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Re: (forw) Bug#189487 acknowledged by developer (Re: Bug#189487: lire: Typo in package description)

On Fri, Apr 25, 2003 at 06:31:35AM +0200, Christian Perrier wrote:
> (please keep me CC'ed to answers if possible. I never remember which
> mail header is supposed to ask for this)
> [is "double space after dot" correct english typography?]

It's a (fairly) long story.  In the early days of the printing press, it was
decided to have different-sized spaces for different things, to improve
readability.  So there is the en-space (in between words), and the em-space
(in between sentences).  An en-space is supposed to be about the size of the
letter 'n' and the em-space, the letter 'm'.  With justification, these will
obviously widen proportionally, but will always be at least that size.

When the typewriter was invented, with its enforced monospaced typesetting,
typists were taught to put two spaces between sentences (that is, after not
only full stops, but question marks and exclamation marks also) to emulate
this readability-enhancing behaviour.

Since early computers used modified typewriters as input devices, this
practice has been followed to computers too.  I, for one, having learnt to
type with a typewriter, normally follow this practice by habit, and I agree
with Hamish that these days the correct solution would be for the display
software to use an em-space or insert the extra space automatically if
displaying with a monospace font.

Pete Ryland

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