Guideline C: Respect for culture and conventions

C10: Sentence spacing & punctuation



Allowing the selection of sentence spacing and punctuation
Your product must be capable of implementing appropriate defaults or local customs for punctuation and spacing of words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters, and all other conventional text components.

With the advent of the typewriter that use monospaced fonts, it was common practice in North America to use two spaces after a period before the beginning of the next sentence to improve readability. This was not the practice though in some European countries such as France. With the advent of computers that use proportional fonts, one space after periods, question marks, exclamation points, and colons has become the convention. The IBM Style guideline on the use of a period at the end of a sentence states: "After a period, use the spacing that your authoring tool provides. If you insert spacing manually, insert only one space after a period".

Guideline C10


Allow the user to select the sentence spacing and punctuation characters.

Punctuation symbols vary among languages.

Example: In Spanish, questions are commonly bracketed by two question marks, the first of which is inverted, for example, ¿Habla usted Español?.

Arabic and Hebrew scripts are written from right to left. As a result their punctuation marks would appear on the left side of the sentences. Illustrated below are the Arabic and Hebrew translations of the English sentence: Do you speak Spanish?

Arabic: Arabic

Hebrew: Hebrew

Some of the meanings are also reversed because of their writing directions. For example, in Arabic, the closing square bracket is [ and the opening square bracket is ].

Arabic punctuation marks and special characters also differ from English counterparts. Below you will find the Arabic punctuation marks and special characters that correspond to the percent, asterisk, comma, question mark, and semicolon.