Discussion:
The "em" dash
(too old to reply)
Harrison Hill
2016-10-31 00:44:14 UTC
Permalink
Throughout my life I've never needed the "em" dash. I suppose
I viewed it as a journalistic extravagance. Now I see that
Dickens used it extensively. What is worse Eric is at home
with it! Perhaps he can tell me what it adds to the pause :)
Eric Walker
2016-10-31 00:56:09 UTC
Permalink
Throughout my life I've never needed the "em" dash. I suppose I viewed
it as a journalistic extravagance. Now I see that Dickens used it
extensively. What is worse Eric is at home with it! Perhaps he can tell
me what it adds to the pause :)
Force. It is a stronger separator than a simple colon, or than an
ellipsis. It makes what follows it somewhat more emphatic.

John loved only one woman: Mary.

That is just a simple statement.

John loved only one woman...Mary.

That provides a slight sense of "wait for it, wait for it" emphasis.

John loved only one woman--Mary.

There is something striking or unexpected about the revelation of who it
was.
bill van
2016-10-31 02:39:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Walker
Throughout my life I've never needed the "em" dash. I suppose I viewed
it as a journalistic extravagance. Now I see that Dickens used it
extensively. What is worse Eric is at home with it! Perhaps he can tell
me what it adds to the pause :)
Force. It is a stronger separator than a simple colon, or than an
ellipsis. It makes what follows it somewhat more emphatic.
John loved only one woman: Mary.
That is just a simple statement.
John loved only one woman...Mary.
That provides a slight sense of "wait for it, wait for it" emphasis.
John loved only one woman--Mary.
There is something striking or unexpected about the revelation of who it
was.
Do you have an opinion on the use of em-dashes instead of parentheses?
As a newspaper reporter I sometimes used dashes parenthetically for
emphasis. Later, when I was editing other people's stories, I noticed
some reporters were using them in nearly every sentence. I thought that
was lazy writing, and I replaced the majority of them with other devices.
--
bill
Eric Walker
2016-10-31 04:20:03 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 30 Oct 2016 19:39:38 -0700, bill van wrote:

[...]
Post by bill van
Do you have an opinion on the use of em-dashes instead of parentheses?
As a newspaper reporter I sometimes used dashes parenthetically for
emphasis. Later, when I was editing other people's stories, I noticed
some reporters were using them in nearly every sentence. I thought that
was lazy writing, and I replaced the majority of them with other devices.
Really, I think it all comes down to the degree of emphasis one wants to
put on the parenthetical material: parens are lightest, colon is next,
dashes are strongest (with ellipses sort of off to one side).
bill van
2016-10-31 06:27:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Post by bill van
Do you have an opinion on the use of em-dashes instead of parentheses?
As a newspaper reporter I sometimes used dashes parenthetically for
emphasis. Later, when I was editing other people's stories, I noticed
some reporters were using them in nearly every sentence. I thought that
was lazy writing, and I replaced the majority of them with other devices.
Really, I think it all comes down to the degree of emphasis one wants to
put on the parenthetical material: parens are lightest, colon is next,
dashes are strongest (with ellipses sort of off to one side).
That seems sensible. I think my problem with some of the work I edited
was that over-use of parenthetical em-dashes diminished the strength of
the emphasis.
--
bill
Ramapriya D
2016-10-31 06:55:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Walker
John loved only one woman--Mary.
There is something striking or unexpected about the revelation of who it
was.
Do you use two successive hyphens just because you can't make an em dash appear on Google Groups or is that how you write it regardless?

I like the em dash but am confused by whether or not to surround it by spaces. I've seen as many prescribe as proscribe it :)

Ramapriya
Eric Walker
2016-10-31 08:04:39 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 30 Oct 2016 23:55:39 -0700, Ramapriya D wrote:

[...]
Post by Ramapriya D
Do you use two successive hyphens just because you can't make an em dash
appear on Google Groups or is that how you write it regardless?
It has nothing to do with "Google Groups". It is just fast and simple to
type two hyphens. Let me see if I can drop in a real dash—yes, (at least
I see it), but it was a pain in the butt; I had to open a word processor
and ask it to insert a "special character", then copy and paste that dash
in this message. (I have a "Character Map" accessory, but under "Latin"
it does not include dashes.)
Post by Ramapriya D
I like the em dash but am confused by whether or not to surround it by
spaces. I've seen as many prescribe as proscribe it :)
Styles vary. The Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.) says no spaces, and
I concur. Other style guides may vary, but I only very rarely see spaces
used in print. One web source remarked that "Every style guide I
checked, except the AP Stylebook, stated there should be no spaces
between an em-dash and the adjacent words. That means it is a style
choice. If you're writing for a newspaper, magazine, or website that
uses Associated Press style, put in the spaces." Otherwise, omit them.
Peter T. Daniels
2016-10-31 11:44:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Walker
Post by Ramapriya D
Do you use two successive hyphens just because you can't make an em dash
appear on Google Groups or is that how you write it regardless?
It has nothing to do with "Google Groups". It is just fast and simple to
type two hyphens. Let me see if I can drop in a real dash—yes, (at least
I see it), but it was a pain in the butt; I had to open a word processor
and ask it to insert a "special character", then copy and paste that dash
in this message. (I have a "Character Map" accessory, but under "Latin"
it does not include dashes.)
They're under "General Punctuation."
Post by Eric Walker
Post by Ramapriya D
I like the em dash but am confused by whether or not to surround it by
spaces. I've seen as many prescribe as proscribe it :)
No spaces. Spaces are when you use an en-dash in the same function.
bill van
2016-10-31 17:55:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Post by Ramapriya D
Do you use two successive hyphens just because you can't make an em dash
appear on Google Groups or is that how you write it regardless?
It has nothing to do with "Google Groups". It is just fast and simple to
type two hyphens. Let me see if I can drop in a real dash—yes, (at least
I see it), but it was a pain in the butt; I had to open a word processor
and ask it to insert a "special character", then copy and paste that dash
in this message. (I have a "Character Map" accessory, but under "Latin"
it does not include dashes.)
I can produce em-dashes on my Mac keyboard. But in Usenet posts, I use a
single or double hyphen instead of a real em-dash. Not all newsreaders
have em-dashes in their vocabularies, and I've found that within two or
three replies, quoted em-dashes nearly always appear as nonsense
characters or question marks.

My preference for spacing, which was also the style at my last
newspaper, is for a space on each side of the em-dash. There is no
universal rule; each publication or individual makes a style choice,
assuming that consistency is desired.
--
bill
James Hogg
2016-10-31 22:17:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Post by Ramapriya D
Do you use two successive hyphens just because you can't make an em dash
appear on Google Groups or is that how you write it regardless?
It has nothing to do with "Google Groups". It is just fast and simple to
type two hyphens. Let me see if I can drop in a real dash—yes, (at least
I see it), but it was a pain in the butt; I had to open a word processor
and ask it to insert a "special character", then copy and paste that dash
in this message. (I have a "Character Map" accessory, but under "Latin"
it does not include dashes.)
Doesn't Alt+0151 work for you?
Post by Eric Walker
Post by Ramapriya D
I like the em dash but am confused by whether or not to surround it by
spaces. I've seen as many prescribe as proscribe it :)
Styles vary. The Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.) says no spaces, and
I concur. Other style guides may vary, but I only very rarely see spaces
used in print. One web source remarked that "Every style guide I
checked, except the AP Stylebook, stated there should be no spaces
between an em-dash and the adjacent words. That means it is a style
choice. If you're writing for a newspaper, magazine, or website that
uses Associated Press style, put in the spaces." Otherwise, omit them.
--
James
Peter Moylan
2016-11-01 00:47:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by James Hogg
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Post by Ramapriya D
Do you use two successive hyphens just because you can't make an em dash
appear on Google Groups or is that how you write it regardless?
It has nothing to do with "Google Groups". It is just fast and simple
to type two hyphens. Let me see if I can drop in a real dash—yes, (at
least I see it), but it was a pain in the butt; I had to open a word
processor and ask it to insert a "special character", then copy and
paste that dash in this message. (I have a "Character Map" accessory,
but under "Latin" it does not include dashes.)
Doesn't Alt+0151 work for you?
Alt+0151 = ù

The answer depends on your current keyboard settings, or something like
that.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Eric Walker
2016-11-01 01:26:51 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 01 Nov 2016 11:47:00 +1100, Peter Moylan wrote:

[...]
Post by Peter Moylan
The answer depends on your current keyboard settings, or something like
that.
That reminds me that I have a highly programmable keyboard. I ought to
make <Special> + - be an em dash. But I'm lazy...
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2016-11-01 08:16:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Post by Peter Moylan
The answer depends on your current keyboard settings, or something like
that.
That reminds me that I have a highly programmable keyboard. I ought to
make <Special> + - be an em dash. But I'm lazy...
Or you could use LaTeX. One of its many advantages is that it makes
that sort of thing easy. When typesetting it automatically replaces two
hyphens with an en dash, and three hyphens with an em dash. I don't use
it for posting to news groups (indeed, I don't think I could) or for
writing email messages, but with serious work it saves a lot of trouble.
--
athel
Peter T. Daniels
2016-11-01 12:11:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Eric Walker
Post by Peter Moylan
The answer depends on your current keyboard settings, or something like
that.
That reminds me that I have a highly programmable keyboard. I ought to
make <Special> + - be an em dash. But I'm lazy...
Or you could use LaTeX. One of its many advantages is that it makes
that sort of thing easy. When typesetting it automatically replaces two
hyphens with an en dash, and three hyphens with an em dash. I don't use
it for posting to news groups (indeed, I don't think I could) or for
writing email messages, but with serious work it saves a lot of trouble.
Much easier in MSWord. Ctrl-Alt-minus for em-dash, Ctrl-minus for en-dash.

Also inapplicable to newsgrouping/email, so why would Ethel mention it?
Hans Aberg
2016-11-01 21:32:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Post by Peter Moylan
The answer depends on your current keyboard settings, or something like
that.
That reminds me that I have a highly programmable keyboard. I ought to
make <Special> + - be an em dash. But I'm lazy...
Or you could use LaTeX. One of its many advantages is that it makes that
sort of thing easy. When typesetting it automatically replaces two
hyphens with an en dash, and three hyphens with an em dash. I don't use
it for posting to news groups (indeed, I don't think I could) or for
writing email messages, but with serious work it saves a lot of trouble.
On MacOS, there are text translations: an input sequence of characters
is translated interactively into another; one chooses translation pair.
Though em & en-dash are available on a number of keyboard maps. Then use
LuaTeX, which has UTF-8 support.
Eric Walker
2016-11-01 01:25:35 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 31 Oct 2016 23:17:27 +0100, James Hogg wrote:

[...]
Post by James Hogg
Doesn't Alt+0151 work for you?
Nope. Mind, I'm on Linux, not any M$ product.
Richard Heathfield
2016-11-01 07:24:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Post by James Hogg
Doesn't Alt+0151 work for you?
Nope. Mind, I'm on Linux, not any M$ product.
Ctrl-Shift U 2014 — that is, holding down Control and Shift keys
together and pressing the 'u' key, then releasing it and keying the
digits 2 0 1 4 in that order — will do the trick, as it did for me twice
in this paragraph.

