Why `set cpoptions+=J`? #1

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orpheuslummis opened this Issue Feb 1, 2012 · 2 comments

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@orpheuslummis

Hello. I'm intriged by the reason why you're ending your sentences with two spaces instead of the more conventional one space. Could you enlighten me on this?

Semi-related: I'm currently reading Learn Vimscript the Hard Way. I'm loving it so much. Thanks a lot.

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sjl Feb 4, 2012

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I'm a two-spacer. I learned that way and have been doing it my whole life.

Lately there's been a resurgence of people saying stuff like "we don't use typewriters any more, you shouldn't use two spaces, you caveman!" That dumb Slate article that came out a while ago probably had something to do with this movement.

Here's the thing: people didn't two-space with typewriters just because they were using a typewriter. They two-spaced with typewriters because typewriters used a monospaced font.

What else uses monospaced fonts?

Text editors!

When I'm looking at sentences in a monospaced font (as I am right now while writing this in Vim) having two spaces between them makes them much easier to read. At least, it looks better to my eyes, and this is how the whole trend got started, so I think most people will agree on that.

It also has the added benefit of letting me use cpoptions+=J, which makes Vim's sentence text object more robust (abbreviations like Mr. and Dr. won't break it).

I'm not personally convinced that one space actually does look better with a non-monospaced font, but a bunch of people say it does, so what happens when the stuff I write is rendered and viewed with a variable width font? When this comment actually gets published on GitHub it will be as HTML, which doesn't render the extra space. The same goes for all my blog posts and documentation.

I'm not sure about email clients, but I think most of them will display emails either in monospaced plaintext (where two spaces looks good) or as HTML (which collapses the spaces). There may be some that display two spaces in a non-monospaced font, but I'm willing to live with that.

So in a nutshell:

  • I pretty much never write in a program/format where the output will look bad because of my two-spacing.
  • The text will look better as I'm writing it.
  • It gives me a tangible advantage (robust sentence text objects) while writing and editing.

I'll be a two-spacer for the forseeable future.

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sjl commented Feb 4, 2012

I'm a two-spacer. I learned that way and have been doing it my whole life.

Lately there's been a resurgence of people saying stuff like "we don't use typewriters any more, you shouldn't use two spaces, you caveman!" That dumb Slate article that came out a while ago probably had something to do with this movement.

Here's the thing: people didn't two-space with typewriters just because they were using a typewriter. They two-spaced with typewriters because typewriters used a monospaced font.

What else uses monospaced fonts?

Text editors!

When I'm looking at sentences in a monospaced font (as I am right now while writing this in Vim) having two spaces between them makes them much easier to read. At least, it looks better to my eyes, and this is how the whole trend got started, so I think most people will agree on that.

It also has the added benefit of letting me use cpoptions+=J, which makes Vim's sentence text object more robust (abbreviations like Mr. and Dr. won't break it).

I'm not personally convinced that one space actually does look better with a non-monospaced font, but a bunch of people say it does, so what happens when the stuff I write is rendered and viewed with a variable width font? When this comment actually gets published on GitHub it will be as HTML, which doesn't render the extra space. The same goes for all my blog posts and documentation.

I'm not sure about email clients, but I think most of them will display emails either in monospaced plaintext (where two spaces looks good) or as HTML (which collapses the spaces). There may be some that display two spaces in a non-monospaced font, but I'm willing to live with that.

So in a nutshell:

  • I pretty much never write in a program/format where the output will look bad because of my two-spacing.
  • The text will look better as I'm writing it.
  • It gives me a tangible advantage (robust sentence text objects) while writing and editing.

I'll be a two-spacer for the forseeable future.

@sjl

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sjl Feb 4, 2012

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And of course GitHub refuses to render that comment as Markdown, despite what this text above the comment box says. Sigh.

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sjl commented Feb 4, 2012

And of course GitHub refuses to render that comment as Markdown, despite what this text above the comment box says. Sigh.

@sjl sjl closed this Jul 11, 2013

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