Re: Origin of Ellipsis and double spacing after a sentence.

From: Stephan Stiller <>
Date: Sun, 15 Sep 2013 02:53:41 -0700

On 9/14/2013 6:24 AM, Michael Everson wrote:
> It facilitates comment by those who are reviewing the text.
If you add proofreaders' marks to an especially difficult manuscript,
maybe. I've barely seen annotated papers with comments that would not
have fit into the margins, and there's still the back (oh no! in that
case you'll need to remember to hand-photocopy such a page, if you need
to photocopy the annotations and corrections for some reason). In the
majority of cases they would have fit comfortably. For the small number
of cases where they wouldn't, everyone keep in mind that "space for
comments" isn't the only factor: being able to go back and forth easily
to refer to and remind oneself of other portions of the text can get a
nuisance if what feels like a short paper is printed on too large a pile
of pages.

On 9/14/2013 11:11 AM, Jim Allan wrote:
> See which claims with numerous
> examples that Michael Everson is totally wrong.
I have laid out my opinions (of varying strength) about typographic
matters, but calling someone "totally wrong" to me demonstrates more
emotion than there should be; the linked-to article is brilliant, but
its use of the word "lie" (too easily understood as ascribing malicious
intent, as opposed to the mindless propagation of false information)
distracts from its excellent factual information and the good intuition
and opinions of the author. And I'm not sure about those "couple dozen
different types of spaces" that "Unicode implements" according to the
article (I thought there's just about two dozen).

On 9/14/2013 11:44 AM, Michael Everson wrote:
> It's what I was taught.
Probably my favorite non-argument, and even as an excuse it's still

On 9/14/2013 12:04 PM, Asmus Freytag wrote:
> But reviewing hardcopy is on its way out, so even this issue will
> disappear...
Except now we need to wait for it to dissipate from university thesis
requirements. I can't resist pointing the list to what Peter Wilson
wrote in the manual to his "memoir" document class for LaTeX. I see its
latest version here .
My experience resonates with his comments at the beginning of sec 3.3.2
("Double spacing") and the chapter frontmatter and section 21.4
("Comments") within his ch 21.

On 9/14/2013 12:19 PM, Michael Everson wrote:
> And as a book designer and publisher, I think that having large spaces after a full stop is both unnecessary and vulgar.
On 9/14/2013 11:18 PM, Michael Everson wrote:
> This does not change my view. Unnecessary and vulgar.
Maybe – maybe not. What is "vulgar" is intended to convey? Where is the
rationale for either view? The blog article has excellent reasoning, for

On 9/14/2013 1:09 PM, Philippe Verdy wrote:
> the formation of infamous vertical "rivers" across lines of text
Obviously larger inter-sentence spacing gives the reader more hints at
the text's discourse structure except where a sentence ends at the end
of a line. It seems hard to believe that the supposedly "ugly" or
"vulgar" look of holes or typographic rivers distracts enough to
negatively outweigh double sentence spacing. (So I disagree with the
article's implications here.) Can anyone /prove/ to me that rivers
actually matter unless you're bored or tired enough to seek meaning in
pattern search on a randomly typeset page? In any case, I think it's
important to keep oneself lucid and unemotional about what's presently
done and then make decisions.

On 9/14/2013 1:09 PM, Philippe Verdy wrote:
> These questions are not just about "esthetic", but about preserving
> the average blackness of lines to guide the eye for easier and faster
> reading, and to make sure that important punctuation will be easily
> distinguished (because they guide the "rythm" with which the text
> should be clearly read by speech (imagine you're reading the text to a
> public with clear voice, for better understanding: this is not an
> evident practice, good readers are rare that can translate to their
> auditory the substance of the text with emotion and strength as it
> could have been intended by the author, better exhibiting his choice
> of words).
With respect to your wide knowledge, we're entering the world of
speculation here. People who know about the typographic variation seen
across the world's languages and typographic cultures (locales) should
know that a lot of factors matter for the legibility of a text.

On 9/14/2013 6:37 PM, Asmus Freytag wrote:
> On 9/14/2013 1:24 PM, Philippe Verdy wrote:
>> Lots of paper hardcopies are used everyday in every organisations,
>> and notably in those working on legal texts.
> BE ABLE TO READ THINGS BETTER. Dunno, I'd stick with typographers and
> book designers...
Lawyers also waste plenty of paper with the multiplication of documents
whose precise wording tends to matter only in a small proportion of
cases. Lawyers also have a tradition of using odd Latin phrases to name
legal principles. Lawyers also use an odd legalese from ages past where
"cause" means "justification", "prospect of" means "tendency to", etc
etc. Legal practice and writing are indeed not good models to emulate.

Received on Sun Sep 15 2013 - 04:56:49 CDT

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