why dot-dot-dot shouldn't suffice.

I disagree. For me your "spaced-out ellipsis" (". . .") is not an ellipsis
but are horizontal rulers (typically used in tables or input forms) to
facilitate the reading of tabular data.

What you want is " ... " I.e. with left and right unbreakable whitespace
(left and right side bearings if rendered as a single mapped glyph in a

But the most frequent case of use of ellipsis is with whitespace only on
the right side (i.e. "... ") at end of sentences where it already replaces
the final period.

I've never seen any good use of four dots needing a visual distinction with
whitespace between <ellipsis, period> and <period, ellipsis>, because the
ellipsis is enough in this case and is already followed by whitespace or
because it is already the end of paragraphe with the rest of the line left
blank or being the right margin of the column (it will be followed by an
extra vertical gap before the next paragraph, or separating horizontal
rulers, or some indentation or punctuation starring the next paragraph). So
three periods in a raw is always perceied as an ellipsis, EXCEPT if theses
dots are separated by extra spaces (larger than the extra inter-letter
spacing on the same line, in case of justification in a column of text
between fixed left and right margins).

If you want to use the ellipsis to mark something that has been truncated
at end or start of a sentence, you normally put them betwen parentheses or
braces, i.e. "(...)." at end of a truncated sentence or ". (...)" at start
of the next truncated sentence.

The remar is true for the continuation ellipsis at end of pages
(".../..."), or used to marked truncation of one or several paragraphs
where the two ellipsis encoded either as a single character or as three
periods in a raw should be equivalent (this continuation mark is normally
isolated on its own line).

Basically the " ... " you want is what the encoded ellipsis character
encodes, but te left-side bearing is most often undesirable at end of
sentences where the ellipsis also replaces the final period of the sentence.
Received on Thu Sep 12 2013 - 22:07:17 CDT

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