Time For a Proper Rant

Sturge the Picky brought up something in a comment on another thread that will cause a bit of a debate.

One space or two after a period?

I have my preference and IT’S THE PROPER WAY OF DOING IT!!!

We have a contributor on the site that obviously sees it another way. I’m not going to mention zhe name. (Zhe, isn’t that the pronoun that can mean man or woman?)

As you can see above, I single space after a period. That’s because that’s the right way. But feel free to state your case for double space. And zero space and triple space peeps, don’t be shy.

Here’s the deal.

We live in an age where what I am typing will be “proportionally spaced” regardless of the font I choose or the character I am typing. This means there won’t be any large gaps between skinny letters and cramped spaces between wide letters. When people were learning to type on typewriters, which were monospaced (every letter occupied the same amount of real estate regardless of width or narrowness), they were taught to double space after periods so it would be very obvious where sentences ended and new ones began. If a sentence ended in a W and the next sentence began with a W there would be a narrow gap, making it look cramped and uncomfortable.

This doesn’t happen anymore now that we communicate digitally. Also, letters are printed out from digital files. Double spacing after sentences looks archaic and weird.

This doesn’t happen anymore now that we communicate digitally.  Also, letters are printed out from digital files.  Double spacing after sentences looks archaic and weird.

See ^

Have at it.

 

110 Comments on Time For a Proper Rant

  1. Everyone knows that the right way is to single space. Except for after the abbreviation for the state and before the zip code. As in City, WA. 98584




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  2. I always double space. It’s carryover from typewriters, before Al Gore had time to put his Internet plan in action. I also capitalize Internet. At least my typing isn’t ever limited to 140 character abbreviations. Bc thts mst anoyng.




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  3. Modern digital proportional spacing does NOT solve the problem of abbreviations ending with a period within a sentence. Using double spaces for sentence separation DOES solve this visual problem.

    Next question?




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  4. I do see the double space is now truncated to one space in wordpress editor.     &nbsp   But.       but, why?     &nbsp      &nbsp   ;-P




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  5. When I type on my mobile device and I add a comma or a period, the device automatically adds a single space. So that’s the correct way of doing things.




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  6. I learned to type in 1970 on an old manual typewriter in high school and was taught to double-space after the period at the end of a sentence. Never found any reason to change. I was also taught that marijuana was bad. Never found any reason to change my opinion on that, either. Yeah. I’m a dinosaur.




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  7. When I first learned to type (on an IBM Selectric), we were taught to double-space at the end of each sentence punctuation. I do this to this day. Force of habit.




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  8. Spaces – the final frontier (for BFH, apparently). Single space cadet here. For a chicken pecker it is one less peck and I’m fine with that. Never learned how to type properly but I can certainly understand the carrying on of old, hard won habits and I won’t ding the double spacers on that account. It doesn’t appear all that odd to me. I demand they be given their safe spaces.




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  9. @ Brown Eyed Girl
    I also to learned to type in HS, on a nice IBM Selectric typewriter, also learned to use punch cards to programe a computer. A manual in 1970, damn, did you go to a black HS?
    I took typing because of the teacher, she was HOT. I hunt and peck to this day, hasn’t hurt my career as an engineer. If I need a letter typed, I give it to the girl. One space, get with the high times.




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  10. The reference to former practice applying to typewriters is appropriate.

    Single space after a period. Thusly.
    Period inside quotation marks or parentheses at end of sentence.
    It may be worthwhile to forgo the period following an abbreviation such as etc, unless at a full stop.
    Ellipses are acceptable. Use sparingly…

    Now let us talk about commas.




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  11. Know how you can still touch-type after 20 years even if you haven’t touched a typewriter during that time? That double space cannot be unlearned. And it just plain looks better. 🙂




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  12. I thought for certain this was a post re-run. Especially when several comments were already ‘liked’. Weird.

    I had to break myself of the double-space habit online. I will still use two spaces on a typewriter.




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  13. My give a damn is in unprocessed land with Vietvet’s give a damn.

    When I worked as a research and assessment stupidvisor the big boss (____ the Barbarian) had a crap festival if something was improperly capitalized, hyphenated and single spaced. Content was secondary to meeting a manual of style it seemed.
    Don’t dare write ‘hopefully’ under penalty of near death.

