Re: Empty set

From: Stephan Stiller <>
Date: Thu, 12 Sep 2013 20:51:52 -0700

Hi Philippe,

> 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.
I disagree with CMOS prescription in this case, just as you do, but the
prescription exists, namely for
     . . .
     . . . .
– that this is an ellipsis if you see it used as an ellipsis isn't
something you can "disagree" with :-)

> 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 font).
That such whitespace should be unbreakable is like all these rules Knuth
made up: plenty of prohibitions against linebreaks that don't exist in
the real world and that are – while sensible in some idealized world
with infinitely long lines – cumbersome, in effect requiring frequent
rewriting of the text: because if you have too many hard constraints,
there may be no "solution" (in the math sense) to your system of
requirements for typesetting for any particular chunk of text or symbols.

> 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.
Whether to set a space before such an ellipsis is a matter of taste (I
prefer a space, but there's variation). That a three-dot ellipsis
without internal spacing includes an optional a sentence-final period is
frequent but by no means universal; in citation omissions, all of
{"[...]", "[...] .", "[...]."} are sensible at the end of a sentence.
And I have my opinions and preferences, but there's variation.

> I've never seen any good use of four dots needing a visual distinction
> with whitespace between <ellipsis, period> and <period, ellipsis>
You can argue either way, to the extent it matters, but what I was
criticizing is that CMOS has a fairly detailed set of prescriptions that
make no sense: if you go into as much detail as they do, you gotta get
it right and try make it easy to understand, but they don't. You can
look up the details; they're far too boring to describe and discuss
here; best to ignore them.

> [...] 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)
Now /that/ is a /good/ argument for providing a separate ellipsis glyph.

> 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.
Well, for citations in German I've generally seen "[...]", and for
English I've seen both "[...]" and "...", but not "(...)".

Received on Thu Sep 12 2013 - 22:53:53 CDT

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