Fully Bracketed Syntax

Dennis Lee Bieber wlfraed at ix.netcom.com
Sun Feb 13 04:03:48 CET 2000


On Sat, 12 Feb 2000 17:36:08 +0100, Gerrit Holl <gerrit.holl at pobox.com>
declaimed the following in comp.lang.python:

> 
> I know that many language use semicolons to end their lines,;
> but I never really understood why.;
> If you write a sollicitation letter (is it right English?),;
> I don't think your potential boss would like all those semicolons.;

	Ah, but in English (and most other common written communications
using a western/roman character set) "lines" are ended with "." (Note --
"lines" is your word, but the ";" actually is used on statements --
which may cross multiple lines; better would be to substitute
"sentences" for "lines").

	For parsing purposes in programming languages, the period "."
has tended to be reserved for decimal point marking in numbers (I'm
explicitly ignoring that Fortran < F90 and VMS DCL also use "." as
brackets around logical operators: .ne. .lt. .and., etc.)

	Try writing your example solicitation letter without ending
sentences in periods, interrogation marks, exclamation marks, etc.

	I don't mind the use of ";" so much as the inconsistent usage of
it... Most languages use it as a statement terminator, but then you hit
Pascal (and Python, I fear) where it is used as a statement separator.
Pascal's
	begin
		statement 1;
		statement 2;
	end
usage actually means to the compiler
	begin
		distinct statement 1
		distinct statement 2
		empty statement
	end


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