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3022Re: Non-breaking hyphen [NH]

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  • Bruce Somers
    Aug 14, 2002
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      Hi Alec,

      I wrote
      -- But it seems peculiar indeed, that there should be no non-breaking
      -- hyphen as a companion to the non-breaking space.

      You replied
      -- Not speaking about HTML here, but just about how books and
      -- newspapers are "normally" printed - aren't there really two kinds
      -- of hyphens, ones that are always there even if the word/phrase
      -- does NOT require breaking (your example: Nielsen-Stokeby) and
      -- hyphens that MAY be inserted as part of the right justification
      -- process (eg. syl·la·ble)

      -- My point: either of these [Nielsen-Stokeby and syl·la·ble] can be
      -- legitimately broken, so why would a non-breaking hyphen be
      -- necessary"?

      Certainly, there are more kinds of hyphen-like characters. You have
      introduced one that I don't recognize in syl·la·ble.

      For me, it is less a question as to when lines are REQUIRED to be
      broken, than to when it is ALLOWED. I'm puzzled at the character
      strings which you feel can be split legitimately. I would not split
      proper names, such as "Nielsen-Stokeby" nor, as Fay mentioned, "E A
      Poe", and your example "syl·la·ble" could scarcely be allowed to be

      In the usual displays or print-outs, lines are split when a certain
      maximum (column) length is about to be exceeded. The display and
      print routines scan back to the most recent space or hyphen and split
      the line there. In cases of proper names, technical terms, and other
      entities that should not be separated, one resorts to the so-called
      non-breaking space and non-breaking hyphen, that do not allow the line
      (character string) to be split.

      There are of course, many more problems! What to do with what is
      called a Gedankenstrich in German - used to introduce an aside of
      sorts - which is certainly not an acceptable point at which to split a
      line. I suppose it COULD be rendered by the sequence

      word/non-breaking space/non-breaking hyphen/non-breaking space/word

      preventing a line split anywhere within this sequence, IF indeed, we
      had a non-breaking hyphen.

      The non-breaking hyphen does exist in the real-computer world, but
      seems to be lacking in the PC (Pseudo-Computer) world.

      Regards Bruce

      BTW - I have a problem with "the right justification process".

      I assume that you were thinking of right-justified text and not of the
      most suitable process for creating it (the right/correct justification
      process)? I'm being picky, I know - it's for dramatic effect! LOL
      Careful use of hyphens can greatly improve the ease of readability of
      a text and in certain cases even prevent misconceptions.

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