To show that it's no fluke, 𐀀 is a symbol from Linear B, and here's a
Cherokee letter S: Ꮝ
--
Richard Heathfield
Email: rjh at cpax dot org dot uk
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999
Sig line 4 vacant - apply within
Eric Walker
2016-11-01 08:30:35 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 01 Nov 2016 07:24:18 +0000, Richard Heathfield wrote:

[...]
Post by Richard Heathfield
Ctrl-Shift U 2014 — that is, holding down Control and Shift keys
together and pressing the 'u' key, then releasing it and keying the
digits 2 0 1 4 in that order — will do the trick, as it did for me twice
in this paragraph.
It does not work for me. I get

u2014

with an underline, and it acts weird: doesn't let me edit or delete any
part of it, and if I try <Enter> or <Esc> it disappears and reappears,
sometimes a line higher or lower.

As I say, if I care to take the effort, I can probably program my Roccat
keyboard to do it.

But thanks for the try.
Richard Heathfield
2016-11-01 08:54:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Post by Richard Heathfield
Ctrl-Shift U 2014 — that is, holding down Control and Shift keys
together and pressing the 'u' key, then releasing it and keying the
digits 2 0 1 4 in that order — will do the trick, as it did for me twice
in this paragraph.
It does not work for me. I get
u2014
with an underline, and it acts weird: doesn't let me edit or delete any
part of it, and if I try <Enter> or <Esc> it disappears and reappears,
sometimes a line higher or lower.
Try a space character as the next character you type. That is,
Ctrl-Shift U 2014 SPACE

Sorry, I should have made that clear.
Post by Eric Walker
As I say, if I care to take the effort, I can probably program my Roccat
keyboard to do it.
But thanks for the try.
Worth one more stab, perhaps, before giving up?
--
Richard Heathfield
Email: rjh at cpax dot org dot uk
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999
Sig line 4 vacant - apply within
John Dunlop
2016-11-01 09:11:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Heathfield
Try a space character as the next character you type. That is,
Ctrl-Shift U 2014 SPACE
Sorry, I should have made that clear.
I don't think that works on all distributions.

Another try: Right Alt (or whatever your compose key is) then hyphen
three times. You can do proper quote marks and ellipses the same way,
substituting the obvious keys. Two hyphens and a full stop give an en dash.
--
John
David Kleinecke
2016-11-01 18:18:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Dunlop
Post by Richard Heathfield
Try a space character as the next character you type. That is,
Ctrl-Shift U 2014 SPACE
Sorry, I should have made that clear.
I don't think that works on all distributions.
Another try: Right Alt (or whatever your compose key is) then hyphen
three times. You can do proper quote marks and ellipses the same way,
substituting the obvious keys. Two hyphens and a full stop give an en dash.
Not on my setup (Ubuntu Linux). But it might if I really
understood how to use Command Box Right Alt brings up.
John Dunlop
2016-11-02 09:00:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by John Dunlop
Another try: Right Alt (or whatever your compose key is) then
hyphen three times. You can do proper quote marks and ellipses the
same way, substituting the obvious keys. Two hyphens and a full
stop give an en dash.
Not on my setup (Ubuntu Linux).
It works on Ubuntu 16.04, the most recent Long-Term Support version.
Post by David Kleinecke
But it might if I really understood how to use Command Box Right Alt
brings up.
There's no command box involved. It sounds as if Right Alt isn't your
compose key. You can check/change what your compose key is here:

System Settings > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Typing > Compose Key
--
John
David Kleinecke
2016-11-02 16:42:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Dunlop
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by John Dunlop
Another try: Right Alt (or whatever your compose key is) then
hyphen three times. You can do proper quote marks and ellipses the
same way, substituting the obvious keys. Two hyphens and a full
stop give an en dash.
Not on my setup (Ubuntu Linux).
It works on Ubuntu 16.04, the most recent Long-Term Support version.
Post by David Kleinecke
But it might if I really understood how to use Command Box Right Alt
brings up.
There's no command box involved. It sounds as if Right Alt isn't your
System Settings > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Typing > Compose Key
My compose key is disabled. I didn't know that because I've
never needed it. Why I want to use it?

The CTRL-SHIFT U method works in Google Groups. Would the
compose key method also work?
John Dunlop
2016-11-02 17:32:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kleinecke
My compose key is disabled. I didn't know that because I've
never needed it. Why I want to use it?
To type special characters quickly and intuitively. It also doesn't
require you to memorize code points.
Post by David Kleinecke
The CTRL-SHIFT U method works in Google Groups. Would the
compose key method also work?
One way to find out…
--
John
David Kleinecke
2016-11-02 17:43:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Dunlop
Post by David Kleinecke
My compose key is disabled. I didn't know that because I've
never needed it. Why I want to use it?
To type special characters quickly and intuitively. It also doesn't
require you to memorize code points.
Post by David Kleinecke
The CTRL-SHIFT U method works in Google Groups. Would the
compose key method also work?
One way to find out…
I am having trouble. I need to read up on how this works.
So I can't make a test.
Richard Heathfield
2016-11-02 18:33:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by John Dunlop
Post by David Kleinecke
My compose key is disabled. I didn't know that because I've
never needed it. Why I want to use it?
To type special characters quickly and intuitively. It also doesn't
require you to memorize code points.
Post by David Kleinecke
The CTRL-SHIFT U method works in Google Groups. Would the
compose key method also work?
One way to find out…
I am having trouble. I need to read up on how this works.
So I can't make a test.
The compose key works like this: —

That advice, which is guaranteed to be 100% correct and 0% helpful, is ©
2016 Me.

Okay, perhaps more usefully: set up a compose key (System
Settings/Keyboard/Shortcuts/Typing). I chose the Windows flag key on the
right-hand side of the keyboard, on the grounds that it has no other
reasonable function. Close the Systems Settings dialog.

Then, in your application, type the compose key and three consecutive
dashes, and this — happens. To give you an idea of how it compares to
the ordinary hyphen:

- (ASCII hyphen)
– (en dash)
— (em dash)

As far as I can see, the compose key method makes no distinction between
en dash and em dash. They are the same length.

The Alt-Gr technique doesn't seem to work at all.

Ctrl-Shift-U method:

-(ASCII hyphen)
– (en dash)
— (em dash)

Again, I see no distinction between en dash and em dash.
--
Richard Heathfield
Email: rjh at cpax dot org dot uk
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999
Sig line 4 vacant - apply within
Garrett Wollman
2016-11-02 19:02:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Heathfield
- (ASCII hyphen)
– (en dash)
— (em dash)
As far as I can see, the compose key method makes no distinction between
en dash and em dash. They are the same length.
That's a font/rendering issue. Your second line clearly starts with
U+2013 and the third starts with U+2014. Obviously in a monospace
font like the one most of us use to read and compose USENET articles,
there can be no width distinction (because by definition all
characters in a monospace font have the same width[1]).

-GAWollman

[1] The historic X font mechanism makes a distinction between
"monospace(d)" fonts (-m-) and "character-cell" fonts (-c-), with the
latter having the additional requirement that all characters fit in
the same, rectangular, bounding box. Some software, like old versions
of Emacs and XTerm, would leave little "crumbs" behind if you used a
monospace font rather than a character-cell font, because monospace
fonts like -adobe-courier-bold-r-normal-* paint some pixels outside
the nominal bounding box, whereas -misc-fixed-medium-r-normal-* is
guaranteed not to.
--
Garrett A. Wollman | What intellectual phenomenon can be older, or more oft
***@bimajority.org| repeated, than the story of a large research program
Opinions not shared by| that impaled itself upon a false central assumption
my employers. | accepted by all practitioners? - S.J. Gould, 1993
Richard Heathfield
2016-11-02 19:27:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by Richard Heathfield
- (ASCII hyphen)
– (en dash)
— (em dash)
As far as I can see, the compose key method makes no distinction between
en dash and em dash. They are the same length.
That's a font/rendering issue. Your second line clearly starts with
U+2013 and the third starts with U+2014. Obviously in a monospace
font like the one most of us use to read and compose USENET articles,
there can be no width distinction (because by definition all
characters in a monospace font have the same width[1]).
How foolish of me not to think of that. (And yes, I do use a fixed pitch
font!)

LaTeX, of course, makes the distinction between them very obvious indeed.
--
Richard Heathfield
Email: rjh at cpax dot org dot uk
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999
Sig line 4 vacant - apply within
Peter T. Daniels
2016-11-02 20:40:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by Richard Heathfield
- (ASCII hyphen)
– (en dash)
— (em dash)
As far as I can see, the compose key method makes no distinction between
en dash and em dash. They are the same length.
That's a font/rendering issue. Your second line clearly starts with
U+2013 and the third starts with U+2014. Obviously in a monospace
font like the one most of us use to read and compose USENET articles,
there can be no width distinction (because by definition all
characters in a monospace font have the same width[1]).
In Courier, the hyphen and en above are the same length,
the em is wider.

To use "Compose Key" as outlined by RichardH, one would have
to learn a whole new set of keying codes.

It's moot, though. There are no "System Settings" in Windows 7.
Post by Garrett Wollman
[1] The historic X font mechanism makes a distinction between
"monospace(d)" fonts (-m-) and "character-cell" fonts (-c-), with the
latter having the additional requirement that all characters fit in
the same, rectangular, bounding box. Some software, like old versions
of Emacs and XTerm, would leave little "crumbs" behind if you used a
monospace font rather than a character-cell font, because monospace
fonts like -adobe-courier-bold-r-normal-* paint some pixels outside
the nominal bounding box, whereas -misc-fixed-medium-r-normal-* is
guaranteed not to.
Richard Yates
2016-11-03 13:16:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by Richard Heathfield
- (ASCII hyphen)
– (en dash)
— (em dash)
As far as I can see, the compose key method makes no distinction between
en dash and em dash. They are the same length.
That's a font/rendering issue. Your second line clearly starts with
U+2013 and the third starts with U+2014. Obviously in a monospace
font like the one most of us use to read and compose USENET articles,
there can be no width distinction (because by definition all
characters in a monospace font have the same width[1]).
-GAWollman
[1] The historic X font mechanism makes a distinction between
"monospace(d)" fonts (-m-) and "character-cell" fonts (-c-), with the
latter having the additional requirement that all characters fit in
the same, rectangular, bounding box. Some software, like old versions
of Emacs and XTerm, would leave little "crumbs" behind if you used a
monospace font rather than a character-cell font, because monospace
fonts like -adobe-courier-bold-r-normal-* paint some pixels outside
the nominal bounding box, whereas -misc-fixed-medium-r-normal-* is
guaranteed not to.
Just checking what comes through...

Alt+0151 —
Alt+0150 –
dash -

(Windows 7, Forté Agent)
David Kleinecke
2016-11-02 21:06:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Heathfield
Okay, perhaps more usefully: set up a compose key (System
Settings/Keyboard/Shortcuts/Typing).
Briefly: I can't get a compose key set up. How do I do that?
Everything I try it stays disabled.

I chose the Windows flag key on the
Post by Richard Heathfield
right-hand side of the keyboard, on the grounds that it has no other
reasonable function. Close the Systems Settings dialog.
I can't use the flag keys in Ubuntu 16.04 because
Canonical grabbed them for its own use. But there are
many more keys.
Richard Heathfield
2016-11-02 21:39:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by Richard Heathfield
Okay, perhaps more usefully: set up a compose key (System
Settings/Keyboard/Shortcuts/Typing).
Briefly: I can't get a compose key set up. How do I do that?
Everything I try it stays disabled.
Oh dear. I can't tell you how you can do that. I can only tell you how
/I/ did that. If that doesn't work for you, I can't help.

