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st: RE: Left quoting
No. That is how the Stata language is,
and there is at least one very good reason for it.
Stata allows references to nested macros, and
they are extremely useful. If you look at most
substantial programs, you will see stuff like
``i'' and `a`i''. (Wrapping your head around
this is a crucial step in learning Stata programming,
but worth the effort.)
Given that fact, there would be a problem
if there no distinction between the start
of a local macro reference and the end of
one, as expressions like
would be ambiguous: is this
1. the local macro 'a'
followed by the character "i"
followed by the local macro 'j'
2. the local macro 'i'
nested within another local
macro whose name starts
with "a" and whose name
ends with "j"
The interpretation could be very
different. `a'i`j' and `a`i'j'
remove the ambiguity.
In addition, the stylistic affront
is dependent on what font you use.
I happen to be writing this font
in a font in which the left quote
slopes and the right font is vertical
-- and, dependent on your set-up,
you reading this may see something
similar -- and I agree that is ugly.
The remedy is to change the font,
and in particular Stata's own fonts
preserve the leftness of left quotes
and the rightness of right quotes,
so all gaucheness or sinister behaviour
is matched by its mirror image.
> Could you use (') instead of (`)? It looks nicer stylistically.
> Nick Cox wrote:
> > `= that is left quote followed by =
> > means "evaluate what follows between here and the matching right
> > quote".
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