[texhax] Knuth's rules for the indefinite article

Philip TAYLOR P.Taylor at Rhul.Ac.Uk
Tue May 4 16:04:39 CEST 2004

Plamen Tanovski wrote:

 > William F. Adams wrote:
 >> On Thursday, April 29, 2004, at 01:30  PM, Plamen Tanovski wrote:
 >>> looking in texbook.tex I've noticed that Knuth uses sometimes
 >>> nonbreakable space after the indefinite article, e.g. "once in
 >>> a~while" or a~|$| or if the next word is the last in a sentence. My
 >>> question is: is there any precise description of this rules?
 >> I suspect that if you removed the non-breaking spaces you'd find that its addition forces a nicer set of linebreaks for a paragraph --- certainly that last would seem to indicate it, esp. if you meant paragraph.
 > Thanks. So it has nothing to do with the indefinite article. Good to
 > know.

That's not my impression at all, and /may/ not be what was implied
by William Adams : a "nicer set of linebreaks" may well imply
"far fewer lines ending with the indefinite article", which I for
one would regard as a Very Good Thing.  When typesetting high-quality
material, I always suppress line breaks after the indefinite article,
and in several other fairly well-defined places as well ...

Philip Taylor

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