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One space or two?

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:) So what are your thoughts for the spacing between sentences? I was always taught to do 2 spaces after every period, but lately, a lot of people are telling me to switch to 1 space.

 

I doubt people will kill over it, and I'm guessing it's more of a personal preference, but lately, people around me have been getting more and more adamant about only doing 1 space. I had to get an essay critiqued for printing (yay me?), and a lot of the people I asked to edit and critique it said that my sentence spacing (the spaces after every period, not line spacing) should be decreased to one space :) . So I changed it for them, but yeah...

 

So yeah, :huh: what are your thoughts? *

 

* in relation to spacing while writing a novel and possibly everyday writing. I read that monospace fonts should have 2 spaces, while non-monospace fonts should have 1, but I like working in monospace and then exporting or converting to non-monospace...

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I doubt people will kill over it...

As a veteran of the Great Monospace War, I have a steely dedication to the single-space-after-a-period composition. Yes, I too learned the foul double-space rule in school but that is a holdover from the Age Of Typewriters. Pick up any paperback published in the last 20 years and you'll see that the double-space rule has been dropped. Our comrades did not die in vain.

 

Congratulations on the essay.

-Thoth.

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I was taught the double space rule as well, but I never really did it. Hitting the space bar more than once is a waste of my time. :)

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:) So what are your thoughts for the spacing between sentences? I was always taught to do 2 spaces after every period, but lately, a lot of people are telling me to switch to 1 space.

 

I doubt people will kill over it, and I'm guessing it's more of a personal preference, but lately, people around me have been getting more and more adamant about only doing 1 space. I had to get an essay critiqued for printing (yay me?), and a lot of the people I asked to edit and critique it said that my sentence spacing (the spaces after every period, not line spacing) should be decreased to one space :) . So I changed it for them, but yeah...

 

So yeah, :huh: what are your thoughts? *

 

* in relation to spacing while writing a novel and possibly everyday writing. I read that monospace fonts should have 2 spaces, while non-monospace fonts should have 1, but I like working in monospace and then exporting or converting to non-monospace...

As Thoth notes, the double-space rule dates from the Age of Typewriters. You use a single space in computer word-processing (and typography) because the software adjusts the spacing on the fly for justified type. Two spaces creates too much white space, and those of us who spend half our lives searching for commas-that-should-be-periods and the like can spot a double space on a page halfway across a football field.

 

For similar reasons, the ideal now is to use first-line indents instead of tab characters to inset new paragraphs and to use "space before/after" rather than blank lines to add space above and below paragraphs (if you create ePub files through Storyist, you will soon find out that you have to use these options if you want the formatting to carry over into the ePub file).

 

For these and other recommendations, I suggest Robin Williams, The Mac Is Not a Typewriter. It's a clear, fun introduction to exactly that topic.

 

That said, if you do send in a file that contains double-spacing, anyone in publishing will do a global search-and-replace right off the bat to produce single spaces. Most of us do it routinely, regardless of whether an author uses single spaces or not—and several times along the way, too—because double spaces always creep in during editing. So if you can't stop yourself, tell your friends to chill and either send the file as it is or do the global search-and-replace yourself right before you hand it off to someone else.

Now you know. :)

Best,

M

 

P.S. Monospaced/proportional makes no difference. One space after the period regardless of font. But congrats on getting an essay into print. Where will it appear?

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Now you know. :)

And knowing is half the battle.

On behalf of the battle-scarred, thank you M.

(I had no idea you had such phenomenal eyesight!)

- Thoth

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That said, if you do send in a file that contains double-spacing, anyone in publishing will do a global search-and-replace right off the bat to produce single spaces. Most of us do it routinely, regardless of whether an author uses single spaces or not—and several times along the way, too—because double spaces always creep in during editing. So if you can't stop yourself, tell your friends to chill and either send the file as it is or do the global search-and-replace yourself right before you hand it off to someone else.

 

But, then how am I to distinguish between the end of a sentence and an abbreviated word?

 

In my field, at least, abbreviations are so common that it actually makes a difference in how fast the brain can parse the text.

 

IF

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But, then how am I to distinguish between the end of a sentence and an abbreviated word?

In my field, at least, abbreviations are so common that it actually makes a difference in how fast the brain can parse the text.

IF

The revolutionary committee didn't think of that one.

But wouldn't the next letter, being capitalized or not, be a sufficient indicator?

E.g., This is an abbr. and not the end of a sentence.

And if, by chance, an abbreviation came at the end of a sentence you'd have a double-period to tip you off.

E.g., This sentence ends with an abbr..

- Thoth

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P.S. Monospaced/proportional makes no difference. One space after the period regardless of font. But congrats on getting an essay into print. Where will it appear?

