Subject: spacing
From: DAVID IBBETSON <ibbetson -at- IDIRECT -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 16:57:02 -0400

Steve Shewchuk cites and writes:

>>My position on this spacing issue is that it is soooo simple to globally
>>replace double spaces with one, and since it is "correct" to single
>>space between sentences and after colons (whether or not it is preferred
>>for readability),

>Okay, so here's my question: who says it's "correct"?

>As an aside, ever notice how there's a strong tendency in modern language
>to be lazy?

I can't answer for the customs of professional copyists in pre-Gutenberg
days, but in the days of metal type, typesetters inserted a single space
after a full-stop. This was the same space that they inserted between words.
I think Linotypes used mechanically adjusted wedges to justify a line before
casting it. Again there would have been the same space between sentences as
between words.

The topic is complicated by how much space the typecutter, cutting a stop,
left on the body after the stop. If he felt that more than the normal amount
of space made the particular font he was working on look better he would put
some space on the body after the stop.

Perhaps the question we should be asking is "are we imitating typesetters or
typists?" I prefer to imitate a good typesetter.

David (the idiot) Ibbetson

David Ibbetson ibbetson -at- idirect -dot- com
133 Wilton St, #506, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5A 4A4
Phone (416) 363-6692 Fax (416) 363-4987

If I were a cassowary
On the plains of Timbuctoo,
I would eat a missionary,
Cassock, band, and hymn-book too.
-- Bishop Samuel (Soapy Sam) Wilberforce, ascribed.

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