In the top right corner of my Ubuntu desktop, to the right of the
on-screen clock, is a symbol that looks like a little gearwheel:

\ | /
- -
/ | \

When I click that, a pull-down menu appears. One of the entries in that
menu is "System Settings". When I click that, a dialog box (rather like
the Control Panel in old versions of Windows) appears. One of the icons
is entitled "Keyboard". When I click that, I am presented with the
dialog that allows me to change the key repeat rate and so on. But there
are two tabs in this dialog: "Typing" (the current tab), and
"Shortcuts". When I select "Shortcuts", a two-pane panel appears. In the
left-hand pane, I select "Typing". Now, in the right-hand pane, one of
the options is "Compose Key". If I click that, it is highlighted - not
just the words "Compose Key" but also (when I did this earlier today)
the word "Disabled". (It now reads something different.)

Clicking the word "Disabled" brings up a list:

Disabled
Right Alt
Right Ctrl
Right Win
Left Ctrl
Menu
Caps Lock

Any of these may be selected (by clicking), and that sets the Compose
Key. I believe these are the only choices, by the way.

If that doesn't work for you, I can't help.
--
Richard Heathfield
Email: rjh at cpax dot org dot uk
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999
Sig line 4 vacant - apply within
David Kleinecke
2016-11-02 22:27:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Heathfield
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by Richard Heathfield
Okay, perhaps more usefully: set up a compose key (System
Settings/Keyboard/Shortcuts/Typing).
Briefly: I can't get a compose key set up. How do I do that?
Everything I try it stays disabled.
Oh dear. I can't tell you how you can do that. I can only tell you how
/I/ did that. If that doesn't work for you, I can't help.
In the top right corner of my Ubuntu desktop, to the right of the
\ | /
- -
/ | \
When I click that, a pull-down menu appears. One of the entries in that
menu is "System Settings". When I click that, a dialog box (rather like
the Control Panel in old versions of Windows) appears. One of the icons
is entitled "Keyboard". When I click that, I am presented with the
dialog that allows me to change the key repeat rate and so on. But there
are two tabs in this dialog: "Typing" (the current tab), and
"Shortcuts". When I select "Shortcuts", a two-pane panel appears. In the
left-hand pane, I select "Typing". Now, in the right-hand pane, one of
the options is "Compose Key". If I click that, it is highlighted - not
just the words "Compose Key" but also (when I did this earlier today)
the word "Disabled". (It now reads something different.)
Disabled
Right Alt
Right Ctrl
Right Win
Left Ctrl
Menu
Caps Lock
Any of these may be selected (by clicking), and that sets the Compose
Key. I believe these are the only choices, by the way.
If that doesn't work for you, I can't help.
Bingo. Thank you for the help. I suspect you double clicked. I
selected the line then clicked inside the selection to make it
work. I picked caps-lock. I hardly ever use it.

Three hyphens gives me — Ctrl-Shift u 2014 gives me — which lookss
the same.

I think I am now capable.

Thank You again for helping me.
David Kleinecke
2016-11-03 02:50:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by Richard Heathfield
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by Richard Heathfield
Okay, perhaps more usefully: set up a compose key (System
Settings/Keyboard/Shortcuts/Typing).
Briefly: I can't get a compose key set up. How do I do that?
Everything I try it stays disabled.
Oh dear. I can't tell you how you can do that. I can only tell you how
/I/ did that. If that doesn't work for you, I can't help.
In the top right corner of my Ubuntu desktop, to the right of the
\ | /
- -
/ | \
When I click that, a pull-down menu appears. One of the entries in that
menu is "System Settings". When I click that, a dialog box (rather like
the Control Panel in old versions of Windows) appears. One of the icons
is entitled "Keyboard". When I click that, I am presented with the
dialog that allows me to change the key repeat rate and so on. But there
are two tabs in this dialog: "Typing" (the current tab), and
"Shortcuts". When I select "Shortcuts", a two-pane panel appears. In the
left-hand pane, I select "Typing". Now, in the right-hand pane, one of
the options is "Compose Key". If I click that, it is highlighted - not
just the words "Compose Key" but also (when I did this earlier today)
the word "Disabled". (It now reads something different.)
Disabled
Right Alt
Right Ctrl
Right Win
Left Ctrl
Menu
Caps Lock
Any of these may be selected (by clicking), and that sets the Compose
Key. I believe these are the only choices, by the way.
If that doesn't work for you, I can't help.
Bingo. Thank you for the help. I suspect you double clicked. I
selected the line then clicked inside the selection to make it
work. I picked caps-lock. I hardly ever use it.
Three hyphens gives me — Ctrl-Shift u 2014 gives me — which lookss
the same.
I think I am now capable.
Thank You again for helping me.
I found a lengthy tables of all the codes that go with the compose
key. It includes the characters I need most often - ə and ñ. I have
no idea how more codes might be added.
Adam Funk
2016-11-03 11:50:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by David Kleinecke
Bingo. Thank you for the help. I suspect you double clicked. I
selected the line then clicked inside the selection to make it
work. I picked caps-lock. I hardly ever use it.
Three hyphens gives me — Ctrl-Shift u 2014 gives me — which lookss
the same.
I think I am now capable.
Thank You again for helping me.
I found a lengthy tables of all the codes that go with the compose
key. It includes the characters I need most often - ə and ñ. I have
no idea how more codes might be added.
You create/edit the ~/.XCompose file; here's the top of mine:

# ~/.XCompose
# http://blog.cyberborean.org/2008/01/06/compose-key-magic
# This file defines custom Compose sequence for Unicode characters

# Import default rules from the system Compose file:
include "/usr/share/X11/locale/en_US.UTF-8/Compose"

#custom rules follow; C&P & modify from the sytem file..
--
To live without killing is a thought which could electrify the world,
if men were only capable of staying awake long enough to let the idea
soak in. --- Henry Miller
David Kleinecke
2016-11-03 17:18:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Adam Funk
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by David Kleinecke
Bingo. Thank you for the help. I suspect you double clicked. I
selected the line then clicked inside the selection to make it
work. I picked caps-lock. I hardly ever use it.
Three hyphens gives me — Ctrl-Shift u 2014 gives me — which lookss
the same.
I think I am now capable.
Thank You again for helping me.
I found a lengthy tables of all the codes that go with the compose
key. It includes the characters I need most often - ə and ñ. I have
no idea how more codes might be added.
# ~/.XCompose
# http://blog.cyberborean.org/2008/01/06/compose-key-magic
# This file defines custom Compose sequence for Unicode characters
include "/usr/share/X11/locale/en_US.UTF-8/Compose"
#custom rules follow; C&P & modify from the sytem file..
Thank You - better than the one I found.

I may make more use of it after I feel confident that using
caps-lock as the compose key causes no grief.
Adam Funk
2016-11-04 09:20:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by Adam Funk
Post by David Kleinecke
I found a lengthy tables of all the codes that go with the compose
key. It includes the characters I need most often - ə and ñ. I have
no idea how more codes might be added.
# ~/.XCompose
# http://blog.cyberborean.org/2008/01/06/compose-key-magic
# This file defines custom Compose sequence for Unicode characters
include "/usr/share/X11/locale/en_US.UTF-8/Compose"
#custom rules follow; C&P & modify from the sytem file..
Thank You - better than the one I found.
I may make more use of it after I feel confident that using
caps-lock as the compose key causes no grief.
I use the lwin key for compose because it doesn't do anything else on
my system, but you can't set lwin from the keyboard setting GUI; you
have to use dconf.
--
Whenever communication is primarily aimed at promoting consumption or
manipulating others, we are dealing with a form of violent aggression
like that suffered by the man in the parable, who was beaten by
robbers and left abandoned on the road. --- Pope Francis
Adam Funk
2016-11-02 17:43:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by John Dunlop
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by John Dunlop
Another try: Right Alt (or whatever your compose key is) then
hyphen three times. You can do proper quote marks and ellipses the
same way, substituting the obvious keys. Two hyphens and a full
stop give an en dash.
Not on my setup (Ubuntu Linux).
It works on Ubuntu 16.04, the most recent Long-Term Support version.
Post by David Kleinecke
But it might if I really understood how to use Command Box Right Alt
brings up.
There's no command box involved. It sounds as if Right Alt isn't your
System Settings > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Typing > Compose Key
My compose key is disabled. I didn't know that because I've
never needed it. Why I want to use it?
The CTRL-SHIFT U method works in Google Groups. Would the
compose key method also work?
If you enable the compose key, it should work the same way in all
applications.
--
I don't quite understand this worship of objectivity in
journalism. Now, just flat-out lying is different from being
subjective. --- Hunter S Thompson
David Kleinecke
2016-11-02 18:05:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Adam Funk
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by John Dunlop
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by John Dunlop
Another try: Right Alt (or whatever your compose key is) then
hyphen three times. You can do proper quote marks and ellipses the
same way, substituting the obvious keys. Two hyphens and a full
stop give an en dash.
Not on my setup (Ubuntu Linux).
It works on Ubuntu 16.04, the most recent Long-Term Support version.
Post by David Kleinecke
But it might if I really understood how to use Command Box Right Alt
brings up.
There's no command box involved. It sounds as if Right Alt isn't your
System Settings > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Typing > Compose Key
My compose key is disabled. I didn't know that because I've
never needed it. Why I want to use it?
The CTRL-SHIFT U method works in Google Groups. Would the
compose key method also work?
If you enable the compose key, it should work the same way in all
applications.
I haven't been able to enable the compose key and have found
no help for how to do it.

I don't doubt that using it sends the same command to all
applications - what I am dubious about is whether all
applications respond the same way.
Eric Walker
2016-11-03 03:02:40 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 02 Nov 2016 09:00:54 +0000, John Dunlop wrote:

[...]
Post by John Dunlop
There's no command box involved. It sounds as if Right Alt isn't your
System Settings > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Typing > Compose Key
Ah. It's the famous "Disabled" key. (I am too lazy to try
reconfiguring.)
Charles Bishop
2016-11-01 16:17:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Heathfield
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Ctrl-Shift U 2014 — that is, holding down Control and Shift keys
together and pressing the 'u' key, then releasing it and keying the
digits 2 0 1 4 in that order — will do the trick, as it did for me twice
in this paragraph.
It does not work for me. I get
u2014
with an underline, and it acts weird: doesn't let me edit or delete any
part of it, and if I try <Enter> or <Esc> it disappears and reappears,
sometimes a line higher or lower.
Try a space character as the next character you type. That is,
Ctrl-Shift U 2014 SPACE
Sorry, I should have made that clear.
This turned my screen blue, with a camera icon where the pointer was,
and then the sound of a shutter. It's probably a screen capture, and
I've wondered how to do that.