 

Our school is trying to draw more people in (I think), so they've asked for students' papers and what not. So it's just a showcase of students' work.

 

The revolutionary committee didn't think of that one.

 

They keep changing so many things, or maybe I was taught wrong at first. Like punctuation in quotes and everything. At first I was taught if you end a sentence and a quote, put the period inside the quote, then I was told it depended on of the quote was a finished sentence.

 

So if the quote didn't have a finished sentence, but you wanted it to end after the quote it would be:

Blah bleh bloo "howdy goes the white house".

When I was originally told to do:

Blah bleh bloo "howdy goes the white house."

And throwing in commas and question marks and exclamation marks make it more confusing.

 

So when I'm writing graded papers and "professional" stuff, I have a grammar book and some other writing reference books (some are outdated though, and conflict with the newer ones, spacing being the biggest conflicts between my books, and some even say it's different depending on MLA, APA, Chicago, etc, but then even those change yearly!). What upset me the most was I was used to the MLA style in 2007/2008 and they changed it in 2009. So one of my teachers said to follow the latest MLA version, which I did, and he took off points. Then when I brought him the newest version of the MLA Manual and showed him my citations and what not were correct, he said he wouldn't give me back the points because that's not the version he was used to and because he doesn't give points back to already successful students. I thought that was lame because if I do bad on something, and my grade drops, those points could have been the difference.

 

I say we should all just learn to accept anything that is clear and understandable (in relation to grammar and formatting).

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They keep changing so many things, or maybe I was taught wrong at first. Like punctuation in quotes and everything. At first I was taught if you end a sentence and a quote, put the period inside the quote, then I was told it depended on of the quote was a finished sentence.

 

So if the quote didn't have a finished sentence, but you wanted it to end after the quote it would be:

Blah bleh bloo "howdy goes the white house".

When I was originally told to do:

Blah bleh bloo "howdy goes the white house."

And throwing in commas and question marks and exclamation marks make it more confusing.

Sorry to make it worse, but the usual rule in U.S. publishing is that commas and periods go inside the quote marks, semicolons and colons go outside the quote marks, and only exclamation points and question marks move depending on whether they do or do not belong to the quoted phrase. The Brits, in contrast, generally place commas and periods outside the quote marks. See The Chicago Manual of Style, 6.8-6.9 (the publishers' bible, so ubiquitous that it's generally referred to simply as Chicago or CMS).

 

You should do whatever your professors require, of course, but when you get out, you'll find that the above is generally true.

 

The spacing rule has been around for a while (15-20 years, at least). I'm surprised anyone taught you to use double spaces, since I doubt you've ever used an old-fashioned typewriter. But maybe your teacher got in the habit of it and never made the switch. And even the strictest agent/editor will not accept or reject a story based on the spacing!

 

Congratulations on being picked for the showcase. Too bad about the points.

Best,

M

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The revolutionary committee didn't think of that one.

But wouldn't the next letter, being capitalized or not, be a sufficient indicator?

E.g., This is an abbr. and not the end of a sentence.

And if, by chance, an abbreviation came at the end of a sentence you'd have a double-period to tip you off.

E.g., This sentence ends with an abbr..

- Thoth

 

Mr. Thoth, I see a flaw with basing the start of a sentence on the word after the period being capitalized. I rarely see people use a double period. They just look out of place.

 

I vote that we change the abbreviation marker from a period to something else. Let's change it to semicolon. No one uses semicolons correctly anyway. ;)

 

IF

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For myself, I typically go with The Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition. 16th edition due out Aug. 1, 2010). I say "typically" because there is this circuit in my head that insists that I go with what makes sense to me. If the punctuation is part of the original quote then it goes inside the quote marks. (E.g., "Repent Harlequin!" cried the Tick Tock Man.) If the punctuation is part of the sentence containing a quote that is a sentence fragment, then it goes outside. (E.g., He said, "maybe".) Is that so wrong? I think it looks better. In any case, I do what I think creates the least confusion for the reader. I think that's a good guideline (assuming that I'm not being graded).

 

Glad to be out of school. (But are we ever really out of school?)

- Thoth

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Mr. Thoth, I see a flaw with basing the start of a sentence on the word after the period being capitalized.

Can you give me an example Mr. Isaac? ( ;) )

 

I rarely see people use a double period. They just look out of place.

I see them. But yes, it's easy to confuse them with ellipsis.

 

I vote that we change the abbreviation marker from a period to something else.

I vote for a tiny skull. Maybe a full Jolly Roger.

 

Let's change it to semicolon. No one uses semicolons correctly anyway. :)

I do; you'd confuse people who do know how a semicolon is properly used.

 

The Revolutionary Committee For Picayune Standards stands firm.

- Thoth

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