    I don’t pay any attention to how I space and am too senile to remember from one hour to the next. I expect it’s double space out of habit so ______ the Barbarian won’t throw a chair at me in the next meeting.
    I also don’t pay attention to how others space unless they fart in my space. I use contractions now which would have earned a few fingers being chopped off by the Barbarian or some high-pitched screaming shit fit..




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  14. You can tell the old schoolers who were taught in typing class to double-space after a sentence.

    Several thousand typed pages later, I had to un-learn that.

    Strict HTML rules say that browsers are supposed to collapse all “white space” – tabs, spaces, and line feeds – into one space (or linefeed, whichever). So you shouldn’t even see double-spaces or multiple linefeeds.

    But, because browsers are built to accommodate poorly-written HTML, you will see double-spaces and multiple linefeeds, anyway.

    But I was an early convert to “proper” HTML, and learned to single-space after sentences, and never looked back.




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  15. Now let us talk about commas.>>

    No no.
    I’m talking visuals here. I won’t participate in grammar rant. I have way too many vulnerabilities.




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  16. HTML allows for the <pre> tag, that allows monospace type including spaces. And it still exists today. In the digital age.




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  17. spaces, who cares? i learned my capitalization from archy and mehitabel. anyone remember why archy didn’t use capital letters? it was because he was a cockroach and couldn’t reach the shift key.




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  18. I have poor vision and tyoe mostle on a kindle. The period is right next to the spacebar. I am lucky if I have spaces between words instead of periods. I double-space mostly so I can see where my sentences end.




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  19. Forget that. I’m tired of seeing apostrophes where they don’t belong.
    YES: I have many coats.
    NO: I have many coat’s.

    STOP IT. lol




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  20. I would like to stop using ? Marks after an obvious ?
    How are you today…..it’s an obvious ?
    So I would like to not use a ? Mark.




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  21. TWO SPACES, DAMMIT.

    And Joe6pak, if you’re going to use the two-letter state abbreviation that the USPS tried to push on us in the early 1970s, then NO period is required.

    Of course, I love to stick it to any Federal agency I can, so I just write out the whole friggin’ state name. I do this because my father once told me, “Yonkers, spell the whole thing. Don’t ever give people reason to think that you might be such a dumbass that you don’t know how to spell ‘Mississippi’ or ‘Connecticut.'”

    RIP Dad.




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  22. MJA, there’s a weapons shop in the town once over from me, and for as long as I remember, the light-up sign outside just says: GUN’S
    Drives me nuts.




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  23. Single spacing is mean, cheap, and niggardly.

    I have saved enough spaces in the course of my life that I can AFFORD to double-space! White privilege wins again!

    izlamo delenda est …




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  24. I type like a comic strip…see what I mean?… and it’s because comic strips/comic books helped teach me how to read and write….plus, it’s more ‘conversational’…and I’m gonna triple space after this comment and no one will be the wiser…. <<<….




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  25. In high school I took a typing class that was lead by a frog faced teacher who wore horn rimmed glasses. Every day she would scream at someone (usually me) for not double spacing after a period.
    Between pissing off BFH and avoiding nightmares about Mrs. Harrison screaming at me I chose pissing off BFH.




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  26. I recently had to look this up in Chicago Manual of Style because I was writing for a website and was taught to use 2 spaces after a period.

    In the digital world, 1 space after a period is the standard. All style guides give this advice.




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  27. So what you are saying is that becomes times change, what once was double-spaced now is single-spaced. Just like the seats when flying coach.




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  28. As the only boy in second year typing (I aced the first year) I was always taught to double-space. Of course that was when only the Pentagon had a computer and that took up a building the size of a ten city blocks.




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  29. One could always just use long write-on sentences that only use one period because they go on and on forever and don’t separate out ideas, other than breaking them into clauses, but that would be like talking and talking and talking and not taking a breath, which is probably harder on the reader than the visual of an extra space between sentences. But I digress, 2 taps at the end of every sentence.




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  30. I’m just shickled titless when this damn thing doesn’t wipe an entire paragraph when I’m poking at the keyboard.




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  31. From around 1950, single sentence spacing became standard in books, magazines and newspapers, and the majority of style guides that use a Latin-derived alphabet as a language base now prescribe or recommend the use of a single space after the concluding punctuation of a sentence




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  32. I graduated High School in 1979, and at that time the rule was two spaces after a period. It was the same when I was in the Air Force from ’83 to ’87. So I use two out of habit.




