The style and appearance of printed matter. The art or procedure of arranging type.

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176
votes
15answers
21k views

How many spaces should come after a period/full stop?

In the past — or at least, when I was in elementary school — periods/full stops were followed by two spaces. Lately, it's become more and more common to see just one space. In the modern ...
58
votes
3answers
8k views

What is the error called when two letters are mistakenly swapped?

Generally this may be called typo but when particularly two letters of a word are mistakenly swapped, what is this error called? Some examples: teh > the fromat > format comptuer > computer
44
votes
3answers
2k views

What animal is a “weefil”?

What animal is depicted in this image labelled “weefil”?
38
votes
5answers
4k views

When should I not use a ligature in English typesetting?

Typesetting that goes beyond the scope of basic MS Word (e.g. LaTeX, or even modern Word versions with a good OpenType font) often uses ligatures for certain glyph combinations, the most common being ...
26
votes
2answers
11k views

Use of “f ” instead of “s” in historic, printed English documents

I was at a museum in London yesterday, and one of the items on exhibit is a document from the eighteenth century. It uses the letter f a lot where s should be used—for example, in Majefty. Did the ...
26
votes
3answers
3k views
21
votes
1answer
3k views

What are the historical reasons for the conventional sequence of footnote symbols?

According to @Mahnax's answer to this question, the Chicago Manual of Style Online states that the correct sequence of footnote symbols is as follows: * (asterisk; but do not use if p values occur ...
21
votes
5answers
12k views

Capitalisation of nouns in English in the 17th and 18th centuries

It seems to have been common practice in the 17th and 18th centuries in Britain to capitalise the first letters of nouns in English, e.g. At which Time he prov'd himself the Noah's Dove, that ...
20
votes
3answers
467 views

What are the names of the pieces of a question mark?

A question mark ? seems to be composed of two distinct pieces, top and bottom. Do these pieces have their own names, and if so, what are they?
15
votes
5answers
836 views

What Is the Real Name of the #?

I used to say "sharp sign" to refer to the # sign. Today a friend told me that the correct term is number sign or hash sign or even just hash. What is the difference between these options and ...
14
votes
3answers
10k views

When a dagger is used to indicate a note, must it come after an asterisk?

The typographical symbol dagger (†) has several meanings. Possibly its most common use is as a footnote marker. According to You Have a Point There: A Guide to Punctuation and Its Allies ...
14
votes
3answers
560 views

What is it called when a letter is within another letter?

What is it called when a letter is within another letter? For example, the letter O within the letter L: Edit: Or the first C in the Coca-Cola logo: Does this arrangement of type have a name?
14
votes
4answers
2k views

Italics and punctuation

This might be a tad off-topic, but I am looking for an English-specific answer. When I’m using italic text to denote emphasis or a quotation, should the italicisation extend to the punctuation ...
13
votes
2answers
782 views

Is there any significance in little curls joining the st and ct in old books?

I've been reading a facsimile edition of Defoe's Captain Singleton and have noticed a little quirk of the text; where an st or a ct appear, they are joined with a little curl over the top, but nt, rt ...
12
votes
2answers
836 views

Why is “dingbat” used to refer to characters like “☺”?

Why is dingbat used to refer to characters such as "☺"? (See for instance those at the Mozilla Web Developer FAQ.) Doesn't dingbat mean a stupid person or something?
11
votes
3answers
2k views

From French “manœuvre” to English “manoeuvre”, does “œ” exist in English?

Sadly, I don’t have much to add from the title to this question: does œ exist in English, such as in the word manœuvre? The same question may also apply to what the French call the “e dans l’a” (e in ...
11
votes
4answers
411 views

During what period of history did English use “ß”, the “sharp s” ligature?

The ß glyph is a lowercase letter than represents a ligature between a long s and a round s, and is still used today in (some versions of) German. Its uppercase equivalent is two characters instead ...
11
votes
3answers
12k views

Should there be a space between name initials?

In writing authors' initials in research papers (either in the author by-line or the bibliography), should there be a space between intials? R.P. Feynman R. P. Feynman What's the preferred way ...
10
votes
3answers
595 views

If a “tittle” sits atop an “i” or a “j” (“ı” or “ȷ”), then where do “jots” sit?

In the KJV translation of Matthew 5:18, it reads: For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. If a ...
10
votes
3answers
7k views

What's the most appropriate name for non-italicized text: “roman” or “upright”?

Let's say I am reviewing galley proofs, and the author has written some text in italics which shouldn't be. Would I write: “please typeset this word in roman” or “please typeset this word upright”? If ...
8
votes
2answers
520 views

What did Old English use Ꝥ for?

Here are some examples of citations in the OED of Old English where they use a standalone crossed thorn, Ꝥ: Þu aclænsast Ꝥ weofod and ʒehalʒast. Þær after com swulke mon-qualm Ꝥ lute hær ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

English line breaking rules

In Czech typography, some prepositions are not allowed to be at the end of the line, so line break is not allowed between that preposition and the following word. Are there similar rules in English ...
8
votes
1answer
493 views

What do you call the phenomenon where a rectangle Ϳ is shown because a font lacks a glyph?

Is there a name to describe the situation where a particular character is shown on a computer screen in a particular font, but this font does not have a glyph for this particular character? Usually, ...
8
votes
2answers
137 views

Is there a term for authorial name expurgation?

