Talk:Space (punctuation)

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Where is the table[edit]

Why was the character table removed from the article? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:12, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

The whole "Spaces in Unicode" section was moved to Whitespace character. — Gwalla | Talk 18:20, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

Old talk[edit]

It's not forbidden the space is a punctuation mark or a convention of letters positioning. It certainly is a non-trivial aspect of an orthography. Not all scripts have spaces for interword separation. The Latin script didn't have spaces until 900-something AD. I hope someone will explore these issues in the space (punctuation) article. (I've put these ideas there too.)


I think the space definitely counts as punctuation. Like other punctuation marks, it helps determine the flow of the text and the meaning of a word (just as it's and its have different meanings, so do light housekeeper and lighthouse keeper.) I don't think it's just a convention of letter positioning like kerning, alignment, or justification. - Montréalais
Also some compounds have gone from two words joined by a space to two words joined by a hyphen to one word. Ortolan88
side show > side-show > sideshow, for example. Ortolan88
See also A, an for examples of how the space moves around: a nuncle becoming an uncle and an eft becoming a newt. Ortolan88

A space is definitely NOT punctuation. Spacing and punctuation are complementary ways to make meaning clearer, spacing being the more basic.

  • 1a) The use of standard marks and signs in writing and printing to separate words into sentences, clauses, and phrases in order to clarify meaning.
  • 1b) The marks so used.
  • 2) The act or an instance of punctuating.

COED 8th edn.:

  • 1) the system or arrangement of marks used to punctuate a written passage.
  • 2) the practice or skill of punctuating
  • - punctuation mark: any of the marks (e.g. full stop and comma) used in writing to separate sentences and phrases, etc. and to clarify meaning.

Montrealais argument that a space must be punctuation because, like punctuation, "it helps determine the flow of the text and the meaning of a word", is bogus. Spacing and punctuation *both* help determine the flow of the text. The COED definition of punctuation mark assumes that the words have already been separated (by spaces). I'd be amazed if all style manuals didn't treat spacing and punctuation as separate topics.

Ortolan88's notes about formations like 'a nadder' are a matter of morphology. Every native speaker knows that the root form is 'adder'. But, as the spoken language has been written down, there's been some ambiguity about just where the word-morphing happens: either a -> an or adder -> nadder. In either case, they still end up as words on the page, separated by spaces. In context, they'll benefit from punctuation to make the meaning still clearer. They might benefit from italicizing too, but I guess nobody's calling that punctuation!

-- Hotlorp

Well, I guess you've convinced me - what would be a better title then - Space (orthography) seems clearer than Space (character) to me. Then the first sentence would become "A space is an orthographical device for providing interword separation..." Does that seem sensible? --Camembert
Not sure. Orthography seems to me to be about the word in isolation, not directly about the decisions about how to separate adjacent words, except in a few cases mentioned above ('side show' etc.). Orthography's worst problem is that it's horrible and nonintuitive to write.
How about 'spacing' or 'word space'? I prefer the latter. This can be an article on the computer character 0x20 as well as a history of word spaces in Latin, Arabic, etc., maybe talking about what is the right width for a space character, justification, etc., and its relation to morphology in the 'a nadder' examples. -- Hotlorp
Hang on, we already have interword separation. What's wrong with redirecting word space there, and simply make several sections if necessary? -- Hotlorp
IMO, nothing. As long it actually follows through and does that. Unlike, e.g., hair space. =p Kwantus 2005 June 28 14:17 (UTC)
Just let me add that the articles space (punctuation) and interword separation, as they are now, lead to a circular definition. They read in fact (emphasis mine):
A space is a punctuation convention for providing interword separation
Interword separation is the set of symbol or spacing conventions used [...] to separate words.
I'm no expert in the problem domain. My intuition suggests that a space is not a "mark", nor that it belongs to "punctuation". I would reword the second sentence as:
Interword separation is the act and the effect of reciprocally separating the written representations of words. This can be achieved by either using blank spaces between them or using special symbols and conventions, depending on the language.
Note that the definition basically assumes "space" as a primitive concept, which I think is plausible (I don't remember my teacher explaining me what a "space" or "blank space" is). If you prefer we could use "empty zone" as a pseudo-definition of "blank space":
Interword separation is the act and the effect of reciprocally separating the written representations of words. This can be achieved by either using empty zones (blank spaces) between them or using special symbols and conventions, depending on the language.
As I said this is just what my intuition suggests. I would like to hear from a real expert if this is technically correct. --Gennaro Prota 13:53, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Medium Mathematical Space (U+205F)[edit]