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  33. As a registered, card-carrying member of the International Association of Single Spacers (IASS) I must advise all you double *spit* spacers that our patience is wearing thin. We have recently merged with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Space Bars (ASPCSB) and will continue to educate people about this barbaric practice. Tens of millions of space bars all over America have come to an early end due to this archaic painful form of torture. Reparations are in order.

    You have been warned.

    #SingleSpacesMatter




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  34. I did secretarial work for many, many years, lot’s of typing of legal documents and business correspondence.

    TWO spaces after a period or colon, one space after a comma or semi-colon. NO periods, but a double space after state abbreviations.

    AND if you can’t even pronounce my bosses name, you can’t talk to him!

    So there.




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  35. Two spaces after a period. Also, do not start a sentence with “and” or “but”.

    However, we are not writing a term paper here. Come on now, this is a commenting forum so anything goes in my opinion. If I misspell a word its poetic liscence.




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  36. I work as a copy editor. We use a single space after a period in our journal articles. Two spaces was once taught as the correct way to type, but with the age of the computer upon us, your type will be justified according to your settings. Neither way is “wrong” really, but there are those who insist on two spaces. When I’m working, I correct that to a single space for our formatting. When I’m not working, I still use a single space, but I don’t care if someone else uses two. Just my 2 cents 🙂




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  37. Double spacing used to be one of my strident rules. I was taught to double space in high school during the eaerly 70s.
    Now that kerning, (space between letters), is usually based on the actual space each character occupies, a single space is sufficient.
    BTW, I noticed commenters who say they prefer double space used single space after the period in their comments. Funny how people can be so easily conditioned because of convenience.




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  38. @bob loblaw

    richard loeb, an erudite, ended his sentence in a proposition.

    ihavedecidedtonotuseanyspace(s)orperiodsinmypostings




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  39. APA manual states single space. We all know that they are a bunch of liberal jerks. I will single space when I am subjugated by the APA, so I can publish subversive articles. Just know in my mind I am hitting that space bar twice. I also have the same problem on my kindle.




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  40. Fur-
    As I have mentioned, I am no fan of grammar or punctuation nazis.
    But I spend considerable time and effort to make my comments relevant, cogent and hopefully, amusing.
    My quip about commas, was in reference to the Oxford comma, which I believe, was discussed recently.
    In retrospect, I probably should have followed it by an ellipsis, which would have indicated snark.
    Too many commas? YTM.

    Now, maybe its time to discuss apostrophe’s…




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  41. Just as long as you don’t ban me for double – spacing because that ‘ s the way I was trained , I think we ‘ re all good .




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  42. That smart ass comment was supposed to have double spacing galore but I see you did preventative measures BigFurHat. 🤔




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  43. Old school, two. My old firm published a lot of papers and reports, and no one really seemed to care about 1 vs 2 as long as you were consistent.




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  44. Typing class was my “easy A.” In jr. high my two best buddies and I would begin timed typing exercises by taking a deep breath, pretend we’d just inhaled nerve gas, and go all wild and crazy for the full minute.

    I’m with Tim, above. Plus one space is just not as much fun.




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  45. That’s strange. It looks aligned while typing it, but the spacing changes after it is posted.
    Oh! All double spaces are now converted to single space automatically…




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  46. @ Jethro
    Yep. I have noticed that even when cutting and pasting similar text doodles. Pretty aggravating. Now I know why.




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  47. I learned to type in the days of the manual typewriter, but did a lot of technical writing that including having to typeset my own garbage, so I learned–eventually–to single space after a period.

    So I am PISSED AS HELL that in Windows 10, Windows Speech Recognition double spaces after a period. Why should I have to go clean up after a damn machine? I think they are trying to screw with our minds.




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  48. I like two. But one if I’m in a hurry. It’s easier for me to see the separation on a two-spacer. Though I don’t think you can even make two or more spaces in the comments, I think we are limited to one space. Kind of racist if you think about it. Maybe we could just type two periods as a kind of black periods matter type thing.




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  49. I didn’t learn to type until 1999, because it was a requirement in college. Did some two finger art work using a typewriter before that. I didn’t even know any guys who took typing class back in my high school days… They didn’t allow that in the neighborhood I lived in.

