A couple of newbie questions

inktrap's picture

Here's a few things that have been on my mind lately.

If using the European en dash style in text, what should be used for breaks of thoughts and interruptions – en or em dashes?

How do you deal with acronyms in italicized passages if you've been using small caps throughout the text and, like in most fonts, you don't have italic small caps?

Speaking of small caps, is there a special case when they begin a sentence (inside a paragraph)?

bojev's picture

Bringhurst in Elements of Typograhic Style says to use spaced en dashes — rather than em dashes or hypens to set off phrases.

inktrap's picture

I meant when using en dashes parenthetically what to use for interruptions such as “They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist—”

hrant's picture

That's why I omit the spaces on the insides of en-dash parentheticals.
http://armenotype.com/2012/04/archipelago/
See the ends of the second and third paragraphs.
As you can see I also use guillemets in English.
The em-dash I use rarely, like for an attribution with space(s) in it:
"— Gustave Flaubert" (versus "– Heraclitus")

Make your own style. Just base it on logic.

hhp

JamesM's picture

Questions regarding dashes are usually decided by a project's writer, using the style guide they've chosen. If there is no writer, buy a good style guide for reference. You can find a list of common guides here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Style_guide

If a paragraph begins with a small cap I might ask the writer to reword the sentence for a better appearance. If they don't want to, I'd stick with small caps to be consistent with the style I'm using elsewhere (assuming the small caps are intended as capitol letters, which is usually the case, like in an acronym such as NASA).

Cohnishere's picture

I always use EM dashes with no spacing. It looks a little over-the-top, but that's why like it.

nina's picture

“How do you deal with acronyms in italicized passages if you've been using small caps throughout the text and, like in most fonts, you don't have italic small caps?”

If you have to break your own rules because the font you’re using can’t fulfil them, use a different font. In this case, one that has italic small caps (I’m not sure “most” don’t if you use quality type). This sort of thing is why, if you make a book for instance, you want to be as sure as you possibly can that the fonts of your choice cover everything you need before you start typesetting. (I’m aware this isn’t always possible, but it’s a good rule.)

And yes, no emdashes in European usage. In the usage you mentioned I’d probably use a non-spaced endash. But yes, check with writer/editor/publisher for existing/preferred style guides.

Joshua Langman's picture

"Don't go there – it's dangerous."
"Don't go there –"
"Don't go th—"

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