Terry Jan Reedy wrote:
In a string, \ escapes the immediate next character. This idea of \ at the *end* of a line, just before the newline character, is that it escapes the newline, *just as is does within a string*.
That's how it currently works, but that doesn't mean it's how it *should* work. Especially if it leads to counter- intuitive and less-than-useful behaviour, which IMO it does.
In between tokens, we expect whitespace to be treated flexibly, in the sense that wherever one whitespace character is allowed, we can substitute more than one. Line continuation with backslash currently breaks that expectation.