The Unicode standard claims a Medium Mathematical Space is "four eighteenths of an em wide", but that doesn't seem right: (a) that would make it only slightly wider than a six-per-em space, but in my browser it seems to be about the same size as an en space, and (b) it just seems weird that they'd say "four eighteenths" instead of "two ninths". Anybody know what's up with that? - Gwalla 02:29, 20 Jun 2004 (UTC)

(a) Simply, your browser couldn't show it correctly, basically because it couldn't find a font that supports U+205F. Currently, there are very few fonts that support it (DejaVu fonts, BabelStone Phags-pa Book, Sun-ExtA, Code2000, etc.). (b) Typically (though not always) an em = 18 device units, hence "4/18 of an em" simply means 4 units. Of course you can call it 2/9 or 1/4.5 too. —Gyopi (talk) 05:13, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
In fact, em=18, en=9, MMSP=4 in DejaVu Sans, DejaVu Serif, Code2000, Sun-ExtA, etc. —Gyopi (talk) 05:35, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
Thatnks for the clarification. Do you happen to know what it's supposed to be used for? — Gwalla | Talk 16:45, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
No, I'm not really sure. U+205F was explicitly included in the Unicode Technical Report (UTR) #25 Unicode Support for Mathematics in Revision 5, dated 2002-05-08 [1], but the current version, Revision 11, dated 2008-08-14 [2], doesn't have it explicitly. It just says, "The Unicode Standard provides a quite complete set of standard math characters [...] Unicode 3.2 introduced six hundred new characters for operators, arrows, and delimiters" and I think U+205F is one of those "delimiters". If U+205F has a very specific, important role in math notation, they should discuss about it in UTR25, but they don't, so we can only speculate: (1) Cosmetic: "1+1=2" and "y=f(x)" may look a bit too crowded; "1+1 = 2" and "y = f( x )" may look a bit too open. So one might want to use a medium-sized space whose width is defined specifically in em. (2) Semantic or syntactic: Let's say we have 2 sentences: “Therefore, x1 = x2 = x3 = ... is true.”; and “Therefore, x = is is true.” where i is the imaginary unit and s is some kind of variable. So is may be a normal English verb or it may be a part of a math formula. If the space before is is a Mathematical Space, the parser knows it's a part of the formula; if it's a normal space, the parser may guess the formula ends there. Some parsers may automatically use a different font for math formulas that way. But it's just a possibility.
Another thing: 18 device units for em and 4 device units for U+205F are not "raw values" (design units) used in digital font data. In DejaVu Sans, DejaVu Serif, and Code2000, 1 em is 2048 design units and the U+205F space has the advance width of 455 design units (you can't use the accurate value 2048 * 4/18 = 455.111... because the value must be an integer). So very strictly speaking, the actual width is not 4/18 em but 455/2048 em that is 3.9990234375/18 em).—Gyopi (talk) 14:54, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
U+205F is still explicitly included in MathClass-11 [3], though not in UTR.—Gyopi (talk) 15:38, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
I found the answer in Unicode Technical Note #28 [4]. “In mathematical typography, the widths of spaces are usually given in integral multiples of an eighteenth of an em [...] most spacing is automatically implied by the properties of the characters. The following table shows examples of how many 1/18ths of an em size are automatically inserted” and it shows when the value 4 is used.—Gyopi (talk) 16:40, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Japanese spaces[edit]

"Traditionally, all CJK languages have no space: modern Chinese and Japanese still do not, but modern Korean uses space."

