Log in

No account? Create an account
Goats, gripes, and grasping for greatness
Once space, not two. 
20th-Jan-2011 11:13 am
I'm so monumentally guilty of two spaces that it's funny to me for me to post this.

"Space Invaders: Why you should never, ever use two spaces after a period." By Farhad Manjoo

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.* You'd expect, for instance, that anyone savvy enough to read Slate would know the proper rules of typing, but you'd be wrong; every third e-mail I get from readers includes the two-space error...
20th-Jan-2011 04:16 pm (UTC)
How bizarre.. I remember learning typing (yes, on a typewriter) while growing up and specifically being instructed that we use two spaces after a period ending a sentence. Hmm.. thinking back, that two space rule was everywhere, wasn't it? Makes me wonder what typography books he's referring to and when they were published. :P
20th-Jan-2011 04:26 pm (UTC)
The rules started to change after people made the switch from typewriters to computers, presumably because it takes up less memory to use one space instead of two, among a few other tiny reasons. It's a relatively recent change.
20th-Jan-2011 09:27 pm (UTC)
Aah.. it is funny. I do find myself using only one space for most online things, like comments and blog entries. But when I'm writing documents for presentation (with the exception of power point presentations) or similarly formal purposes, I still stick with the traditional two spaces like I'd been taught.

20th-Jan-2011 04:19 pm (UTC)
I, too, was taught to put two spaces after a period in high school typing class. I have fallen out of that habit with my exposure to programming and have used a single space after periods for more than a decade now. I'm rather pleased that I no longer have to feel guilty about being a single-spacer.
20th-Jan-2011 04:29 pm (UTC)
I didn't know that anyone had to feel guilty. I just want people to be consistent.
20th-Jan-2011 04:31 pm (UTC)
Oh no. You're not making me feel guilty. It's been a feeling of breaking the rules that I've harbored for years and years.
20th-Jan-2011 04:55 pm (UTC)
This. This, this, this.

If pressed, I will admit I prefer single-spacing. But you want to double-space? Knock yourself out. Just, for god's sake, pick one. (And please don't pick 3 or 4; I spend enough time messing with kerning to make things flow properly into narrow-columned formats as it is.) Don't make me run multiple find-and-replaces through the entire document just to clean it up. Irregular spacing leaps out at me as though someone dumped a bottle of whiteout over the page.

. . .this may be exclusively an editorial problem, yes.
20th-Jan-2011 04:25 pm (UTC)
The weird thing is that I was taught in school to use two spaces, and it this point, it's a habit I'm never gonna break.

I thought Farhad Manjoo's tone in this piece was so pearl-clutchy and ridiculous, I couldn't help but laugh.
20th-Jan-2011 04:27 pm (UTC)
The funny thing is that looking at my comments and melaniesuzanne's, I see absolutely no difference in our spacing. So much ballyhooing over a tiny, tiny difference!

Edited at 2011-01-20 04:28 pm (UTC)
20th-Jan-2011 04:40 pm (UTC)
I don't think HTML recognizes more than one space in a row except if there's a special character.

So if I want to s p a c e out characters in a word I can do it, but if I want two spaces between two s p a c e d < >< > o u t < >< > words I have to put in " " in brackets in between.
20th-Jan-2011 04:41 pm (UTC)
Ahhh, that makes sense, then.
20th-Jan-2011 04:43 pm (UTC)
and I just figured out that the   (ampersandnbsp) doesn't need to be in greater/less brackets.
20th-Jan-2011 04:29 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, the tone of the article was too over the top for me to take offense. He can enjoy enough offense for both of us, I guess. I could only sit and snicker, and watch my double-spacing pile up on the page.
20th-Jan-2011 04:36 pm (UTC)
Same here. I still have two spaces in published notes and such, and I suppose I should start just doing a global search and replace, but it's not going to be a habit I can break, no.
20th-Jan-2011 04:36 pm (UTC) - Oh, I do love me some grammar-nerd rage.
The head of editorial in my office gives a very similar rant to all new employees as a part of induction training. I find it oddly endearing.
20th-Jan-2011 09:10 pm (UTC) - Re: Oh, I do love me some grammar-nerd rage.
If you really love grammar nerd rage, you can always follow this tag back a few years.
21st-Jan-2011 02:35 pm (UTC) - Re: Oh, I do love me some grammar-nerd rage.
That also was quite endearing. :)
20th-Jan-2011 05:26 pm (UTC)
Haven't read the article yet, but the comments here have been fascinating -- I've never heard of the two-space rule before at all! I never took a typing class, though... but all my childhood papers were proofed by my mom, who had in previous lives been both an English teacher and a secretary. Perhaps it was a regional thing?
20th-Jan-2011 05:29 pm (UTC)
I think his mental image of the urbane reader of Slate is pretty damn funny, in a horseless-carriage, this-is-why-we-can't-have-nice-things kind of way.
20th-Jan-2011 05:41 pm (UTC)
I'm with all the ones who said that they find it easier to read when there are two spaces. I'm not sure if this is "just" because it's visual habit or if it's yet another way my eyes are slightly odd. At any rate, I miss the spaces when they go away in HTML, but don't care enough to force them back in. It seems to matter more with the fonts I routinely use in word anyways and there I do have control. Mwa-ha-ha.
20th-Jan-2011 05:43 pm (UTC)
The correspondence style manual at work, in which the correspondence format has remained basically unchanged since the era of the manual typewriter, sayeth that we shall use two spaces. I'm having enough trouble trying to get them to use Word vs. WordPerfect and will not be tilting at this particular windmill. Also, I too am a typography nerd, and I happen to think the single space looks untidy. So there.
20th-Jan-2011 06:20 pm (UTC)
I haven't typed two spaces after a period since I left High School and had to worry about a nun hitting me with a yard stick.

20th-Jan-2011 06:53 pm (UTC)
It's always two spaces .... an automatic habit from Typewriting, 7th grade.
20th-Jan-2011 06:55 pm (UTC) - I learned it in HS
and I'll continue to do it. Especially now, knowing how much it pisses people off.
21st-Jan-2011 01:07 am (UTC)
Two spaces for monospace fonts, one space for proportional fonts, as the proportional font already has the extra "space" around the period.

Completely logical really.

Learned on typewriters and hence the double space. In the 1990's I made the shift to one space.

Typewriters. How quaint. I suddenly feel like a dinosaur.
21st-Jan-2011 07:05 pm (UTC)
It's not "wrong" unless you're arguing with a specific program that reads it as an error. The rest of the time, it's a stylistic preference. If you're going to be published, your editors can tell you which way to do it. If you're not, do it any dang way you want to. I do it because it's easier to read (it's habit too, and it's the habit I was taught, but I've broken a lot of other habits I was taught along the way. This one I'm keeping because it improves readability, which is, by my way of thinking, the most important consideration a writer ought to foreground anyway). But many text boxes (like LJ) translate 2 spaces into one automatically, so it doesn't always matter what I choose!
This page was loaded Oct 14th 2019, 4:44 am GMT.