# [texhax] dash spacing

Tom Sgouros tomfool at as220.org
Mon Apr 2 14:47:11 CEST 2012

Thank you all for the opinions --- justified and otherwise.  Is there a way
to just redefine --- to have a tiny little space like Barbara's \Dash?
It's much more convenient to type and read than \Dash.  I suspect it of
being a macro somewhere (after all, what isn't?), but it's the first one
whose definition I can't seem to find, presumably because of some dark
\chardef magic.

Thanks,

-tom

On Sun, Apr 1, 2012 at 3:12 PM, Barbara Beeton <bnb at ams.org> wrote:

> around them.  (hi, tom.)
>
>
>    I had thought there's a certain amount of spacing built into the \dash
>    and \Dash macros which are used in TUGboat.
>
> yes, you're right, because i don't like
> the em-dash crashing into the words on
> either side.
>
>    Looking at ltugboat.cls maybe I'm wrong?
>
>    \def\dash{\d at sh\nobreak\endash}
>    \def\Dash{\d at sh\nobreak\emdash}
>
> but you didn't look at the definition of
> \d at sh:
>
>  \def\d at sh#1#2{\unskip#1\thinskip#2\thinskip\ignorespaces}
>
> \thinskip *is* breakable, hence the \nobreak
> following the first one.  could have used
> \, there, but this was first created for
> plain tex, where \, was math only, and,
> besides, having a command that "reads" the
> same on both sides is more easily understood
> by the next poor macro writer.
>
>    Usually when I mislike a full em dash enough to find it distasteful
>    where's a 3/4 em dash available in the font which is spaced more
>    openly. (em dashes are usually tight for those instances when multiples
>    are combined)
>
> i don't have bringhurst available to check,
> but i seem to remember he advocates using
> an en dash will full space on either side.
>
> the latest chicago doesn't say anything
> about spacing explicitly, but there is a
> small but visible space (a little more than
> a hairline, but less than a thin space) on
> either side of the em-dashes in examples.
>
> by the way, for tugboat, authors sometimes
> use \dash between numbers.  wrong!  in that
> situation, an unspaced en-dash is what's
> wanted.
>
> as for breaking after an em-dash, i have
> no problem with that.  it appears thus in
> fowler, so i feel justified (sorry 'bout
> that; it *is* april 1).
>                                                 -- bb
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