[snip]
--
charles
Adam Funk
2016-11-02 10:47:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Charles Bishop
Post by Richard Heathfield
Try a space character as the next character you type. That is,
Ctrl-Shift U 2014 SPACE
Sorry, I should have made that clear.
This turned my screen blue, with a camera icon where the pointer was,
and then the sound of a shutter. It's probably a screen capture, and
I've wondered how to do that.
Do you not have a "Print Screen" or "Prt Sc" key?
--
A mathematical formula should never be "owned" by anybody! Mathematics
belongs to God. --- Donald Knuth
Peter T. Daniels
2016-11-02 14:06:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Adam Funk
Post by Charles Bishop
Post by Richard Heathfield
Try a space character as the next character you type. That is,
Ctrl-Shift U 2014 SPACE
Sorry, I should have made that clear.
This turned my screen blue, with a camera icon where the pointer was,
and then the sound of a shutter. It's probably a screen capture, and
I've wondered how to do that.
Do you not have a "Print Screen" or "Prt Sc" key?
Buried _somewhere_ in Windows 7 is the "Snipping Tool." I have no
idea what stray fingertouches accidentally brought it up one day
a long time ago, but I had the wit to assign it to the Taskbar and
have been using it ever since -- you click it, it lets you draw a
rectangle around any part of the screen you want to put in a little file,
which can then either be Saved or else Pasted into a document.

Couldn't find it in Windows Help to see how to find it again if it
ever went away.
Peter Duncanson [BrE]
2016-11-02 15:42:19 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 2 Nov 2016 07:06:20 -0700 (PDT), "Peter T. Daniels"
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Adam Funk
Post by Charles Bishop
Post by Richard Heathfield
Try a space character as the next character you type. That is,
Ctrl-Shift U 2014 SPACE
Sorry, I should have made that clear.
This turned my screen blue, with a camera icon where the pointer was,
and then the sound of a shutter. It's probably a screen capture, and
I've wondered how to do that.
Do you not have a "Print Screen" or "Prt Sc" key?
Buried _somewhere_ in Windows 7 is the "Snipping Tool." I have no
idea what stray fingertouches accidentally brought it up one day
a long time ago, but I had the wit to assign it to the Taskbar and
have been using it ever since -- you click it, it lets you draw a
rectangle around any part of the screen you want to put in a little file,
which can then either be Saved or else Pasted into a document.
Couldn't find it in Windows Help to see how to find it again if it
ever went away.
Press the Windows key or click on the Start icon, bottom-left of the
screen > click on All Programs > click on Accessories. Snipping Tool is
in the list.
--
Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.usage.english)
Peter T. Daniels
2016-11-02 16:35:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
On Wed, 2 Nov 2016 07:06:20 -0700 (PDT), "Peter T. Daniels"
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Adam Funk
Do you not have a "Print Screen" or "Prt Sc" key?
Buried _somewhere_ in Windows 7 is the "Snipping Tool." I have no
idea what stray fingertouches accidentally brought it up one day
a long time ago, but I had the wit to assign it to the Taskbar and
have been using it ever since -- you click it, it lets you draw a
rectangle around any part of the screen you want to put in a little file,
which can then either be Saved or else Pasted into a document.
Couldn't find it in Windows Help to see how to find it again if it
ever went away.
Press the Windows key or click on the Start icon, bottom-left of the
screen > click on All Programs > click on Accessories. Snipping Tool is
in the list.
Nope -- I've found various useful things under Accessories, but it's not
there. Nor in the two folders within it (Ease of Access and System Tools).
Charles Bishop
2016-11-02 15:59:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Adam Funk
Post by Charles Bishop
Post by Richard Heathfield
Try a space character as the next character you type. That is,
Ctrl-Shift U 2014 SPACE
Sorry, I should have made that clear.
This turned my screen blue, with a camera icon where the pointer was,
and then the sound of a shutter. It's probably a screen capture, and
I've wondered how to do that.
Do you not have a "Print Screen" or "Prt Sc" key?
Nothing that is labeled as such. Mind, I have a very short Apple
keyboard that has a minimal key set, either for cost or so it looks
good. With my eks and jay key not working well, I'm in line to get
another one.
--
cahrles
Adam Funk
2016-11-02 17:42:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Charles Bishop
Post by Adam Funk
Post by Charles Bishop
Post by Richard Heathfield
Try a space character as the next character you type. That is,
Ctrl-Shift U 2014 SPACE
Sorry, I should have made that clear.
This turned my screen blue, with a camera icon where the pointer was,
and then the sound of a shutter. It's probably a screen capture, and
I've wondered how to do that.
Do you not have a "Print Screen" or "Prt Sc" key?
Nothing that is labeled as such. Mind, I have a very short Apple
keyboard that has a minimal key set, either for cost or so it looks
good. With my eks and jay key not working well, I'm in line to get
another one.
Oh, I dunno about an Apple keyboard.
--
Racism is a worldwide problem, but thanks to George Wallace, it's
always a little more convenient to play it with a Southern accent.
--- Patterson Hood
Hans Aberg
2016-11-02 19:57:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Adam Funk
Post by Charles Bishop
I have a very short Apple
keyboard that has a minimal key set, either for cost or so it looks
good. With my eks and jay key not working well, I'm in line to get
another one.
Oh, I dunno about an Apple keyboard.
It sends the key number to the computer, which in turn, translates it.
In the past, the number for the same key might vary between keyboards,
but there is now a standard for that.
Hans Aberg
2016-11-02 17:46:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Charles Bishop
Post by Adam Funk
Post by Charles Bishop
Post by Richard Heathfield
Try a space character as the next character you type. That is,
Ctrl-Shift U 2014 SPACE
Sorry, I should have made that clear.
This turned my screen blue, with a camera icon where the pointer was,
and then the sound of a shutter. It's probably a screen capture, and
I've wondered how to do that.
Do you not have a "Print Screen" or "Prt Sc" key?
Nothing that is labeled as such. Mind, I have a very short Apple
keyboard that has a minimal key set, either for cost or so it looks
good. With my eks and jay key not working well, I'm in line to get
another one.
On MacOS, there is a Unicode Hex Input keyboard one can choose: then
hold down the option key while typing the hex number. En & en dash
otherwise typically by holding down the option key, or it with the shift
key, typing minus. One can also set text substitutions so that say "--"
is translated into an en-dash.
Peter T. Daniels
2016-11-02 20:28:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Hans Aberg
Post by Charles Bishop
Post by Adam Funk
Post by Charles Bishop
Post by Richard Heathfield
Try a space character as the next character you type. That is,
Ctrl-Shift U 2014 SPACE
Sorry, I should have made that clear.
This turned my screen blue, with a camera icon where the pointer was,
and then the sound of a shutter. It's probably a screen capture, and
I've wondered how to do that.
Do you not have a "Print Screen" or "Prt Sc" key?
Nothing that is labeled as such. Mind, I have a very short Apple
keyboard that has a minimal key set, either for cost or so it looks
good. With my eks and jay key not working well, I'm in line to get
another one.
On MacOS, there is a Unicode Hex Input keyboard one can choose: then
hold down the option key while typing the hex number. En & en dash
otherwise typically by holding down the option key, or it with the shift
key, typing minus. One can also set text substitutions so that say "--"
is translated into an en-dash.
But don't they have to have a keypad in order to have a minus key?

Even if I had the money, I couldn't even _contemplate_ getting
a Surface, because it has no keypad, meaning that the Keyboard
Shortcuts for Find Next/Previous, Go to Start/End, and
the dashes aren't at hand.
Hans Aberg
2016-11-03 15:12:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Hans Aberg
On MacOS, there is a Unicode Hex Input keyboard one can choose: then
hold down the option key while typing the hex number. En & en dash
otherwise typically by holding down the option key, or it with the shift
key, typing minus. One can also set text substitutions so that say "--"
is translated into an en-dash.
But don't they have to have a keypad in order to have a minus key?
No, it is not needed, as it is on the regular keyboard (depending on the
key layout). Extended keyboards, with keypads, is rather out of vogue,
though they probably work.
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Even if I had the money, I couldn't even _contemplate_ getting
a Surface, because it has no keypad, meaning that the Keyboard
Shortcuts for Find Next/Previous, Go to Start/End, and
the dashes aren't at hand.
On iOS, one can press hold the minus key, to get a pop-up menu with the
en & em dash. Similar for letters with diacritical marks.
Peter T. Daniels
2016-11-03 16:55:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Hans Aberg
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Hans Aberg
On MacOS, there is a Unicode Hex Input keyboard one can choose: then
hold down the option key while typing the hex number. En & en dash
Back when I Macced, I knew how to use ResEdit to customize a keyboard to
my will. (That was before Unicode.) (It was also before OS X. Maybe it's
not available to the end user any more.)
Post by Hans Aberg
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Hans Aberg
otherwise typically by holding down the option key, or it with the shift
key, typing minus. One can also set text substitutions so that say "--"
is translated into an en-dash.
But don't they have to have a keypad in order to have a minus key?
No, it is not needed, as it is on the regular keyboard (depending on the
key layout). Extended keyboards, with keypads, is rather out of vogue,
though they probably work.
I've seen keyboards with keypad symbols added to a roughly rectangular
group of letter keys -- maybe extending up and down from K through Apostrophe
-- but you need to hold down some function key to get that function. (It's
like using the F1-F12 keys on the Windows 10 laptop, where I have to hold
the "F" key at the lower left in order to get them to perform their Word
functions (notably F3 case-changing of words or sentences and F9 dealing
with Word Fields, like bibliographies); otherwise, they do things like
turn off the keypad, dim the screen, etc.)
Post by Hans Aberg
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Even if I had the money, I couldn't even _contemplate_ getting
a Surface, because it has no keypad, meaning that the Keyboard
Shortcuts for Find Next/Previous, Go to Start/End, and
the dashes aren't at hand.
On iOS, one can press hold the minus key, to get a pop-up menu with the
en & em dash. Similar for letters with diacritical marks.
So you have to (a) press a nonexistent key (minus is not hyphen!), (b)
mouse to choose an item, and (c) click the item? That's why keyboard
shortcuts exist: mousing interrupts the typing (and writing) process.

What's iOS?
Hans Aberg
2016-11-03 17:19:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Hans Aberg
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Hans Aberg
On MacOS, there is a Unicode Hex Input keyboard one can choose: then
hold down the option key while typing the hex number. En & en dash
Back when I Macced, I knew how to use ResEdit to customize a keyboard to
my will. (That was before Unicode.) (It was also before OS X. Maybe it's
not available to the end user any more.)
One can make ones own key map using a program called Ukelele [1], but it
is very time consuming.

Text translations are fast, both to design and use. I made that for the
thousand plus Unicode math styled letters. It then works for all
applications that support the service. Check if your favorite OS has that.

