Re: space

Peter Flynn (
23 Sep 1996 09:56:23 +0100

Date: 23 Sep 1996 09:56:23 +0100
From: Peter Flynn <>
Subject: Re: space
In-reply-to: <> (message from Carl Morris
Message-id: <>

   Formally, in the English language there are situations apon which extra
   space is inserted between items.  Some examples include the two space
   after a period ending a sentence 

No, this is an antique convention or artifice from the days of the
typewriter.  Printers in English tradiotionally insert a small amount
of extra space after a period, but not usually as much as a two whole
letter-spaces from a fixed-width font would imply. To try to insert
that much space when using a proportionally spaced font will probably
look very strange.

   and the two spaces between the state and zip code in an address.  

As I understood it, this was recommended when the address was block-
formatted for an envelope (ie line by line), not when an address was
embedded in a paragraph. Again, "two spaces" is not a meaningful
quantity when using regular proportional fonts which may en up being
justified: the space is a flexible quantity, so you have to specify a
dimension like "2 picas" or "18 points".

   Do people suggest this extra space be
   maintained in HTML documents and how do people propose to do it?

The ISOpub character entity set contains the following, which should
be adequate:

<!ENTITY emsp   SDATA "[emsp  ]" -- em space -- >
<!ENTITY ensp   SDATA "[ensp  ]" -- en space (1/2-em) -- >
<!ENTITY emsp13 SDATA "[emsp3 ]" -- 1/3-em space -- >
<!ENTITY emsp14 SDATA "[emsp4 ]" -- 1/4-em space -- >
<!ENTITY numsp  SDATA "[numsp ]" -- digit space (width of a number) -- >
<!ENTITY puncsp SDATA "[puncsp]" -- punctuation space (width of comma) -- >
<!ENTITY thinsp SDATA "[thinsp]" -- thin space (1/6-em) -- >
<!ENTITY hairsp SDATA "[hairsp]" -- hair space -- >

Again, all this has been defined for years: all the browsers have to
do is implement it.