Re: implementation of FIRST-LETTER - possible problem

Peter Flynn (
29 Sep 1997 14:51:43 +0100

Date: 29 Sep 1997 14:51:43 +0100
From: Peter Flynn <>
In-reply-to: <> (message from Chris Croome on
Message-id: <>
Subject: Re: implementation of FIRST-LETTER - possible problem

Chris Croome writes:

   1)	When the first paragraph is a quote, e.g. "In my
   experience, browser support for CSS is..." In this case BOTH
   the " and the first letter should be counted at the
   FIRST-LETTER. Will this be the case?

See my articles on dropped caps under the banner of _Typographers'
Inn_ in several successive issues of _TeX and TUG News_ (1:3, 1:4,
2:1, 2:2, 2:4, see [1]). In particular in 2:4 I noted:

   [...] Anne McCaffrey's _Crystal Line_ in the US paperback edition
   (Del Rey/Ballantine, 1992, ISBN 0-345-38491-1) and was amused to
   see the opening of the first chapter with a 3-line dropped
   cap[...]. Quite correctly, all three opening quotes and the A were
   dropped into the paragraph, but this takes up over a third of the
   measure. Some days you just can't win...

The text in question was a "quote within 'a quote'", as the first word
of the chapter! On reflection, I think I would prefer only the first
letter dropped in thse circumstances, and the quotation marks left in
the bodytext size of type and tucked in around the letter.

   2)	When the page is in the form of questions and answers,
   e.g. Q: What do you think of browser support for CSS... In
   this case both the Q and the : should be counted as the
   FIRST-LETTER. Again will this be the case?

I would never ever use dropped caps that frequently, the page would
look like a parish bazaar. Stick to chapter starts. But to answer the
question on colons: I'd keep the colon in the regular size and tuck it
in tight against the large cap.