Actually, spaces are sometimes used in Japanese, especially when written with little or no kanji. When Japanese is written in kana, word boundaries are hard to identify. Naturally, this is done mostly in writing for children or students, which uses little kanji, but it's becoming more common. --WurdBendur 20:07, Feb 20, 2005 (UTC)

Let's choose a more appropriate title[edit]

Hi guys,

though all this is waiting for attention from an expert, I think we all agree that a space is not a punctuation *mark*; thus the article title is inappropriate. What would be the best one?

  • space (typography)
  • space (writing)
  • space (writing convention)

These are just off the top of my head; you are encouraged to suggest others :) --Gennaro Prota 23:19, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

"space (typography)" is definitely more suitable. --Hugo Spinelli (talk) 15:00, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
I like space (punctuation); it is a symbol, distinct from letters. But if we must change it, I'd prefer space (writing) as it is older than typography. —Tamfang (talk) 18:25, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
It's definitely punctuation. It serves the same basic purpose as the interpunct, the original punctuation element. And as pointed out, spaces predate typography so that would hardly be appropriate as a name. However it's worth point out that the majority of this article is not really about punctuation, which is primarily syntactic, rather it's about the space's use in typography (visual formatting), and the mechanics of that usage (what kind of space elements are used). So it could be that this should be two separate articles.
At the very least, I propose that this article should be restructured, to more clearly separate out the syntactic space from the typographic and mechanical discussions. This would also allow for some cleanup, because some things here are a mess. In particular the "space characters and digital typography" section is pretty misleading, e.g. the computer space character 32 is really not at it's heart a variable width character even though it is often used that way.
I'd like to see the typographic usage covered in a more chronological way, covering how spacing worked in manuscript, movable type, hot metal typesetting (the spaceband is particularly important thing to discuss in my opinion), telegraphy, early computers, and modern usage. Battling McGook (talk) 20:02, 16 January 2014 (UTC)


The sentence "Spaces were not used to separate words until roughly 600 AD – 800 AD (see interword separation for more on the history)" is incorrect, and the section on interword separation contradicts it. For example, Hebrew and Arabic scripts had spaces long before 600 CE. If this sentence is meant to refer only to Latin and Greek (and their derivative) languages, this should be made explicit (or at least more clear).

Request for help[edit]

I have encountered a problem with non-breaking spaces at the Wikipedia Manual of Style. See here for a presentation of the difficulty, and a kludge solution. Has anyone got a better solution? Please post any suggestions at that location. – Noetica 02:10, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

See also section[edit]

I converted the "See also" section to a list to comply with Wikipedia:Guide_to_layout#See_also, and to remove redundant information that was accessible from other articles. This has since been reverted. Informational content should go in the article body, not the "See also" section. -- Beland 02:15, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was no consensus to support move. JPG-GR (talk) 00:22, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Space (punctuation)Space (writing) — It's been discussed before. Everyone seems to agree that the title is wrong, but no conclusion has been reached. Let's choose the simplest title which doesn't belong in a more specific realm like typesetting or computing. If there are no serious objections, I'll move this to space (writing) shortly. Michael Z. 2008-06-21 23:12 z


