"Mirrorless" is the future???

Started Feb 16, 2012 | Discussions thread
Doug Bale
Regular MemberPosts: 367
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How's your French?
In reply to cedrec, Mar 26, 2012

cedrec wrote:

BTW, spaces go after the punctuation. Not before it. Putting spaces before periods, commas, exclamation marks, question marks, and other punctuation is improper. It distracts from what you're saying because it makes you look uneducated. Please take note of it.

Doug Bale wrote:

Actually, cedrec, it's neither improper nor an indication of imperfect education. It's just not customary in North America. The space before punctuation marks is common in many European countries, including the U.K., where the previous poster lives.

cedrec wrote:

Where do you get your information? This is 100% false.

http://www.interpc.fr/mapage/billaud/ponctua.htm#refbib is a page from a French website on punctuation. As you'll see, it notes that contemporary typography in France distinguishes between "signes simples" (commas, periods and the so-called horizontal ellipsis), which are written with no preceding space, and "signes doubles" (colons, semi-colons, exclamation points and question marks), which do require spaces before them.

It gets even trickier than that. "Guillemets" (French quotation marks) take no preceding spaces — unless the quotation is followed immediately by a "signe simple", in which case the opening quotation mark is followed by a space and the closing mark is preceded by one.

Lest you suppose I've cherry-picked my example, you could have a look at other articles on French punctuation, such as http://alexiadupredoan.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/espece-despace/ .

French isn't the only European language in which these or similar rules are followed.

It's worth noting that the page cited first also distinguishes among several kinds of literary work for which different rules sometimes apply. Millet won't look like Molière.

And to conclude, you can't — that is, one can't — be too dogmatic even about punctuation rules in one's own language. I'm writing in a colloquial forum here, so I could say, for example, that you're wrong in declaring my earlier post to be "100% false". But a professional graphic artist in America would write the end of that sentence as "100% false." The period would be tucked inside the quote mark, visual neatness trumping grammatical logic.

On ne sait jamais.

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