[Doc-SIG] Idea: make double-space between sentences meaningful
cben at users.sf.net
Sat May 15 18:57:57 EDT 2004
Some formats (notably LaTeX) support the typographical convention (of
some languages, e.g. English but not French IIRC) of putting a bigger
space after the end of a sentence than between words. LaTeX tries to
guess intellegently but can fail. Its guessing can be explicitly
Currently, reST provides no way to convey this information to the output
format. Producing high-quality output requires this information. There
already exists an obvious convention supported by programs (e.g. Emacs)
for representing it in plain text: just use a double space after the end
of a sentence. I propose to make this official for reStructuredText:
more than one space between words after punctuation _ signifies a
sentence end _.
Backward compatiblity: at worse, it will force all sentence ends to
single spaces in existing documents that don't use the double-space
convention in the reST source. It's a good bet that anybody who cares
about it in his LaTeX output also cares about his source, but it's a
good idea to make this a parser option (defaulting off?)...
It is even possible, if desired, to support this in HTML output, using
some hack (`` `` won't do because we *want* it to be breakable -
it's even better there; perhaps ``<span class="sentence-end"> </span>``
with appropriate CSS?).
..  By using ``\@.`` for a sentence end and ``.\ `` for a sentence
non-end. See `The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX 2ε`__,
..  Punctuation should be taken in a wide sense of the word. E.g.
many people end a sentence with a smiley without putting a period
after it ;-).
..  A period at end-of-line should be considered a sentence end per
Emacs conventions (it acutally avoids putting non-sentence-end
periods at end-of-line when refilling paragraphs!). However, if
there is a trailing whitespace, it should be used to decide (in
the style of RFC 2646 - wrap lines *after* the whitespace - which
is the only unambiguos way to retain spacing info at line ends;
some editors (pico/nano) use this only when there is more than
one space - this algorithm will support them all).
Beni Cherniavsky <cben at users.sf.net>
Note: I can only read email on week-ends...
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