Re: Origin of Ellipsis

From: Stephan Stiller <>
Date: Sat, 14 Sep 2013 02:23:57 -0700

> You've quoted the sentence out of its context (note the "then" word
> which indicates this context). I do not support this practice.

Philippe, "within my message you quote here" isn't exactly precise about
context, is it :-)

I think there's a misunderstanding. My annoyance isn't in principle with
people who personally use double sentence spacing (which you can very
well argue for – I've hinted at that), it's with people who say that
"this is how it is / should be done", because that's their firm belief.
Earlier I was replying to /exactly/ this sentence of yours:

    This means that this dot will then need to be followed by two spaces
    when it is used as a sentence-ending period.

This for me set the context; I'm not /literally/ contesting that "lots"
of people are "persisting" (your and Doug's statements, though there's
vagueness: it's pretty clear to me it's minority and obsolescing usage)
but responding to your "need to be" and your concomitant train of
thought and to the fact that lots of people believe it "should" be done
like that. That's what I was responding to. You're saying that there's a
typographic need:
> All these users perceive this as a "need".
I hope you understand what linguistic descriptivism is: we are tolerant
of personal style and usage, but we're not tolerant of unrelenting
prescription or outdated prescription (this especially includes people
thinking there's a need to elevate illogical or outdated or minority
usage to universal usage, if their ideas of what should or is done are
at odds with reality); we advocate majority usage, while recognizing
also certain minority usage as well as situations where other principles
(of clarity, logic, ...) play a role as well and override majority usage
– that's what descriptivism should be, anyways. In addition I believe
that /most/ publishing – where it doesn't offend logic or clarity –
should strive to follow majority usage, though I clearly have
experimental leanings and I recognize that sometimes individual
stylistic decisions aren't important in the grand scheme of things. And
that variation on certain aspects of composition and typesetting is more
justifiable than variation on certain other aspects: what's little-known
can be varied without running the risk of confusing people; style can be
varied more easily than spelling.

> Most emails also use this.
Are you sure about that? Yours don't follow what in your perception is
the usage of "most emails" in this respect, for one thing. You can in
fact also go through emails in our threads and check about "most". I'm
looking forward to your report.

(Also, in my experience, many people who use double sentence spacing
have trouble being consistent with it. – Different issue.)

> Most RFC's are written like this.
They're also written in a monospaced font with no typographic styling
and with a character limit somewhere below 80/line, originating with
cavemen in primeval times, when the wheel and firemaking weren't
invented yet.

Received on Sat Sep 14 2013 - 04:26:42 CDT

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