Re: Using M-dash and N-dash

Subject: Re: Using M-dash and N-dash
From: Dick Margulis <margulis -at- fiam -dot- net>
To: Shankar <ss_rajanala -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 09:50:45 -0500

Shankar wrote:

Nope, I am not more qualified to comment but
cannot help;

Try anyway.

the parenthetical M dash, without
spaces, looks ugly. Glad we are rid of it.

You are entitled to your opinion, even if it is based on limited information. The relative ugliness or grace of the em dash depends on the relationship between the font designer and the font manufacturer. Whether we're talking about handset composition, mechanical typesetting, photomechanical typesetting, or digital typesetting, the choice between a solid em dash and space-en dash-space has always depended on the particular implementation of the font chosen by the designer. Done well, the solid em dash looks every bit as elegant as space-en dash-space--more elegant in some situations.

I suspect it was (M dash) was a British scam,
though I have no grounds to.

You are correct that you have no grounds to suspect that. The long dash has been with us since before Gutenberg. It was, in fact, an English house--Oxford University Press if I recall correctly, although it may have been Cambridge--that switched to a house standard of space-en dash-space to represent the grammatical dash.

blessed indeed are the meek
for they shall inherit the earth
when the mighty migrate to mars

Odd sig line, given your combative, opinionated, hardly meek post.


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