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's naming conventions.
  • I don't see that the present dab is wrong, so I weakly oppose. Spaces are not marks, but they do punctuate. If any change is warranted, I would use (typography) instead. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 12:38, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
    Punctuation is a secondary function of spaces; mainly they separate words for readability—you can read a sentence normally with no punctuation, but not with the spaces removed. This function precedes the invention of movable type, and is used in handwriting, inscription on stone, etc. Michael Z. 2008-06-23 15:26 z
  • Oppose: Space is a tricky one, isn't it. It serves a number of functions in a number of domains. I have had precisely the same reaction as you in the past, but on balance decided it was best left as it was. Please see below for why I came to this decision:
Punctuation: As you yourself have noted in this very article, Mzajac/MichaelZ, contradicting what you've written here in its discussion, spaces are NOT necessary for reading and in fact were not used in Latin (you forgot: also Ancient Greek) for the entirety of those languages' history as living languages. So spaces are clearly not necessary for readability. However, they do improve it. And speaking very directly to the point, the first latinate language spaces were NOT spaces, but interpuncts. Again, as you yourself have noted. To be clear: they were explicitly a punctuation mark. Only later was the physical character replaced with a "virtual" character for further improvement of readability, the semantic gap replaced and reinforced by a syntactic gap.
Non-latinate languages continue to use interpuncts for certain forms of spaces, particularly inter-word spaces.
Clearly: spaces are punctuation.
Typesetting: Spaces have further technical meanings and, importantly, physical usages in the domain of layout. Spaces are typically the primary mechanism for physically effecting Justification, for example. And they traditionally are also used very precisely according to typographic Spacing Rules to separate (with various widths) visible punctuation from surrounding text, words from other words, and sentences from other sentences. Only in the last few decades has English-language mass-production printing regressed to the briefly tried and rapidly rejected (as unreadable) 15th century's typesetting. Other languages (French and German, for example) retain the additional punctuation spacing originally standard across all of Europe, America, and the UK.
TeX's landmark typesetting program explicitly provided for differential spacing rules by language, including defaulting to traditional typesetting's spacing rules for sentences for English.
Clearly: spaces are typesetting.
Writing: Latinate language writers habitually use spaces now when writing.
Clearly: spaces are writing.
But does this implied re-categorisation clearly communicate space's place in wikipedia's context? Does it resolve the overlap, the confusion? Sadly, no. Given that all other typesetting-specific terms are labelled Typesetting, and given that all other punctuation-specific terms are labelled Punctuation, and with space not clearly being part of writing (which most people would associate with the Semantic Content of writing) and not clearly being divorced from these more-common usages, most people would regard this as a peculiar, if not bizarre, exception. Sooner or later, someone would, validly, suggest that the article be moved to (Punctuation) or to (Typesetting), and we would not have moved forward but rather have merely inserted a brief pause in the (minor) problem's resolution.
Summary: neither (Punctuation) nor (Typesetting) are categorically correct, since space has meaning in both domains. But (Writing) does not adequately communicate to newcomers what the situation is; worse: it is almost certain later to become the subject of a discussion like this seeking to reverse the move, back to either (Punctuation) or (Typesetting). Here we are in a similar situation to the old adage regarding Democracy: it is the worst of all possible systems, except for all the others. Merely changing an ambiguous or incomplete wording does not improve the situation, it merely continues the muddling.
So which to use? Well, very few people have common exposure to typesetting, but nearly all have exposure to punctuation. Of the two, it sits much better for most readers in Punctuation.
Yet it still rankles slightly.
I don't regard this as a burning issue of the day -- at heart, we are discussing only an internal technical nicety regarding wikipedia structure. But please see the alternate suggestion for discussion below. Saltation (talk) 22:26, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
Strongly Recommended: every contributor to this discussion should first read the article: French spacing, for a clearer understanding of the close association of spaces with punctuation and with typesetting and with writing/readability. The apparently innocuous title hides a huge memewar between the concepts of readability and of peer aesthetics, and the article's discussion of the underlying principles and the actual history of spaces' usage (as opposed to the version currently taught) will usefully inform the discussion here. The question is not a simple matter.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Saltation (talkcontribs)
Word separation is necessary—if you disagree, then just omit the spaces in a few paragraphs in an article or even discussion, and let us know how that works out for you.
Word separators—spaces and even medieval interpuncts—are not punctuation. Spaces are not necessarily even things, but an expression of spacing, although this is may not be so obvious since the advent of typewriting and computerized text. Manuscript, and typographic word- and letterspacing can be tight or loose. Letter types could even be carved with a kerning knife to "space" it even more tightly—there would still be space between the letters on the printed page, even though there wasn't some entity called "a space" inserted between them.
And I hope no one will take seriously the assertion that change is useless because you prophecize that it will be changed back!
(By the way, I did not forget Greek. I simply corrected the implication that an oversimplified view of spaces in digital typesetting summed up what spaces were "historically". There's no need for the intro to become the history of the space.) Michael Z. 2008-06-24 04:32 z


Any additional comments:
  • Perhaps space (typography)?—Preceding unsigned comment added by Gwalla (talkcontribs)
    I'd be happy with that, if it were agreed that this article's scope was limited to typography (but see also spacing). Then I'll start writing an article about spacing in the more general context of written language. Michael Z. 2008-06-24 04:43 z

Alternate Suggestion, for discussion[edit]

(see Requested Move, above)
As Space (Writing) does not materially resolve the ambiguity/overlap, I suggest for discussion:

  • Space (Typography) could be created, as a redirect to Space (Punctuation).