    And what about the old Reader’s Rant section? Is that ever coming back? That was a great place to unload, or plea for therapy. 🙂




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  50. Oh, I did have print shop in the 7th. grade. EM Quad and all that shit. They weighed your type tray at the end of the semester to make sure you didn’t try to steal any of the lead type, make bullets out of it or whatever. (double space)




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  51. http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/how-many-spaces-after-a-period

    The “two spaces after period” rule was established during the days of typesetters, when additional space was needed to show the difference between the spacing between words (which was smaller) and the spacing between sentences (which was larger). When typewriters came around, they had only one font and all the letters were monospaced, or took up the same amount of space. That means that the skinny “l” and wider “w” occupied the same amount of space on paper. People mimicked what they believed to be the format they’d grown used to by adopting two spaces after a period—and that’s how the so-called two-space rule was born.




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  52. Sister Holy Innocence taught my typing class to put two spaces after a question mark, period or exclamation mark. No one crossed Sister Holy Innocence, and neither should you BFH. So there.




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  53. Sorry, but I have not yet read the 90 plus comments on this thread yet, but Opus the penguin (created by Berkley Breathed) came up with this idea as a platform to destroy Trump and Hiliary many, many months ago.

    I actually fully appreciate his sense of humor in doing so.

    Oh, and look! A SQUIRREL!!!!!




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  54. In printed written text (books, etc,) the double space is not only necessary for an easer read, it is, proper grammar (look it up). The internet has made the one space popular because of lazy coding, and, with that laziness, we now have lazy writing, writers, and typing. Which is one of the reasons, I believe, we are seeing the slow decline of Western civilization happening at 140 characters at a time.

    Now for my rant: I hate exclamation points. If your sentence doesn’t reflect an expression of surprise, anger, etc., on its own, adding a punctuation mark won’t help. Face it. Your sentence needs work, not a !. Plus, by adding two or more exclamation points, which I doubly, yes, triply hate, shows you to be either a 13 year old freshman high school girl or . . . Anyway, maybe hate is to strong a word, one unfortunately overused to describe things that should probably be labeled as simply dislike or despise. With that said, I would be lying if I described my feelings toward seeing an exclamation mark as loathe or not a fan of. The hate in my heart for the most misused, overly used piece of punctuation is very real, and I couldn’t be prouder, seeing as that, as a writer, it might be the only thing I truly stand for. Well, except for the two spaces between sentences. (Note: Big Fur Hat’s ending his “Third Sentence” in his above Rant, was not mentioned, for a couple of reasons, at any point in this comment.)




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  55. @ Dr. Jay

    Just guessing here – you avoid reading Benito the Bombed Beaner’s posts?

    You know, to keep your blood pressure down from so many offenses to proper writing in every post of his.




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  56. Hey look! I’m famousish!

    “Double spacing after sentences looks archaic and weird.” – BFH

    Just like me! I did indeed “learn” to “type” on a typewriter, and the habit of double spacing stuck. These days, I read so fast that I sometimes miss the single-spaced period, which then registers as a run-on sentence.

    I fully acknowledge that my preference has no modern merit, and that BFH’s rational for the single space is valid. But, I’m old, stuck in my ways, and also like the Oxford comma.

    Let that begin Proper Rant v. 2 🙂




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  57. Dadof4, if we are to understand mankind’s psyche, decipher the baffling human obsession with violence against our Neighbor, and break the unconscious masochistic battle within the soul of all peoples . . . Oh, sorry. I lost my train of thought. What’s a Benito?




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  58. That Winston Churchill did end sentences in a preposition — and Walter de la Mare started sentences with, “But…”… then I reckon ya’ll girls can kiss my arse.




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  59. Dr. Jay,

    On this thread – 6th post.

    All caps all the time. Except for cut/paste. Busted when he slipped on that one once last week. Funny. Also multiple exclamation points and question marks.

    A nightmare if grammar and style are the kind of things that get under your skin.




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  60. Double space after period, exclamation points and questions marks. Single space after comma, and other such punctuation marks. This is done so that the reader knows that it is the end of a sentence. Single spacing after commas, colons, semicolons and the alike show that the sentence continues. It is the common rules of typing.

    As is double spacing to show when a new paragraph starts. Failure to do this only begins to degrade society as a whole. This exactly how the stupid phrases “Ur” and “tho” are making their way as a norm in everyday communications.




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