Re: Origin of Ellipsis

From: Philippe Verdy <>
Date: Sat, 14 Sep 2013 10:02:59 +0200

2013/9/14 Stephan Stiller <>

> This tradition is persistant.
>> Persistent where?
> This is already replied within my message you quote here.
> Lots of people
>> Lots of people who
> Same remark.
> So there are "many" contributors, on the English Wikipedia. What does
> "many" mean? I doubt double spacing of sentences is majority usage for *
> any* community these days (note that contextually I'm talking about the
> US right now but if someone knows about another locale where this is or
> remains common practice, I'll welcome information). But you originally
> wrote that a period "will then need to be followed by two spaces", so
> you're stating a *need*.

You've quoted the sentence out of its context (note the "then" word which
indicates this context). I do not support this practice. But it's a fact
that it persists and MOST articles in Englosh Wikipedia are edited or
redacted like this even if it's clearly not needed for rendering or
interpretation, And not even needed while editing because it dors not bring
more clarity. Those spaces are just like spaces at end of lines.
There are also extra spaces not really needed used for indending : in the
wii syntax ony the first space of lines has a meaning for creating a block
in monospaced fonts, and in which case all other spaces will be preserved
to create indentation like when presenting source code but it has a very
limited usage.
Wikipedia is not the only place where it occurs. In fact you can look at
MANY sites in English and look at how their HTML code is created. Or look
at MANY text documents or Word documents in English, and still most of them
use these double space after sentence ending period.
Most emails also use this. Most RFC's are written like this. The texts of
many famous licences (like the GPL v2 or v3, or the Microsoft EULA) also
use this. Sometimes it is use as well in documents created in US in other
languages than English. And sometimes the practice contaminates native
users of other languages outside US. All these users perceive this as a

For now the practice is so common that it's illusory for us trying to
conveince them that it is really not needed. It's a subject of taste. And
you cannot convince people about their taste. It exactly like conventions
for indenting source code. Every coder has its taste, and some projects are
strong about their code indentation style and document it as a required
standard. You cannot alone come into a project and insist on changing it
without irritating them, when they have also done most of the useful job
for the project. I don't like it, but I accept it (and most of the time I
don't care in fact if it has no visible effect on rendering..

So yes the practice is persistant even if it is not needed and has no
effects in HTML (most of the time, except in monospaced code blocks).

I've seen some arguments in favor of double-space after period saying that
it allows plain-text distinction bteween sentence ending periods and
abbreviations in the middle of a sentence. It's becuse the same FULL STOP
character is overriden with many distinct meanings. But it is not
convincing because frequently the abbreviation dot also occurs at end of
sentences and a single FULL STOP is written for noting both (people won't
write two FULL STOP characters).
Received on Sat Sep 14 2013 - 03:05:52 CDT

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