  • BOTH Space (Punctuation) and Space (Typography) could redirect to another, more clearly neutral and all-encompassing, title. Perhaps: Space (Written Language). (Space (Script) would be most precisely correct, but fails the normal-reader test by implying to most people that it has something to do with scriptwriting (TV, plays, movies).)


  • leave it as it is. For most readers, it's the most-correct/least-incorrect.
Per the cited Wikipedia's naming conventions' overarching principle:
"The names of Wikipedia articles should be optimized for readers over editors, and for a general audience over specialists."

Saltation (talk) 22:26, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

I like Space (written language). If you want a synonym for script, then Space (writing systems) would fit the bill.
But in both cases, writing means exactly the same thing. Michael Z. 2008-06-24 04:34 z
  • What about Space (semantics)? Wilhelm meis (talk) 00:09, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
    Semantics does not correspond with written language. That title might be taken to include pauses in speech, for example. Michael Z. 2008-06-26 04:43 z
Ah, but semantics does include writing — it is the study of the meaning of the signs and symbols of writing — and besides that, a space in writing often does represent a pause in speech. It's usually either that or a break between words. Wilhelm meis (talk) 23:25, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
But this article is about the space in writing, not about the space in the larger scope of semantics. Michael Z. 2008-06-27 01:51 z
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.


What is the Unicode name for the space character that is created by the tab key on Microsoft Word 2007? Here is the character between parentheses: ( ). (It is about twice as long in Word.) Lord Wikipedian of the Wiki (talk) 02:33, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Okay, the character is not being pasted correctly between the parentheses, but it is correctly displayed these equal signs == == on the edit page. Lord Wikipedian of the Wiki (talk) 02:37, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Okay, it is rather buggy. It seems the space shrinks every time I edit this page. A A. Lord Wikipedian of the Wiki (talk) 02:42, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Here it is on the edit page (between the two As): A A.[5] Lord Wikipedian of the Wiki (talk) 02:43, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

HTML gone?[edit]

Here, half of the HTML versions of spaces were deleted. Why? I used them frequently and found them useful. C Teng(talk) 21:23, 18 March 2010 (UTC)


If I recall aright, Unicode does not classify U+200C Zero Width Non Joiner and U+200D Zero Width Joiner as whitespace in the sense used by ECMAScript 5th Edition. Perhaps their non-space character needs to be indicated.

Please include all valid HTML versions similar to  . (talk) 10:24, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Where's the dispute?[edit]

  • Double space (English Spacing). This convention stems from the use of the monospaced font on typewriters. [...] Some sources, however, dispute this—stating that the fixed-width nature of typewriter output was the reason for using two or more spaces between sentences.

Perhaps this could be worded more clearly. —Tamfang (talk) 19:52, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