In 19th century English texts, but also seen elsewhere (e.g. Heller's Catch-22) there is a practice of omitting part of a name such as: I was going to visit Mrs. P___, but decided to remain at ...
8
votes
3answers
209 views

The rise of “all of the”

In the following graph, the long s accounts for the sudden rise in frequency of most of the; if you search for moft of the, the lines match up nicely. But what would be behind the sudden increase in ...
7
votes
4answers
4k views

Why is “de facto” often written in italic?

Often when I see "de facto" written somewhere it is in italic. For example: LaTeX website: LaTeX is a high-quality typesetting system; it includes features designed for the production of ...
7
votes
1answer
583 views

What is the term for when one letter is lowercased when a name is in all caps?

Oftentimes when my last name is used in all caps on official documents, one of the letters is lowercased to denote that the following letter is capitalized. For example: DeVos = DeVOS What is the ...
6
votes
3answers
890 views

Straight quotes vs. curly quotes in formal writing [closed]

Should I use “ or " in very formal English writing?
6
votes
2answers
396 views

Typographical symbol to indicate page

There are many typographical symbols, for example: The pilcrow (¶) is used for paragraphs. The asterisk, dagger and double dagger (*,†,‡) for footnotes. The hurricane (§) for sections. Is there ...
6
votes
3answers
330 views

Do native speakers leave out articles in slides for space?

Sometimes a and the take too much space in a slide, and I delete all of them to save me extra lines. Is it a good practice?
6
votes
1answer
835 views

Why there's a difference between the two common appearances of the letter “a”? [closed]

Luckily the forum is using Georgia typeface, so both can be easily shown below: a vs a
5
votes
3answers
637 views

Is the word “formulæ” valid English?

Is the word formulæ, written with an æ at the end, valid in English? I stumbled upon this apparently plural form of formula in the Wiktionary. I had no idea the letter æ could occur in English. Does ...
5
votes
2answers
819 views

Origin of | (pipe symbol)

What is the origin of the | (pipe symbol) in typesetting?
5
votes
2answers
569 views

How or When is the Lozenge symbol used?

I could find articles in Wikipedia that explain what each typographical symbol means and how it is used in print (e.g. pilcrow, section, dagger) but I couldn't find any information about the Lozenge ...
5
votes
1answer
897 views

Pronunciation of the letter 'W' [closed]

Why is the letter 'W' pronounced like double-'U' in English and pronounced as double-'V' in French? I've always wondered this. Typographically, the letter 'W' can be written with curvy bottoms (sorry ...
5
votes
1answer
62 views

What is the base of a subscript called?

In dingdong , "dong" is the subscript but what is the name for "ding"? Base perhaps!
4
votes
2answers
1k views

“20th century” vs. “20ᵗʰ century” [closed]

When writing twentieth century using an ordinal numeral, should the th part be in superscript? 20th century 20th century
4
votes
2answers
392 views

What is the error called when numbers are confused with letters?

In serial numbers etc., there are many cases where you can't tell if the intended character is a number or a letter. For example, the number 0 and the letter O, the number 1 and the letters l or I, ...
4
votes
2answers
310 views

“E.g.” or “e. g.” (with a blank)?

What is the correct form, and why, in scientific papers (US English)? e.g. e. g.
4
votes
4answers
148 views

Term or phrase (bygone era) where doodles were part and parcel to writing

I read something a while back talking about this. It was a term or phrase I had to lookup; and it was available via Google-Bing, but not “predominant” - not a universal thing. Not exactly back in ...
4
votes
2answers
107 views

The hole in a character

Forgive any naivety. I have come from SO to SE to ask a question. I am looking for a font, where the hole in a character ie O, A, P, Q. Can be used to insert an image. I do not need a recommendation ...
4
votes
2answers
320 views

Exclamation point inside a sentence

While reading the free Kindle edition of She by H. Rider Haggard (originally published in 1887), I noticed sentences like this one: But now, to my intense horror, I knew that I could never put ...
4
votes
1answer
201 views

Should thin spaces be used between numerals and units

After starting to use the siunitx package for typesetting units (and the numerals before the units) in LaTeX, I noticed that it typesets a single space between a numeral and a unit (a space that is ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Should the comma be in italics? [closed]

Consider the following two sentences: Statement 1: The parameters were calculated a priori, and the other variables were calculated iteratively. Statement 2: The parameters were ...
4
votes
2answers
473 views

How were key positions on the typical QWERTY keyboard chosen? [closed]

It's hard to know where to ask this question, but I decided to ask it here because of how uniquely the keyboard relates to the language being typed. The keyboard appears to be English-specific, but ...
4
votes
3answers
161 views

What is the name for right-aligning a citation on the last line of a paragraph?

Is there a term for when you layout a paragraph with a right-aligned citation on the last line, like this: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus quam mauris, tincidunt ...
3
votes
1answer
753 views

Why typography? Why not fontography?

Typography is the art of selecting and using appropriate fonts in web, books, magazines, newspapers, etc., and is one of the most fundamental graphical design skills. However, almost everywhere you ...
3
votes
1answer
77 views

How to Properly Cut Content and Show Content is Cut

I hope this is the proper place to ask this question: I have a news article that I am citing for a post online. I am quoting part of the article but I am going to quote the first part of the article ...
3
votes
1answer
105 views

Is it OK to italicise only part of a word?

As an example: inhomogeneous. 
3
votes
2answers
151 views

How should blockquoted quotations be formatted?

If I quote someone in a context where a blockquote is appropriate and there isn't lead-in prose which identifies the source, how should it be typeset? I'm quoting a saying or remark, as would be done ...