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I think this deserves its very own thread, since it's more than just a Surreal Annoyance. And some of its abuses are so egregious. Or just hilarious. Like this one:   The wife of one of my business

Among those who use the term, "aks" for "ask" is communicatively effective. If you and I decide to use "hello" to mean "goodbye", it will be communicatively effective between us, but I'm not sure that

You don't know that, do you?

Do you use one space or two after periods?

 

 

 

Can I let you in on a secret? Typing two spaces after a period is totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong.

 

And yet people who use two spaces are everywhere, their ugly error crossing every social boundary of class, education, and taste. *

 

I vaguely remember reading a similar article (or perhaps the same one) awhile ago and thought I had asked about it here, but I cannot find any such question.

 

I use two spaces after periods, as taught in my 10th grade typing class (two spaces after the ends of sentences as well as after colons, but only one after commas and semi-colons). I did an informal review of the recent posts in this thread, and I noticed Orik and yvonne both use single spaces (not sure about G. Johnson because his posts that I saw were single sentences or posts with one sentence per line), but everyone else uses double spaces. I decided the double-space must be an American rule, but Wilfred uses double spaces, and he's a furrener (who lives in the US, I know). But then I noticed elsewhere that splinky uses single spaces and she's not a furrener. Then again, she doesn't use capitalization, so perhaps I should exclude her from my sample.

 

Other than the reasons given by the author, for what reason(s) should I change my typing ways to single spacing after periods?

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I can hardly comment on what's the right thing to do as I had English teachers from South Africa, and Russia, and I never studied typing, but it sounds to me like a two space rule must date back to the days of fixed-width fonts and makes sense when used in conjunction with those.

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Are most fonts currently used still fixed width? If so, it seems double spacing should still be preferred.

 

I did another search--looks like some commonly used fonts like Courier and Comic Sans are fixed width, but others like Times New Roman and Arial are not.

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I feel like Arial is a winner except for some very specific uses:

I did another search--looks like some commonly used fonts like Courier and Comic Sans are fixed width, but others like Times New Roman and Arial are not.

I did another search--looks like some commonly used fonts like Courier and Comic Sans are fixed width, but others like Times New Roman and Arial are not.

I did another search--looks like some commonly used fonts like Courier and Comic Sans are fixed width, but others like Times New Roman and Arial are not.

I did another search--looks like some commonly used fonts like Courier and Comic Sans are fixed width, but others like Times New Roman and Arial are not.

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Almost all fonts in current use use variable spacing. I believe that fixed spacing fonts fundamentally disappeared with manual typewriters.

 

And while I'm here, I'd like to suggest en passant (to employ a much used English phrase) that "business speak" should have a thread of its own. It has little to do with the English language.

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Single-space after a period is so much the norm that the Mouthfuls composer automatically deletes the second space. Try it: type a period followed by two spaces followed by any word, then type a period followed by a single space followed by the same word. In the final post, they will appear exactly the same.

 

When I was in art/design school back in the early 80s, well before digital type took hold, we were taught to eschew the second space unless using a typewriter. Two spaces after a period is the mark of a rank amateur, as the second space leaves an unsightly gap.

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I grabbed the nearest book at hand, Using Microsoft Office Excel 2007. Unlike many books, it happens to be printed in a left-justified format, i.e., no variable spacing. It has double spaces after periods.

 

What this means in terms of "the rule," I have no idea. I was taught double spaces in typing class too & instinctively add them, even when it's pointless, like here on MF.

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I too was taught in typing class to double-space following a period at the end of a sentence. And I still might, if I were using a typewriter.

 

However, for computer word processing there is no need as the software takes care of the spacing. In fact, The Chicago Manual of Style (which I must follow for work) says:

 

2.9 Word spacing—one space or two?

 

Like most publishers, Chicago advises leaving a single character space, not two spaces, between sentences and after colons used within a sentence (but see 14.121),* and this recommendation applies to both the manuscript and the published work.

 

*The exception is for volume numbers followed by page numbers in documentation, in which case there is no space following the colon, so you have volume:page.

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The American Psychological Association's Publication Manual (referred to my most social scientists) used to insist on double spacing after a period. A few years ago they changed their minds to one space.

 

A friend of mine who defended a PhD dissertation at Columbia few years ago had a committee member who had two points, that she considered serious, to make:

-- My friend had used one space after periods.

-- One of the limitations of the dissertation was that there were no Native Americans in the sample. My friend replied that that was a limitation of the study in terms of generalizability, but that there were no Native Americans at Columbia College during the period of the study.

 

I ask you.

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I can hardly comment on what's the right thing to do as I had English teachers from South Africa, and Russia, and I never studied typing, but it sounds to me like a two space rule must date back to the days of fixed-width fonts and makes sense when used in conjunction with those.

 

This is exactly right.

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One of my pet peeves is instructors who take style matters so, so seriously. For example, up until a few years ago the APA style was to underline anything that would be italicised in print. This was harking back to the days when "underline" was code to the copy-editor to italicise. Anyway, I'd hear students complain that some profs were deducting points because they didn't adhere to APA, and were using their PCs to write their papers as they would appear in published form.

 

So much for the importance of content.

 

(ETA, and now, of course, APA has caught up and expect authors to use italics!)

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