1. http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&id=ukelele
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Hans Aberg
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Hans Aberg
otherwise typically by holding down the option key, or it with the shift
key, typing minus. One can also set text substitutions so that say "--"
is translated into an en-dash.
But don't they have to have a keypad in order to have a minus key?
No, it is not needed, as it is on the regular keyboard (depending on the
key layout). Extended keyboards, with keypads, is rather out of vogue,
though they probably work.
I've seen keyboards with keypad symbols added to a roughly rectangular
group of letter keys -- maybe extending up and down from K through Apostrophe
-- but you need to hold down some function key to get that function. (It's
like using the F1-F12 keys on the Windows 10 laptop, where I have to hold
the "F" key at the lower left in order to get them to perform their Word
functions (notably F3 case-changing of words or sentences and F9 dealing
with Word Fields, like bibliographies); otherwise, they do things like
turn off the keypad, dim the screen, etc.)
They used to have a software keypad on MacOS, a support page says that
pressing the function key, the keys below 7 8 9, U I O J K L M, may have
numbers on them, but it did not work
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Hans Aberg
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Even if I had the money, I couldn't even _contemplate_ getting
a Surface, because it has no keypad, meaning that the Keyboard
Shortcuts for Find Next/Previous, Go to Start/End, and
the dashes aren't at hand.
On iOS, one can press hold the minus key, to get a pop-up menu with the
en & em dash. Similar for letters with diacritical marks.
So you have to (a) press a nonexistent key (minus is not hyphen!), (b)
mouse to choose an item, and (c) click the item? That's why keyboard
shortcuts exist: mousing interrupts the typing (and writing) process.
What's iOS?
The is derivation of the OS used on the Macs, for use with touch-screen
devices, like iPhone & iPad.

So you do not have an external pointing device, but press with your
finger on the minus or letter and get a pop-up menu to choose from.

On the Macs, with a keyboard, the en & em dashes are available by
respective holding down the option key or in addition the shift key, and
then typing minus.
Richard Tobin
2016-11-03 18:36:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Hans Aberg
On iOS, one can press hold the minus key, to get a pop-up menu with the
en & em dash. Similar for letters with diacritical marks.
So you have to (a) press a nonexistent key (minus is not hyphen!)
What makes you think that the key is only a hyphen key?

The Unicode name for the character produced by the key is
HYPHEN-MINUS, and it is used for both purposes. There are separate
charaters called HYPHEN and MINUS-SIGN, but neither of them has
dedicated keys on a normal keyboard.

-- Richard
Peter T. Daniels
2016-11-03 19:08:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Tobin
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Hans Aberg
On iOS, one can press hold the minus key, to get a pop-up menu with the
en & em dash. Similar for letters with diacritical marks.
So you have to (a) press a nonexistent key (minus is not hyphen!)
What makes you think that the key is only a hyphen key?
The Unicode name for the character produced by the key is
"the key"?

The name "hyphen-minus" is an ASCII legacy. It is NOT suitable as a minus
in mathematical work.
Post by Richard Tobin
HYPHEN-MINUS, and it is used for both purposes. There are separate
charaters called HYPHEN and MINUS-SIGN, but neither of them has
dedicated keys on a normal keyboard.
The hyphen key yields a hyphen sign. Shift-hyphen yields an underscore.
In GG with IE, the minus key yields - with NumLock off and - with NumLock
on; shift-minus -, shift-minus-NumLock -. In MSWord, the plain minus key
yields a hyphen in all four combinations, but Ctrl-minus yields en-dash
and Ctrl-Alt-minus yields em-dash.

(I'm seeing this in Courier so I won't know what they look like in a
proportional font unless I open up my message after it's posted.)

Unicode in fact has several dashes besides the plain en and em. It has
minus and it has "figure dash," intended for a number-range. They either
do or can have different combining properties depending on what's on
either side.
Richard Tobin
2016-11-03 19:37:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Richard Tobin
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Hans Aberg
On iOS, one can press hold the minus key, to get a pop-up menu with the
en & em dash. Similar for letters with diacritical marks.
So you have to (a) press a nonexistent key (minus is not hyphen!)
What makes you think that the key is only a hyphen key?
The Unicode name for the character produced by the key is
"the key"?
Ah, I see.
Post by Peter T. Daniels
The hyphen key yields a hyphen sign. Shift-hyphen yields an underscore.
In GG with IE, the minus key yields - with NumLock off and - with NumLock
on; shift-minus -, shift-minus-NumLock -.
Do you realise that all those characters you have sent are the same,
the Unicode hyphen-minus character?

-- Richard
David Kleinecke
2016-11-03 20:10:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Tobin
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Richard Tobin
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Hans Aberg
On iOS, one can press hold the minus key, to get a pop-up menu with the
en & em dash. Similar for letters with diacritical marks.
So you have to (a) press a nonexistent key (minus is not hyphen!)
What makes you think that the key is only a hyphen key?
The Unicode name for the character produced by the key is
"the key"?
Ah, I see.
Post by Peter T. Daniels
The hyphen key yields a hyphen sign. Shift-hyphen yields an underscore.
In GG with IE, the minus key yields - with NumLock off and - with NumLock
on; shift-minus -, shift-minus-NumLock -.
Do you realise that all those characters you have sent are the same,
the Unicode hyphen-minus character?
-- Richard
This is an awful mess but it actually seems to be progressing.
Unicode is not perfect but it is good enough. We should wait a
long time before re-engineering it.

Given Unicode and present day computers we could start writing
everything directly to Unicode. Like plain text only Unicode.
Suppose we are trying to that. Suppose we intend to put our text
in through a keyboard. My keyboard has 124 keys. That is lot but
I could cope with more. Suppose we assume all keyboards have not
more than 256 keys - designated in the obvious way. Each key
produces succession of signals (alternating key-down and key-up
but since they alternate we use that to determine which). All that
is left is to write software that will respond to a succession
of one byte signals in a satisfactory manner.

It should be easy to do that in a way that makes the keyboard as
programmable as possible by anyone with a modicum of programming
skill. Better software than we have today.
Peter T. Daniels
2016-11-04 03:16:49 UTC
Permalink
NO, HE MOST CERTAINLY DID NOT, AND YOUR REMOVAL OF THE ATTRIBUTIONS
MAKES THE DIALOG ESSENTIALLY UNINTERPRETABLE.
Post by Richard Tobin
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Richard Tobin
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Hans Aberg
On iOS, one can press hold the minus key, to get a pop-up menu with the
en & em dash. Similar for letters with diacritical marks.
So you have to (a) press a nonexistent key (minus is not hyphen!)
What makes you think that the key is only a hyphen key?
The Unicode name for the character produced by the key is
"the key"?
Ah, I see.
Post by Peter T. Daniels
The hyphen key yields a hyphen sign. Shift-hyphen yields an underscore.
In GG with IE, the minus key yields - with NumLock off and - with NumLock
on; shift-minus -, shift-minus-NumLock -.
Do you realise that all those characters you have sent are the same,
the Unicode hyphen-minus character?
Did you fail to read the part you removed before you removed it?

I checked some of them in Word, where Alt-X gives the Uni code.
It never occurred to me to type the minus key and see what happened.
Hans Aberg
2016-11-04 10:14:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
It never occurred to me to type the minus key and see what happened.
On an extended keyboard, both minus keys produce HYPHEN-MINUS
U+002D—ASCII legacy.
Hans Aberg
2016-11-03 20:31:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Richard Tobin
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Hans Aberg
On iOS, one can press hold the minus key, to get a pop-up menu with the
en & em dash. Similar for letters with diacritical marks.
So you have to (a) press a nonexistent key (minus is not hyphen!)
What makes you think that the key is only a hyphen key?
The Unicode name for the character produced by the key is
"the key"?
The name "hyphen-minus" is an ASCII legacy. It is NOT suitable as a minus
in mathematical work.
Indeed, though LuTeX/Context math mode translates HYPHEN-MINUS U+002D,
the ASCII -, into MINUS SIGN U+2212. The keyboard, however, just
produces the ASCII -, en and em dash, on the same key.

There are a number of other math lookalikes one has to watch out for.
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Richard Tobin
HYPHEN-MINUS, and it is used for both purposes. There are separate
charaters called HYPHEN and MINUS-SIGN, but neither of them has
dedicated keys on a normal keyboard.
The hyphen key yields a hyphen sign. Shift-hyphen yields an underscore.
In GG with IE, the minus key yields - with NumLock off and - with NumLock
on; shift-minus -, shift-minus-NumLock -. In MSWord, the plain minus key
yields a hyphen in all four combinations, but Ctrl-minus yields en-dash
and Ctrl-Alt-minus yields em-dash.
(I'm seeing this in Courier so I won't know what they look like in a
proportional font unless I open up my message after it's posted.)
Unicode in fact has several dashes besides the plain en and em. It has
minus and it has "figure dash," intended for a number-range. They either
do or can have different combining properties depending on what's on
either side.
In STIX-fonts, FIGURE DASH U+2012 is a bit thicker than en-dash, more
like a math minus.
Adam Funk
2016-11-04 09:23:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Richard Tobin
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Hans Aberg
On iOS, one can press hold the minus key, to get a pop-up menu with the
en & em dash. Similar for letters with diacritical marks.
So you have to (a) press a nonexistent key (minus is not hyphen!)
What makes you think that the key is only a hyphen key?
The Unicode name for the character produced by the key is
"the key"?
The name "hyphen-minus" is an ASCII legacy. It is NOT suitable as a minus
in mathematical work.
Post by Richard Tobin
HYPHEN-MINUS, and it is used for both purposes. There are separate
charaters called HYPHEN and MINUS-SIGN, but neither of them has
dedicated keys on a normal keyboard.
It's not suitable as a minus in mathematical *typesetting*, but it
certainly is used as the minus in most programming languages &
calculator applications. That's why it's still called "hyphen-minus".
--
Mankind has invested more than four million years of evolution in the
attempt to avoid physical exertion. ... Bicycle riders would have us
throw all this on the ash heap of history. --- P.J. O'Rourke
Peter Moylan
2016-11-04 09:54:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Adam Funk
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Richard Tobin
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Hans Aberg
On iOS, one can press hold the minus key, to get a pop-up menu with the
en & em dash. Similar for letters with diacritical marks.
So you have to (a) press a nonexistent key (minus is not hyphen!)
What makes you think that the key is only a hyphen key?
The Unicode name for the character produced by the key is
"the key"?
The name "hyphen-minus" is an ASCII legacy. It is NOT suitable as a minus
in mathematical work.
Post by Richard Tobin
HYPHEN-MINUS, and it is used for both purposes. There are separate
charaters called HYPHEN and MINUS-SIGN, but neither of them has
dedicated keys on a normal keyboard.
It's not suitable as a minus in mathematical *typesetting*, but it
certainly is used as the minus in most programming languages &
calculator applications. That's why it's still called "hyphen-minus".
Remember that the early uses of computers were predominantly
mathematical, physical, and engineering applications. That's why the
keyboard needed a minus sign. Word processing came very much later, and
at that point the minus was asked to do double duty as a hyphen.
Historically, though, it was a minus.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Richard Tobin
2016-11-04 10:16:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Moylan
Remember that the early uses of computers were predominantly
mathematical, physical, and engineering applications. That's why the
keyboard needed a minus sign. Word processing came very much later, and
at that point the minus was asked to do double duty as a hyphen.
Historically, though, it was a minus.
On the other hand, computer keyboards were derived from typewriter
keyboards, and the same key already served both purposes there.
The order of symbols in ascii is partly derived from the layout
of mechanical typewriters.

-- Richard
Hans Aberg
2016-11-04 10:21:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Adam Funk
Post by Richard Tobin
HYPHEN-MINUS, and it is used for both purposes. There are separate
charaters called HYPHEN and MINUS-SIGN, but neither of them has
dedicated keys on a normal keyboard.
It's not suitable as a minus in mathematical *typesetting*, but it
certainly is used as the minus in most programming languages &
calculator applications. That's why it's still called "hyphen-minus".
TeX translates math mode HYPHEN-MINUS U+002D into a math minus, in
LuaTeX/ConTeXt, that becomes a MINUS SIGN U+2212. One can also use the
latter in UTF-8 input, with the same output.