The dispute is that this is just plain wrong. "English Spacing" is 500 years old, and is the convention (by far the most common) of using wider spacing between sentences than between words. This was accomplished with a single wider block, or with a number of smaller blocks added together to achieve the desired spacing (it really didn't matter, the typesetter would just use what was convenient). The only thing that stems from typewriters is the practice of referring to "a space" or "two spaces" instead of "the space" and "spacing". Put another way, "double space" on a typewriter was a way of emulating "English spacing" in typesetting. This is not simply a matter of poor wording - the article as written sounds line English Spacing was a brief fad that occurred since the invention of the typewriter, which has now died out. This is factually 100% false. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:03, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the basic fact checking. I that agree "Double space... stems from the use of the monospaced font on typewriters. This historical convention was carried on by tradition until it was replaced by the single space convention in published print and digital media today" gives a strong and incorrect impression that sentence spacing originated with typewriters. I'll try to fix the text using your phraseology. A blog on Slate is not a RS on history, particularly if you can find someone else who has actually read previous editions of typographic style guides. If anyone wants to revert please re-add dispute template. --Cedderstk 03:27, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Looking at it again, the version quoted by Tamfang was indeed a contrast between two accounts that are both ambiguous and seem to be the same as each other. The real question is whether to use word spacing between sentences or whether to put more; the level of control of extra spacing is dependent on the medium. Perhaps the list of "conventions" should be restructured in chronological order, that, first typographic extra sentence spacing, then approximations on typewritten MSS which gave rise to the very common rule of two spaces (see eg internet users' experience at, and then the single spacing rule from the mid-20th century. The History of sentence spacing article is a reasonable stab at explaining this. --Cedderstk 04:34, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Former Use of the Space for Emphasis[edit]

In the German typographic system of Blackletter or Fraktur, italics and boldface were not available to emphasize a word, so spaces were employed between letters. This was occasionally done in English as well, though it apparently died out in the twentieth century. The most immediate example is from the first chapter (seventh paragraph ; paging varies edition to edition) of Charles Dickens's Bleak House, in which a sign beginning J A R N D Y C E is mentioned. I think this usage should be given on this page, though it is only of historical interest. (talk) 11:32, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

A link to Letter-spacing should suffice. —Tamfang (talk) 04:01, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

Clarify table heading?[edit]

In the table about 40% down the article, "Space characters defined in Unicode", there's a column "URL". I assume this means "will this get an underline when the text is underlined", but I don't KNOW... perhaps if someone does, they could create a pop-up with explanation?

Tkbwik (talk) 10:26, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

That URL column annoys me. Judging by the footnote for most of the “no” entries I guess it means something like “is the space character allowed in a URL?”. But that’s just a guess. I wonder if such a column really belongs in the table at all, because URLs are not directly related to Unicode. Surely Unicode spaces are applied in many other fields as well as URLs. Maybe the footnote could just be converted to an ordinary paragraph or something. Vadmium (talk) 13:18, 17 September 2011 (UTC).

Reference for thin space between numerals and units[edit]

Thin spaces are sometimes used between numerals and the following units, and as of today (2013-02-27) they are mentioned in this article. There is a line under the heading "Spaces and unit symbols" that reads "The International System of Units, or SI,[19] and the style guide on the English-language Wikipedia[20] recommend a (non-breakable, thin) space only between a number and the unit. ..." I had a look in reference [19] The International System of Units (SI) (8 ed.). International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM). 2006. p. 133. On page 133, section 5.3.3, it reads "The numerical value always precedes the unit, and a space is always used to separate the unit from the number. ..." As far as I can see, thin spaces are not mentioned. Looking at actual examples in the same reference, it does not look to me as if thin spaces are used in the pfd document itself either (see the examples in the margin on page 130, section 5.1).

I know that thin spaces are implemented for example by the siunitx package to write SI units in LaTeX, but I have been unsuccessful in finding a style reference that says that it is the proper way of writing. Does anyone know of such a reference, or have I missed something in the references that are already on the Article page (mentioned above)?

If anyone is aware of a reference for this, I think it would be good if that could be added to the article.

Hjb981 (talk) 16:23, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

History not Clear[edit]

According to one book:

The separation of words (and thus silent reading) originated in manuscripts copied by Irish scribes in the seventh and eighth centuries but spread to the European continent only in the late tenth century when scholars first attempted to master a newly recovered corpus of technical, philosophical, and scientific classical texts. {Paul Saenger}
But in the article it says 800 from Latin. Which one is it. --Inayity (talk) 11:57, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

Recommended character for thousands separator?[edit]

I started a discussion in the Decimal mark talk page, because I doubt Unicode Thin Space is recommended by anybody (or is appropriate) as a thousands separator, and hence I wonder which character should be used. Please discuss there if you deem appropriate (so that discussions are centralized).--OlivierMiR (talk) 12:59, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

