Table punctuation

Subject: Table punctuation
From: Nancy Allison <maker -at- verizon -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2007 14:24:24 -0500 (CDT)

Hi, everyone. I have a punctuation question for tables. (I'm typing this in a monospace font; if you use a proportional font, it may be hard to read.)

The table has two columns, labeled:

This field . . . Allows you to . . . .

with entries like

Shoe size Select the clodhopper that's right for YOU!

In these tables, usually there's one cell that contains a complete sentence, so I end up putting a period at the end of every cell in that column.

Unfortunately, the real technical content is incredibly dense and full of financial jargon.

One of the rows is like this:

Clown name - Enter a name for your personal clown, or
- Leave blank for us to choose one for you.

Only after pain and struggle did I unpick the original run-on sentence into two clearly stated alternatives. I'm proud of my clearly stated definition of the Clown name field! But . . . its formatting is a tad tricky.

All other rows in the second column have a terminal period, so this is the solution I've chosen. I don't think that moving the "or" to a separate line would change anything, do you? I suppose I could put it as:

- Enter a name for your personal clown.
- Leave blank for us to choose one for you.

That definitely does not look better to me.

Proving that I can obssess with the best of you -- and looking for help . . .


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