The FIGURE DASH U+2012 is not needed in original TeX, as it has digits
has the same width as the en-dash, so it can be used instead. But one
can use it in LuaTeX/ConTeXt, and it remains the same in the output.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dash#Figure_dash
Robert Bannister
2016-11-03 23:39:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Hans Aberg
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Hans Aberg
On MacOS, there is a Unicode Hex Input keyboard one can choose: then
hold down the option key while typing the hex number. En & en dash
otherwise typically by holding down the option key, or it with the shift
key, typing minus. One can also set text substitutions so that say "--"
is translated into an en-dash.
But don't they have to have a keypad in order to have a minus key?
No, it is not needed, as it is on the regular keyboard (depending on the
key layout). Extended keyboards, with keypads, is rather out of vogue,
though they probably work.
Swype keyboards don't have a hyphen or minus key at all.
Post by Hans Aberg
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Even if I had the money, I couldn't even _contemplate_ getting
a Surface, because it has no keypad, meaning that the Keyboard
Shortcuts for Find Next/Previous, Go to Start/End, and
the dashes aren't at hand.
On iOS, one can press hold the minus key, to get a pop-up menu with the
en & em dash. Similar for letters with diacritical marks.
--
Robert B. born England a long time ago;
Western Australia since 1972
Hans Aberg
2016-11-04 10:22:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Robert Bannister
Post by Hans Aberg
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Hans Aberg
On MacOS, there is a Unicode Hex Input keyboard one can choose: then
hold down the option key while typing the hex number. En & en dash
otherwise typically by holding down the option key, or it with the shift
key, typing minus. One can also set text substitutions so that say "--"
is translated into an en-dash.
But don't they have to have a keypad in order to have a minus key?
No, it is not needed, as it is on the regular keyboard (depending on the
key layout). Extended keyboards, with keypads, is rather out of vogue,
though they probably work.
Swype keyboards don't have a hyphen or minus key at all.
On the standard iOS keyboard, one can change to a symbols mode where it is.
Reinhold {Rey} Aman
2016-11-03 04:26:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Charles Bishop
Post by Adam Funk
Do you not have a "Print Screen" or "Prt Sc" key?
Nothing that is labeled as such. Mind, I have a very short Apple
keyboard that has a minimal key set, either for cost or so it looks
good. With my eks and jay key not working well, I'm in line to get
another one.
Screenshots with even the shortest Apple / Mac keyboard:

Command + shift + 4 = section
Command + shift + 3 = whole screen

Also, if your X and J don't work, take the keyboard apart and clean it.
--
~~~ Reinhold {Rey} Aman ~~~
Eric Walker
2016-11-01 22:47:18 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 01 Nov 2016 08:54:48 +0000, Richard Heathfield wrote:

[...]
Post by Richard Heathfield
Try a space character as the next character you type. That is,
Ctrl-Shift U 2014 SPACE
Sorry, I should have made that clear.
Post by Eric Walker
As I say, if I care to take the effort, I can probably program my
Roccat keyboard to do it.
But thanks for the try.
Worth one more stab, perhaps, before giving up?
OK, let's see:


word—next word

Ta da!

Thank you again.
Garrett Wollman
2016-11-01 16:05:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Post by James Hogg
Doesn't Alt+0151 work for you?
Nope. Mind, I'm on Linux, not any M$ product.
Ctrl-Shift U 2014 — that is, holding down Control and Shift keys
together and pressing the 'u' key, then releasing it and keying the
digits 2 0 1 4 in that order — will do the trick, as it did for me twice
in this paragraph.
⥰If you use Emacs for editing text, like all right-thinking people,
then you can enter arbitrary Unicode characters by name with C-x 8 RET.
This works even if your terminal or font settings do not support the
character(s) you are inserting, like this jack-o'lantern emoji: 🎃
(U+1F383).

-GAWollman
--
Garrett A. Wollman | What intellectual phenomenon can be older, or more oft
***@bimajority.org| repeated, than the story of a large research program
Opinions not shared by| that impaled itself upon a false central assumption
my employers. | accepted by all practitioners? - S.J. Gould, 1993
Peter Moylan
2016-11-02 01:07:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Post by James Hogg
Doesn't Alt+0151 work for you?
Nope. Mind, I'm on Linux, not any M$ product.
Ctrl-Shift U 2014 — that is, holding down Control and Shift keys
together and pressing the 'u' key, then releasing it and keying the
digits 2 0 1 4 in that order — will do the trick, as it did for me twice
in this paragraph.
⥰If you use Emacs for editing text, like all right-thinking people,
then you can enter arbitrary Unicode characters by name with C-x 8 RET.
This works even if your terminal or font settings do not support the
character(s) you are inserting, like this jack-o'lantern emoji: 🎃
(U+1F383).
Yes, but don't forget to specify that you're using UTF-8 in your MIME
header.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
David Kleinecke
2016-11-02 01:40:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Post by James Hogg
Doesn't Alt+0151 work for you?
Nope. Mind, I'm on Linux, not any M$ product.
Ctrl-Shift U 2014 — that is, holding down Control and Shift keys
together and pressing the 'u' key, then releasing it and keying the
digits 2 0 1 4 in that order — will do the trick, as it did for me twice
in this paragraph.
⥰If you use Emacs for editing text, like all right-thinking people,
then you can enter arbitrary Unicode characters by name with C-x 8 RET.
This works even if your terminal or font settings do not support the
character(s) you are inserting, like this jack-o'lantern emoji: 🎃
(U+1F383).
Yes, but don't forget to specify that you're using UTF-8 in your MIME
header.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
ᎃ - looks Amharic. But it's only U+1383. An 'F' gags my machine.
🎃 Oh my god - U+1f383 works.
Garrett Wollman
2016-11-02 15:46:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Moylan
Yes, but don't forget to specify that you're using UTF-8 in your MIME
header.
That's now the Totally Official Default Charset for USENET articles.

-GAWollman
--
Garrett A. Wollman | What intellectual phenomenon can be older, or more oft
***@bimajority.org| repeated, than the story of a large research program
Opinions not shared by| that impaled itself upon a false central assumption
my employers. | accepted by all practitioners? - S.J. Gould, 1993
Peter Moylan
2016-11-03 04:32:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by Peter Moylan
Yes, but don't forget to specify that you're using UTF-8 in your MIME
header.
That's now the Totally Official Default Charset for USENET articles.
Yes, but many newsreaders don't know that.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Charles Bishop
2016-11-01 16:14:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Post by James Hogg
Doesn't Alt+0151 work for you?
Nope. Mind, I'm on Linux, not any M$ product.
Ctrl-Shift U 2014 — that is, holding down Control and Shift keys
together and pressing the 'u' key, then releasing it and keying the
digits 2 0 1 4 in that order — will do the trick, as it did for me twice
in this paragraph.
To show that it's no fluke, ? is a symbol from Linear B, and here's a
Doesn't work for me, but I get a nifty crosshairs where my pointer used
to be, and some numbers that change as I move the pointer across the
screen. The origin seems to be in the upper left hand corner of the
screen.

Useful no doubt to someone.
--
charles
David Kleinecke
2016-11-01 18:12:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Heathfield
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Post by James Hogg
Doesn't Alt+0151 work for you?
Nope. Mind, I'm on Linux, not any M$ product.
Ctrl-Shift U 2014 — that is, holding down Control and Shift keys
together and pressing the 'u' key, then releasing it and keying the
digits 2 0 1 4 in that order — will do the trick, as it did for me twice
in this paragraph.
To show that it's no fluke, 𐀀 is a symbol from Linear B, and here's a
Cherokee letter S: Ꮝ
My computer shows u2014 underlined and then changes it to a
dash when I hit a following space. If I don't add the space
different things happen - none of them right. Linear B isn't
implemented. Here is u0750: ݐ.
the
Robert Bannister
2016-10-31 23:37:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Post by Ramapriya D
Do you use two successive hyphens just because you can't make an em dash
appear on Google Groups or is that how you write it regardless?
It has nothing to do with "Google Groups". It is just fast and simple to
type two hyphens. Let me see if I can drop in a real dash—yes, (at least
I see it), but it was a pain in the butt; I had to open a word processor
and ask it to insert a "special character", then copy and paste that dash
in this message. (I have a "Character Map" accessory, but under "Latin"
it does not include dashes.)
Post by Ramapriya D
I like the em dash but am confused by whether or not to surround it by
spaces. I've seen as many prescribe as proscribe it :)
Styles vary. The Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.) says no spaces, and
I concur. Other style guides may vary, but I only very rarely see spaces
used in print. One web source remarked that "Every style guide I
checked, except the AP Stylebook, stated there should be no spaces
between an em-dash and the adjacent words. That means it is a style
choice. If you're writing for a newspaper, magazine, or website that
uses Associated Press style, put in the spaces." Otherwise, omit them.
The spaces are obligatory in American style. Non-American style guides
mostly go for spaces either side, which I much prefer, but that's a
personal preference.
--
Robert B. born England a long time ago;
Western Australia since 1972
Peter Moylan
2016-11-01 00:51:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Robert Bannister
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Post by Ramapriya D
Do you use two successive hyphens just because you can't make an em dash
appear on Google Groups or is that how you write it regardless?
It has nothing to do with "Google Groups". It is just fast and simple to
type two hyphens. Let me see if I can drop in a real dash—yes, (at least
I see it), but it was a pain in the butt; I had to open a word processor
and ask it to insert a "special character", then copy and paste that dash
in this message. (I have a "Character Map" accessory, but under "Latin"
it does not include dashes.)
Post by Ramapriya D
I like the em dash but am confused by whether or not to surround it by
spaces. I've seen as many prescribe as proscribe it :)
Styles vary. The Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.) says no spaces, and
I concur. Other style guides may vary, but I only very rarely see spaces
used in print. One web source remarked that "Every style guide I
checked, except the AP Stylebook, stated there should be no spaces
between an em-dash and the adjacent words. That means it is a style
choice. If you're writing for a newspaper, magazine, or website that
uses Associated Press style, put in the spaces." Otherwise, omit them.
The spaces are obligatory in American style. Non-American style guides
mostly go for spaces either side, which I much prefer, but that's a
personal preference.
The thing I dislike about the American style is that it looks like the
punctuation is part of a hyphenated word, and then you lose time with
the double-take as you convince yourself that it's not a long hyphen.

Still, I suppose that's just a matter of what you are used to. I have no
difficulty dealing with a period that's adjacent to a word.Now that I
think of it, though, a period that's adjacent to two words is disconcerting.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
RH Draney
2016-11-01 01:45:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Moylan
Still, I suppose that's just a matter of what you are used to. I have no
difficulty dealing with a period that's adjacent to a word.Now that I
think of it, though, a period that's adjacent to two words is disconcerting.
Do will.i.am and India.Arie put on disconcerts?...r
Peter Moylan
2016-11-01 09:48:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by RH Draney
Post by Peter Moylan
Still, I suppose that's just a matter of what you are used to. I have no
difficulty dealing with a period that's adjacent to a word.Now that I
think of it, though, a period that's adjacent to two words is
disconcerting.
Do will.i.am and India.Arie put on disconcerts?...r
I don't know. I didn't go to datconcert.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Charles Bishop
2016-11-01 16:03:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Robert Bannister
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Post by Ramapriya D
Do you use two successive hyphens just because you can't make an em dash
appear on Google Groups or is that how you write it regardless?
It has nothing to do with "Google Groups". It is just fast and simple to
type two hyphens. Let me see if I can drop in a real dash‹yes, (at least
I see it), but it was a pain in the butt; I had to open a word processor
and ask it to insert a "special character", then copy and paste that dash
in this message. (I have a "Character Map" accessory, but under "Latin"
it does not include dashes.)
Post by Ramapriya D
I like the em dash but am confused by whether or not to surround it by
spaces. I've seen as many prescribe as proscribe it :)
Styles vary. The Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.) says no spaces, and
I concur. Other style guides may vary, but I only very rarely see spaces
used in print. One web source remarked that "Every style guide I
checked, except the AP Stylebook, stated there should be no spaces
between an em-dash and the adjacent words. That means it is a style
choice. If you're writing for a newspaper, magazine, or website that
uses Associated Press style, put in the spaces." Otherwise, omit them.
The spaces are obligatory in American style. Non-American style guides
mostly go for spaces either side, which I much prefer, but that's a
personal preference.
The thing I dislike about the American style is that it looks like the
punctuation is part of a hyphenated word, and then you lose time with
the double-take as you convince yourself that it's not a long hyphen.
Still, I suppose that's just a matter of what you are used to. I have no
difficulty dealing with a period that's adjacent to a word.Now that I
think of it, though, a period that's adjacent to two words is disconcerting.
Did you do that on purpose? I skipped right over it.
--
charles
Peter Moylan
2016-11-02 01:12:05 UTC
Permalink
[em dash]
Post by Charles Bishop
Post by Peter Moylan
The thing I dislike about the American style is that it looks like the
punctuation is part of a hyphenated word, and then you lose time with
the double-take as you convince yourself that it's not a long hyphen.
Still, I suppose that's just a matter of what you are used to. I have no
difficulty dealing with a period that's adjacent to a word.Now that I
think of it, though, a period that's adjacent to two words is disconcerting.
Did you do that on purpose? I skipped right over it.
Yes, I now see that the fact that the following letter is in upper case
is a big clue. The problem is worse with other punctuation marks,a comma
for example.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Eric Walker
2016-11-01 01:29:31 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 01 Nov 2016 07:37:51 +0800, Robert Bannister wrote:

[...]
Post by Robert Bannister
The spaces are obligatory in American style. Non-American style guides
mostly go for spaces either side, which I much prefer, but that's a
personal preference.
I'm not sure how you can say that in the light of one, what the Chicago,
a very widely used North American reference, says, plus two, the quoted
observation:

"Every style guide I checked, except the AP Stylebook, stated there
should be no spaces between an em-dash and the adjacent words."
Peter T. Daniels
2016-11-01 03:22:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Robert Bannister
Post by Eric Walker
Styles vary. The Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.) says no spaces, and
I concur. Other style guides may vary, but I only very rarely see spaces
used in print. One web source remarked that "Every style guide I
checked, except the AP Stylebook, stated there should be no spaces
between an em-dash and the adjacent words. That means it is a style
choice. If you're writing for a newspaper, magazine, or website that
uses Associated Press style, put in the spaces." Otherwise, omit them.
The spaces are obligatory in American style. Non-American style guides
mostly go for spaces either side, which I much prefer, but that's a
personal preference.
"American style," if it can be so generalized, does not space around an
em-dash. Spaces around an en-dash are the British equivalent of an
American em-dash.
Joe Fineman
2016-11-01 22:07:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
"American style," if it can be so generalized, does not space around an
em-dash. Spaces around an en-dash are the British equivalent of an
American em-dash.
Increasingly imitated in the US, in my observation.
--
--- Joe Fineman ***@verizon.net

||: Choose your company before you choose your drink. :||
Adam Funk
2016-11-02 10:50:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Fineman
Post by Peter T. Daniels
"American style," if it can be so generalized, does not space around an
em-dash. Spaces around an en-dash are the British equivalent of an
American em-dash.
Increasingly imitated in the US, in my observation.
I hadn't noticed that. I get the impression that British publishers
are gradually moving to unspaced em-dashes. (As I mentioned already,
that's the OUP standard.)
--
The kid's a hot prospect. He's got a good head for merchandising, an
agent who can take you downtown and one of the best urine samples I've
seen in a long time. (Dead Kennedys t-shirt)
Robert Bannister
2016-11-02 00:45:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Robert Bannister
Post by Eric Walker
Styles vary. The Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.) says no spaces, and
I concur. Other style guides may vary, but I only very rarely see spaces
used in print. One web source remarked that "Every style guide I
checked, except the AP Stylebook, stated there should be no spaces
between an em-dash and the adjacent words. That means it is a style
choice. If you're writing for a newspaper, magazine, or website that
uses Associated Press style, put in the spaces." Otherwise, omit them.
The spaces are obligatory in American style. Non-American style guides
mostly go for spaces either side, which I much prefer, but that's a
personal preference.
"American style," if it can be so generalized, does not space around an
em-dash. Spaces around an en-dash are the British equivalent of an
American em-dash.
Clearly, I omitted the word "no". I did write "spaces either side" for
non-American style, so either my first or my second sentence had to be
wrong.
--
Robert B. born England a long time ago;
Western Australia since 1972
Quinn C
2016-11-02 21:54:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Robert Bannister
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Robert Bannister
The spaces are obligatory in American style. Non-American style guides
mostly go for spaces either side, which I much prefer, but that's a
personal preference.
"American style," if it can be so generalized, does not space around an
em-dash. Spaces around an en-dash are the British equivalent of an
American em-dash.
Clearly, I omitted the word "no". I did write "spaces either side" for
non-American style, so either my first or my second sentence had to be
wrong.
I thought so, but "no spaces are obligatory" doesn't convey the
right meaning to me, either.
--
The trouble some people have being German, I thought,
I have being human.
-- Margaret Atwood, Surfacing (novel), p.130
Robert Bannister
2016-11-02 23:29:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quinn C
Post by Robert Bannister
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Robert Bannister
The spaces are obligatory in American style. Non-American style guides
mostly go for spaces either side, which I much prefer, but that's a
personal preference.
"American style," if it can be so generalized, does not space around an
em-dash. Spaces around an en-dash are the British equivalent of an
American em-dash.
Clearly, I omitted the word "no". I did write "spaces either side" for
non-American style, so either my first or my second sentence had to be
wrong.
I thought so, but "no spaces are obligatory" doesn't convey the
right meaning to me, either.
Sometimes, my urge to type something overcomes my urge to phrase it in
elegant English (or in some cases, any form of comprehensible English).
--
Robert B. born England a long time ago;
Western Australia since 1972
Peter T. Daniels
2016-11-03 04:16:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quinn C
Post by Robert Bannister