Half space[edit]

Hi, redirects here, but there is no mention of it. Still I found out what it means predictably "Half-space (punctuation), a spacing character half the width of a regular space". Since it's not mentioned in *this* page I thought it might have been refactored but can't find out where (elsewhere) it is mentioned. Maybe something like "spaces can come in various withs such as half with (sometimes used instead of thousands commas)" could be added here (or elsewhere). I think it might be reduntant here since it might be (or should be in another place). I thought this might be it but it doesn't say what is the half-space. Could someone add it in (the right place) and if not here change the redirect?). Possible refs: comp.arch (talk) 11:22, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

That should redirect to Whitespace character, fixed. -- Beland (talk) 06:25, 12 October 2014 (UTC)

Sentence Spacing[edit]

This whole section is largely incorrect and needs to be rewritten. Here, roughly is a better idea of what should go there. It'd take me some time to correctly reference all of it.

Early blackletter printing used inconsistent spacing between sentences. In the process of justification, space between sentences was often wider than word spaces, but not always (again depending on justification needs. Additionally, it was common practice to space both before and after punctuation. And during this time, Many texts used exaggerated "initials" (captialized letters used at the beginning of sentences), which had the effect of highlighting sentence structure. Hand illuminated texts often added color to the initial captial of every sentence.

As roman fonts were developed in the 17th century, English language printers gradually standardized on wider sentence spacing, generally using an em quadrat, which is three to four times wider than word spaces, depending on the particular font (fount back then) and on justification needs. At the same time though, the thin space before the period fell out of favor, although it remained in use before colons and commas. This very wide sentence spacing was nearly ubiquitous (in English language texts) until the early 20th century.

Not all countries adhered to the same standard. France in particular used much narrower sentence spacing during this same period. Most texts used the same space between sentences and words, while some used added a thin space or at most an en quad between sentences. Again though, this would vary depending on justification needs.

When the typewriter was invented in 1873, typists automatically adopted the habit of using two spaces between sentences to emulate the wider spacing that was used.

In 1884 the Linotype was invented and revolutionized printing. This machine used a spacing element called a spaceband that would grow wider to provide automatic justification. The common recommendation when the Linotype was new was to use a spaceband, plus an en quad between sentences. This roughly approximated the wide spacing provided by the em quad in traditional typesetting. However over time the industry came to prefer narrower fonts and spacebands, which resulted in decreased sentence spacing compared to older text. Around the 1920s and 30s, it became more and more common to use the thin space instead of the en quad together with the spaceband. Sentence spacing remained wider, but was definitely on a diet. During this time, a minority of printers began questioning the practice of wide sentence spacing altogether, going so far as to call it a "mistake" (more or less out of the blue as far as I can tell, with the Linotype company itself leading the charge). By 1950 most printers had abandoned wide sentence spacing, and used the same spaces for sentences and for words.

Typists habits however had not changed, and two spaces continued to be taught and practiced all the way into the computer era. Only recently has there been a rash of articles arguing that this too is wrong.

So I'm not sure where that whole "Double space" section came from. Or that section on one wider space. Before typewriters all spacing would be considered one space of some amount of width even if multiple elements were needed to create that space. And also as noted on other wikipedia pages the terms "french spacing" and "english spacing" have flip-flopped meaning at some point, rendering them hopelessly confusing terms. Likewise "double spacing" is a problematic term first because only on the typewriter was it ever actually double, and because historically on the typewriter "double spacing" refers to the practice of adding blank LINES between each typed line.

Basically this section needs to look more like this, but with proper referencing, and with some of my opinions removed. Battling McGook (talk) 17:51, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

The section can certainly be improved. For references, try Sentence spacing. Side note: I don't think spacing before periods is applicable to sentence spacing, which would center on spaces after Terminal punctuation. No issue with the rest though. Thanks for your interest. Airborne84 (talk) 20:49, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
By the way, I don't have an issue with the edits you made in a general sense, but that sentence was heavily sourced; did you check the references to see if they say what you state they say? Airborne84 (talk) 20:55, 22 January 2014 (UTC)