the mutt

Does ‘the mutt’ mean anything?

Er, yes.

Thanks for asking.

The mutt is a typesetting term for the ’em’ space.

Ah! what’s an ’em’ space?

Well, the ‘em’ is the width of the typesetter’s ‘M’.

There’s a lot more to the em space than just that. For instance, it leads to em dash, en dash and hyphen. A pretty good explanation can be found here.

There’s also a good explanation of the grammar here.

Of course you could also google it up and check wikipedia.



5 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. kalyani said, on August 19, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    great blog. all the best!

  2. Ananth B. said, on August 28, 2008 at 10:42 am

    I got all of that, but… Grrr?

  3. Jo-Naathan said, on October 22, 2008 at 10:25 am

    I think the “Grr” is how the mutt speaks, IF the mutt was a mutt.. but why not bow-wow then?

  4. Jenny said, on December 21, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    As an editor up to my elbows in punctuation much of the time, I find that I have come to have actual feelings about specific forms of punctuation. I see that you have embraced the versatile em-dash, and I realize that I feel sorry for its poor sibling, the en-dash. It seems to have no true identity of its own but to be used only as a substitute: for the hyphen in some situations (the post EN DASH World War II years), and the word “to” in others (the 1952 EN DASH 1959 era). But I like your pun on “mutt” and will be stopping by your blog every now and then.

    • the mutt said, on December 26, 2008 at 10:20 am

      Hi Jenny,
      Thanks for stopping by.
      Up to your elbows in punctuation! Ha … I’m quite obsessed with it too … so much that I use it diligently even in text messages.
      You’re right … the en-dash has been treated rather step-brotherly. My favourite punctuation mark is the ellipsis. But I’m a little confused on its usage. Different websites, and different publishing houses seem to have, well, different rules. Is there one universal rule w.r.t the spacing before and after the mark. Plus, despite scouring the net, I still haven’t been able to find a good punctuation site. Can you help?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: