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Re: [groff] 02/11: doc/groff.texi: Fix style nits.

From: Damian McGuckin
Subject: Re: [groff] 02/11: doc/groff.texi: Fix style nits.
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 2021 15:33:55 +1000 (AEST)
User-agent: Alpine 2.02 (LRH 1266 2009-07-14)

On Mon, 16 Aug 2021, Werner LEMBERG wrote:

    * Use "e.g." and "i.e." correctly; that is, with a trailing

Well, a lot of people from England would strongly disagree that this
is 'correct', since those abbreviations are used there *without* a
trailing comma...  Of course, were the groff manual following an
English writing style, it would be necessary to either say
`@frenchspacing on` or use `@:` appropriately.

My GO-TO Guide is The Elements of Style by Strunk (& White). But the Yale professor is sadly silent on this. And my fall back is The Economist's Style Guide or Fowler's Modern English usage. And they seem silent too.

From the Oxford Dictionary's website about grammar, an example is

        Life events (e.g. birth, death, and marriage)

There is no trailing comma. The British writing style leans more to text readability and writing convenience by using relatively fewer punctuation marks.

The European Commission's Style Guide for English follows the same line:

It avoids the trailing command and mandates it out explicitly on Page 16. Then again, that document rarely uses the abbreviation "e.g." and instead uses the words in full, as also recommended by some other style guides, especially those which have to cater for those where English is not their mother tongue. See below.

The AP, APA and CMS Style Guides, all of American origin, have a mandatory comma. While these Guides live behind paywalls, the Q+A web site of the Chicago Manual of Style says to "Put a comma before and after; avoid using both in the same sentence; and try not to use either in formal prose. And (a bonus tip) if you start a list with e.g., theres no need to put etc. at the end."

The British writing style seems more authorative. But what do I know? I am an Aussie. Avoiding those abbreviations altogether is truly modern trend so the trend is:

        such as  (not e.g. or for example)
        that is  (not i.e.)
        and so on (not etc.)

Some people use "such as" instead of "for example". Three extra characters in the former in OK, but an extra seven is too much (for me). :) The Guardian and Observer Style Guide does not use those abbreviations either.

Note that James Clark is an English citizen but a Thai permanent resident.
Does that mean the American connection to style is tenuous?

Stay safe - Damian

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