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Re: "Soft" hyphens

Jukka K. Korpela
Posts: n/a
      06-24-2003 Removed) wrote:

> Is there a way to have "soft" hyphens or "soft" spaces in lines of
> text, lines which may have to break, depending on the width
> available? (By "soft" I mean a space or hyphen which disappears
> when not needed.)

This is a long story... the most comprehensive (ehem) discussion is
probably at

> Example:
> Line of text:
> "informative/encouraging/discouraging/travelling/whatever"
> when what would be better is:
> "informative/encouraging/discouraging/travelling/
> whatever"

You can put the nonstandard <wbr> tag after each slash. Should cause no
harm, and mostly works (in the way you expect, it's normally invisible
but indicates a potential line break point).

But I would suggest the use of suitable _words_ instead of the hightly
ambiguous slash character. (The slash can mean 'and', or
'or alternatively', or 'alias', or 'with subtype', or 'per', or
something else.)

> The same with hyphens:
> "informative/encouraging/encouraging undoubtedly existentialistic
> antidisenstablishmentarianism"
> when what would be better would
> "informing/encouraging/encouraging undoubtedly existentialistic
> anti- disenstablishmentarianism"

There's no way that would do it without causing serious problems when
it does not work. The soft hyphen ­ is supposed, by current HTML
specifications, to act that way, and is supported by a considerable
number of browsers, but do you really want your words be shown with
normal hyphens "-" instead of the soft hyphen in a great many browsing
situations? (In special cases it is, e.g. if a word can be spelled with
or without a hyphen, by the rules of the language.)

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