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Robert Bannister
The spaces are obligatory in American style. Non-American style guides
mostly go for spaces either side, which I much prefer, but that's a
personal preference.
"American style," if it can be so generalized, does not space around an
em-dash. Spaces around an en-dash are the British equivalent of an
American em-dash.
Clearly, I omitted the word "no". I did write "spaces either side" for
non-American style, so either my first or my second sentence had to be
wrong.
I thought so, but "no spaces are obligatory" doesn't convey the
right meaning to me, either.
"no spaces is obligatory" does.
Adam Funk
2016-11-01 11:45:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Robert Bannister
Post by Eric Walker
Styles vary. The Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.) says no spaces, and
I concur. Other style guides may vary, but I only very rarely see spaces
used in print. One web source remarked that "Every style guide I
checked, except the AP Stylebook, stated there should be no spaces
between an em-dash and the adjacent words. That means it is a style
choice. If you're writing for a newspaper, magazine, or website that
uses Associated Press style, put in the spaces." Otherwise, omit them.
I'm surprised the AP wants the spaces---I thought newspapers tried to
save space wherever possible.
Post by Robert Bannister
The spaces are obligatory in American style. Non-American style guides
mostly go for spaces either side, which I much prefer, but that's a
personal preference.
I think that's backwards: American publishers use an em-dash without
spaces; British publishers often [1] use an en-dash with spaces for
the same thing. (Both kinds use an en-dash without spaces for things
like ranges of numbers.)

[1] The OUP style manuals specify unspaced em-dashes. I get the
impression that other British publishers are gradually moving to
that.
--
A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition.
--- Henry Miller
bill van
2016-11-01 18:40:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Adam Funk
Post by Eric Walker
Styles vary. The Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.) says no spaces, and
I concur. Other style guides may vary, but I only very rarely see spaces
used in print. One web source remarked that "Every style guide I
checked, except the AP Stylebook, stated there should be no spaces
between an em-dash and the adjacent words. That means it is a style
choice. If you're writing for a newspaper, magazine, or website that
uses Associated Press style, put in the spaces." Otherwise, omit them.
I'm surprised the AP wants the spaces---I thought newspapers tried to
save space wherever possible.
The AP is not a newspaper; the newspapers that receive AP copy modify it
to conform to their own styles.

There are also long- and short-term trends in newspaper design and
layout away from saving space at all costs. They use white space, both
in page layout and in body type, and photos and other illustrations to
make reading easier on the eye. Contrast today's newspapers with, say,
the front page of the New York Times in the early 1900s: a sea of
densely spaced grey type with no illustrations and little or no white
space.
--
bill
Adam Funk
2016-11-02 10:49:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by bill van
Post by Adam Funk
Post by Eric Walker
Styles vary. The Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.) says no spaces, and
I concur. Other style guides may vary, but I only very rarely see spaces
used in print. One web source remarked that "Every style guide I
checked, except the AP Stylebook, stated there should be no spaces
between an em-dash and the adjacent words. That means it is a style
choice. If you're writing for a newspaper, magazine, or website that
uses Associated Press style, put in the spaces." Otherwise, omit them.
I'm surprised the AP wants the spaces---I thought newspapers tried to
save space wherever possible.
(I was thinking of things like Times New Roman & similar fonts, which
people often use in inappropriately wide columns.)
Post by bill van
The AP is not a newspaper; the newspapers that receive AP copy modify it
to conform to their own styles.
True, but the P in AP suggests to me that their output is intended
mainly for newspaper (re-)use.
Post by bill van
There are also long- and short-term trends in newspaper design and
layout away from saving space at all costs. They use white space, both
in page layout and in body type, and photos and other illustrations to
make reading easier on the eye. Contrast today's newspapers with, say,
the front page of the New York Times in the early 1900s: a sea of
densely spaced grey type with no illustrations and little or no white
space.
"wall of text" ;-)
--
There's a statute of limitations with the law, but not with
your wife. --- Ray Magliozzi, Car Talk 2011-36
Peter T. Daniels
2016-11-02 14:09:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Adam Funk
Post by Adam Funk
I'm surprised the AP wants the spaces---I thought newspapers tried to
save space wherever possible.
(I was thinking of things like Times New Roman & similar fonts, which
people often use in inappropriately wide columns.)
The rule of thumb is that a line of text type should be about 2.5 alphabets
long, or about 65 characters. (Hmm, maybe Russians use the same rule,
accounting for the longness of their lines. Which on top of the lesser
distinctiveness of the letters makes Russian print harder to read.)
Adam Funk
2016-11-02 17:41:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Adam Funk
Post by Adam Funk
I'm surprised the AP wants the spaces---I thought newspapers tried to
save space wherever possible.
(I was thinking of things like Times New Roman & similar fonts, which
people often use in inappropriately wide columns.)
The rule of thumb is that a line of text type should be about 2.5 alphabets
long, or about 65 characters.
I don't know if I've heard it cited as some factor X alphabet size
before, but I've heard of various ranges like 60 to 75 characters.
This is why a lot of conferences use a 2-column format --- you can
actually get more words on the page while complying with a principle
like that.
Post by Peter T. Daniels
(Hmm, maybe Russians use the same rule,
accounting for the longness of their lines. Which on top of the lesser
distinctiveness of the letters makes Russian print harder to read.)
Hmm indeed!
--
Carrots continue to suffer from the jibes of people who like to
dispense what H. W. Fowler called "worn-out humor."
--- Joy of Cooking 1975
bill van
2016-11-02 18:22:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Adam Funk
Post by bill van
Post by Adam Funk
Post by Eric Walker
Styles vary. The Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.) says no spaces, and
I concur. Other style guides may vary, but I only very rarely see spaces
used in print. One web source remarked that "Every style guide I
checked, except the AP Stylebook, stated there should be no spaces
between an em-dash and the adjacent words. That means it is a style
choice. If you're writing for a newspaper, magazine, or website that
uses Associated Press style, put in the spaces." Otherwise, omit them.
I'm surprised the AP wants the spaces---I thought newspapers tried to
save space wherever possible.
(I was thinking of things like Times New Roman & similar fonts, which
people often use in inappropriately wide columns.)
Post by bill van
The AP is not a newspaper; the newspapers that receive AP copy modify it
to conform to their own styles.
True, but the P in AP suggests to me that their output is intended
mainly for newspaper (re-)use.
The AP was founded in 1846, when newspapers were the only game in town.
Today, it has roughly 1,700 newspapers among its members, and 5,000
radio and television outlets.

Space is not a concern for the AP; it wants to give its members as much
information in a given story as possible. Members employ their own
editors to tailor each story to the desired size.

Smaller papers with few editorial employees are catered to by wire
services. When I worked for the Canadian Press (also a cooperative owned
by its members), one of my tasks was to edit the day's major stories
down to six or eight column inches each, and all the rest of the news
into two-paragraph items complete with suggested headlines.

But even in that context, whether or not there is a space on either side
of an em-dash makes no difference to anyone.
Post by Adam Funk
Post by bill van
There are also long- and short-term trends in newspaper design and
layout away from saving space at all costs. They use white space, both
in page layout and in body type, and photos and other illustrations to
make reading easier on the eye. Contrast today's newspapers with, say,
the front page of the New York Times in the early 1900s: a sea of
densely spaced grey type with no illustrations and little or no white
space.
"wall of text" ;-)
Phil Spector is spinning in his gra... uh, prison cell.
--
bill
Adam Funk
2016-11-03 12:15:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by bill van
Post by Adam Funk
Post by bill van
Post by Adam Funk
I'm surprised the AP wants the spaces---I thought newspapers tried to
save space wherever possible.
(I was thinking of things like Times New Roman & similar fonts, which
people often use in inappropriately wide columns.)
Post by bill van
The AP is not a newspaper; the newspapers that receive AP copy modify it
to conform to their own styles.
True, but the P in AP suggests to me that their output is intended
mainly for newspaper (re-)use.
The AP was founded in 1846, when newspapers were the only game in town.
Today, it has roughly 1,700 newspapers among its members, and 5,000
radio and television outlets.
Space is not a concern for the AP; it wants to give its members as much
information in a given story as possible. Members employ their own
editors to tailor each story to the desired size.
Smaller papers with few editorial employees are catered to by wire
services. When I worked for the Canadian Press (also a cooperative owned
by its members), one of my tasks was to edit the day's major stories
down to six or eight column inches each, and all the rest of the news
into two-paragraph items complete with suggested headlines.
But even in that context, whether or not there is a space on either side
of an em-dash makes no difference to anyone.
Interesting, thanks.
--
Morality is doing what's right regardless of what you're
told. Obedience is doing what you're told regardless of what is
right. --- H. L. Mencken
Joe Fineman
2016-10-31 22:41:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Walker
Throughout my life I've never needed the "em" dash. I suppose I viewed
it as a journalistic extravagance. Now I see that Dickens used it
extensively. What is worse Eric is at home with it! Perhaps he can tell
me what it adds to the pause :)
Force. It is a stronger separator than a simple colon, or than an
ellipsis. It makes what follows it somewhat more emphatic.
John loved only one woman: Mary.
That is just a simple statement.
John loved only one woman...Mary.
That provides a slight sense of "wait for it, wait for it" emphasis.
And a substantial sense of "I am a vulgar writer". As a copyeditor, I
would not allow that in serious prose.
Post by Eric Walker
John loved only one woman--Mary.
There is something striking or unexpected about the revelation of who it
was.
It seems to me that the right contrast is not between an em dash and a
colon, but between a pair of em dashes and parentheses. Unfortunately,
we are no longer allowed to put either dash next to punctuation, so
confusion is inevitable. The difference between

John loved only one woman (Mary).

and

John loved only one woman -- Mary [--].

is that the first parenthesis is deemphasized and the second one
emphasized.

(Here, as usual, I am writing in monospace & expect to be read that way,
so I have replaced em dashes with " -- ".)
--
--- Joe Fineman ***@verizon.net

||: I hope life isn't a joke, because I don't get it. :||
Eric Walker
2016-11-01 01:40:45 UTC
Permalink
[...]
Post by Joe Fineman
Post by Eric Walker
John loved only one woman...Mary.
That provides a slight sense of "wait for it, wait for it" emphasis.
And a substantial sense of "I am a vulgar writer". As a copyeditor, I
would not allow that in serious prose.
I think that depends on what sort of "serious prose". In something like
a scientific paper, it is probably not good form (though those are
getting rather less starchy by the year). In fiction, even of the
highest order of literacy, I see no problem whatever with it. Do you
generically disapprove of the ellipsis for anything but omitted
material? If so, that is rather cramping style. As one usage manual
says, an ellipsis can be used "to suggest the trailing off of a thought
or an unwillingness to complete it." Not to be overused, but useful on
occasion.
Post by Joe Fineman
Post by Eric Walker
John loved only one woman--Mary.
There is something striking or unexpected about the revelation of who
it was.
It seems to me that the right contrast is not between an em dash and a
colon, but between a pair of em dashes and parentheses.
I don't see the problem. Lots of paired expressions for parenthetical
material, from simple commas th em dashes, lose the second item when the
sentence ends without a resumption of the pre-starter flow; indeed, I
believe the parens pair is the only exception. While colons are never
paired, the difference between a colon and a single dash or even single
comma is not categorical.
Post by Joe Fineman
Unfortunately, we are no longer allowed to put either dash next to
punctuation, so confusion is inevitable. The difference between
John loved only one woman (Mary).
and
John loved only one woman -- Mary [--].
is that the first parenthesis is deemphasized and the second one
emphasized.
I repeat that in my book, that doesn't matter. The literally
parenthetical "(Mary)" does not suffer in any way as compared to "--
Mary." The only difference, and it is wanted, is in emphasis.
Joe Fineman
2016-11-01 22:04:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Post by Joe Fineman
Post by Eric Walker
John loved only one woman...Mary.
That provides a slight sense of "wait for it, wait for it" emphasis.
And a substantial sense of "I am a vulgar writer". As a copyeditor, I
would not allow that in serious prose.
I think that depends on what sort of "serious prose". In something like
a scientific paper, it is probably not good form (though those are
getting rather less starchy by the year). In fiction, even of the
highest order of literacy, I see no problem whatever with it. Do you
generically disapprove of the ellipsis for anything but omitted
material? If so, that is rather cramping style. As one usage manual
says, an ellipsis can be used "to suggest the trailing off of a thought
or an unwillingness to complete it." Not to be overused, but useful on
occasion.
I agree, so long as the trailing off is of a character's thought & not
the author's. I also concede that the usage I call vulgar has been
going on for a long time -- starting (IIRC) in advertising and spreading
by imitation. Here are some examples (from récit; there are *many* in
conversation) from a novel published in 1951 that I have long prized for
its vulgarity:

A big, six-foot-tall, yellow-headed whore who was trying to use me
. . . who had intruded herself into my privacy and who wanted to
intrude herself into my home.

Thousands of the aristocrats of war's traveling men . . . the young
flyers . . . the chaps who had never earned thirty dollars a week
but (etc.)

others . . . even as late as fifty . . . are not married

So there was nothing that the "city" . . . the homefolks . . . the
provincials . . . could do about the Hilltop Whorehouse.
-- William Bradford Huie, _The Revolt of Mamie Stover_
Post by Eric Walker
Post by Joe Fineman
It seems to me that the right contrast is not between an em dash and a
colon, but between a pair of em dashes and parentheses.
I don't see the problem. Lots of paired expressions for parenthetical
material, from simple commas th em dashes, lose the second item when the
sentence ends without a resumption of the pre-starter flow; indeed, I
believe the parens pair is the only exception.
The dash, up to my lifetime, was another exception. I regret that the
publishers did away with it.
--
--- Joe Fineman ***@verizon.net

||: "That would only confuse them" means "That risks alerting :||
||: them to their confusion". :||
Robert Bannister
2016-11-02 02:27:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Post by Joe Fineman
Post by Eric Walker
John loved only one woman...Mary.
That provides a slight sense of "wait for it, wait for it" emphasis.
And a substantial sense of "I am a vulgar writer". As a copyeditor, I
would not allow that in serious prose.
I think that depends on what sort of "serious prose". In something like
a scientific paper, it is probably not good form (though those are
getting rather less starchy by the year). In fiction, even of the
highest order of literacy, I see no problem whatever with it. Do you
generically disapprove of the ellipsis for anything but omitted
material? If so, that is rather cramping style. As one usage manual
says, an ellipsis can be used "to suggest the trailing off of a thought
or an unwillingness to complete it." Not to be overused, but useful on
occasion.
Post by Joe Fineman
Post by Eric Walker
John loved only one woman--Mary.
There is something striking or unexpected about the revelation of who
it was.
It seems to me that the right contrast is not between an em dash and a
colon, but between a pair of em dashes and parentheses.
I don't see the problem. Lots of paired expressions for parenthetical
material, from simple commas th em dashes, lose the second item when the
sentence ends without a resumption of the pre-starter flow; indeed, I
believe the parens pair is the only exception. While colons are never
paired, the difference between a colon and a single dash or even single
comma is not categorical.
Post by Joe Fineman
Unfortunately, we are no longer allowed to put either dash next to
punctuation, so confusion is inevitable. The difference between
John loved only one woman (Mary).
and
John loved only one woman -- Mary [--].
is that the first parenthesis is deemphasized and the second one
emphasized.
I repeat that in my book, that doesn't matter. The literally
parenthetical "(Mary)" does not suffer in any way as compared to "--
Mary." The only difference, and it is wanted, is in emphasis.
+1
--
Robert B. born England a long time ago;
Western Australia since 1972
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