[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [Nmh-workers] refile's -retainsequences switch

From: Robert Elz
Subject: Re: [Nmh-workers] refile's -retainsequences switch
Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2014 06:44:45 +0700

    Date:        Sun, 20 Apr 2014 16:34:25 -0400
    From:        Ken Hornstein <address@hidden>
    Message-ID:  <address@hidden>

  | So exactly when should one use '-', and when should one use \-?

Hyphens go in the middle of hyphenated words, and basically no place
else (and when you're typing *roff, should almost never be typed, allow
*roff to insert hyphens when required - other than words for which the spelling
demands a hyphen).   \- (minus) basically belongs to mathematics, and similar.

Everywhere else you want one of either n or m dashes, \(en or \(em, depending
upon how wide you want it to be.   When producing ascii they all make -
of course, but for better output formats they're all distinct (\- (minus)
is a bit odd, as it is positioned at half digit height, the others at half
n height, which is a bit lower - but that's one reason you really don't
want to mis-use minus as a hyphen.

  | The convention seems to be \- is used as the prefix to switches, for
  | example, but why?

In commands like "ls -l" (or refile -retainsequences) the switch indicator
(the -) was selected as the ascii character, then had to be mapped
to one of the dash types when typeset ... hyphens are too short, and look
ugly, n & m dashes are a bit too wide (m dash much too wide), minus is
what was left...   It also fits kind of neatly with the analogy to
negative numbers, which is normally the only place (unix command switches 
excepted) that you ever see a "word" starting with a dash type glyph, (that
is, -2 is natural, -foo (if it isn't a switch) is not).  Dashes otherwise 
normally appear surrounded by spaces (or each other) or with word
characters on both sides.


reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]