Tracking help with "4th,"

zrisso's picture

I am unsure what to do when it comes to this, or if there is even a proper way, but I am sure there is a preferred way to kern these particular glyphs.

I am setting my journal (yes, I am such a design geek that I write my journal in InDesign) so I would like it to be as well-set as possible.

The first looks overtly incorrect. Should I simply reduce the tracking of the comma so it is under the h or even further toward the t? The second example looks more correct, but I'm still not sure if it looks just right.


First Example912 bytes
Second Example906 bytes
sim's picture

In which context will you use this: sentence, title, quote?

sim's picture

I think the problem come from the superscript of your “th”. What do you think about that? From a Typophile screen capture:

zrisso's picture

It's used in a sentence. Here is another example, this time at just slightly larger than 100%

zrisso's picture

Oops, I didn't see your second post. I prefer the superscript "th" instead of just "4th." I can't remember, but I believe Bringhurst also said it was preferable... although I could be imagining that.

eliason's picture

FWIW here's a Typophile thread debating whether to superscript ordinals.

zrisso's picture

Thanks for the link! Maybe I shouldn't superscript them...

Steven Acres's picture

I usually do superscript, actually. I just don't go with the program's defaults, because it always looks bad. And with yours, I would definitely put the comma after the ordinal (if you do it) as it looks weird having that glob of characters together.

I prefer to write my journal by hand, anyways.

kentlew's picture

In a personal journal you can do whatever you want, of course.

But as a frame of reference: In formal writing, one would not generally use the ordinal form in a sentence like your inline example above. When a date is written out like that, it is usually expressed as a cardinal number, even if it might get read or pronounced informally as an ordinal.

William Berkson's picture

Personally, I think that superscript looks bad with hanging or text numerals. It causes the line to jump around and is distracting.

In the Wikipedia article on ordinal indicators it claims that superscript was a Victorian practice in English, under the influence of French. I am wondering whether this style came in with the adoption of lining figures. With lining figures, it works, though I don't really see it as an advantage. With old style figures, as I said, it seems to me ugly and distracting.

zrisso's picture

Thanks for all your input, everyone. The more I look at it, the more I dislike it, haha. I am just going to say "the fourth of March." It will be much less hassle.

1985's picture

Or March 4, it's cold, and that is fine with me.

vegfarandi's picture

I like the way a lot of other languages mark Ordinals:

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