What’s next? (See what I did there?) From my experience it’s definitely true that a lot of older people haven’t completely grown with the times, and often they don’t have to. Good luck. Years ago I started researching extensively and now it has become an obsession and I constantly see things which are absolutely wrong. If you want to find interesting patterns, search the internet for catalogs of companies making floor or wall tiles.p> For example: 3.8 Title 3.9 Title 3.10 Title. Where would a wanna-be writer find all the rules in one spot? For most of them, the pedantic thing is that anyone *cares* how many spaces should go between sentences. I am just starting to write my first novel (after vigorous outlining and planning) and this article helped so much in actually starting it. ‘You’re a loser,’ his pants accused. When you press them on it, they tend to cite their aesthetic sensibilities.” He admitted that two spaces convention is purely a matter of taste. You coped by typing a period, backspacing once, and typing an apostrophe. Your post, and your follow up comments, state that the reason people incorrectly (in your view) use two spaces after a full stop is because they are old, ignorant, and stuck in their old ways. Especially for book setting, functionality is very important. I’m a typographer and type designer and yet I don’t agree with you, so things are certainly not as simple as you put it. You will need to package it differently for each. I agree, the spacing doesn’t cause any actual confusion. You have an interesting viewpoint, but I don’t agree with it at all. But then I also indented. Zero. I like the two spaces because otherwise, I zip past the end of the sentence. I understand it’s hard to unlearn your routine and there isn’t necessarily a need for you to unlearn it, but it’s good that new generations don’t learn to use double spaces. Continue to use double spaces if you feel you must, but just be aware that you are stuck in a practice that is contrary to the views of almost all contemporary professional typographers, publishers, and printers. I have only one question. Yeah!! I think that I will probably continue my habit of double spacing…at least for now! It is habit, pure and simple. . Spacing absolutely can create confusion and ambiguity, and it can also solve it. It’s pretty automatic for me now too. I find it positively laughable how bent out of shape some people are getting about this topic. You’re welcome. Hi Russell! Based on what I’ve learned here, documents produced by and for law offices still keep two spaces. What I was eternally grateful for though, was the decline of shorthand classes at that exact time! Language is such an important tool and we should use it with joy. One of the companies is a marketing company which makes about a million per year and yet they were using a logo one of their interns made a couple of years ago. Pretty much every day. Ugh. I have found this article very interesting! I talk with typographers and type designers regularly and I think there are very few who would argue for double spaces, especially considering historically one and a half space was preferred and not a double space. That’s interesting, this differs from Shunn’s suggestion. Please note that your synopsis should start on page 2, and your manuscript should directly follow. Now where did I put my sliderule? They did run companies offering the latest technologies in design and web programming, but they couldn’t do any of that themselves. In fact, an otherwise glorious submission you send to a magazine might be rejected simply because no one has time to edit out the double spacing. ), Although there was not a fixed practice using extra spacing after periods during the early centuries of printing, it is not difficult to find examples in every age. They had to work with certain typographic restrictions which we don’t necessarily have in digital typography, and in most cases we don’t. Stupid question. For typographers it absolutely does. More modern technology actually makes things even worse because computers have a really hard time figuring out whether to display all the spaces present in a chunk of text, and an equally hard time automatically determining appropriate spacing based on context. Single space is arbitrary and has nothing to do with typewriters or better aesthetics. Thank you for being so simultaneously enlightening AND hilarious! I don’t care for the ageism in the original meme, but the author has addressed that to my satisfaction. Your article should really say “nothing says over 60.” Take it from a former book designer who worked in a pre-computer age with actual typesetters working in linotype and monotype. I’m definitely not implying being a typographer is a very important job, but you’re completely undermining my profession and I protest the notion that what I do doesn’t matter. No one follows old age rules. Six, actually. Proportional monospacing has made double spacing a thing of the past. Also, if the point size is set to 8 or less then the period almost vanishes, especially on these hyper-fine high def screens that are now available (exacerbated even more by hand held mobile devices). I find it easier to review and edit my work when it’s properly formatted. And I fail to see what the big deal is. In old English, such as those written in the 17th and 18th century, I’ve noticed that sentences were typically written longer than we write them today. spacing and replace them with single spaces. So how can any one suggest a modification of spacing on a line of copy is just plain wrong? Yes and no. If I apply this to your traffic sign analogy, I suppose we would be building colorful fences around traffic signs to emphasize that a traffic sign is there. Dax, It’s equally sad to see a teacher teaching false history (sorry Jennifer, but that’s what the article does). Using the double space when you are creating a document that will never have an online use never should have been changed to one space in the first place. Why shoot yourself in the foot when you can simply use one space after a period? Can I just ask – why not the indent for new paragraphs? Does it matter that now a comma and a period have the same “spacing” after them, or is a slight different factored in mathematically to the “proportional type” so that the spacing is actually different between the comma and the period? Also, when my mom was teaching me handwriting, she told me to always use a “one finger” space between words and a “two finger” space between sentences. If you pay attention, proportionally-spaced fonts allocate *LESS* width for a space than did monospaced fonts. Thanks so much for this! Tough being an old woman trying to get by in a young woman’s world. I believe she was very clear about that. This was extremely helpful. And that brings me to people who are stuck in their ways. “Just because i am over 55 does not mean I am backwards or do not understand the latest technology.” One finger space between words and two between sentences. Not only are you creating unnecessary emphasis on differentiating between sentences, but you actually create subtle breaks which shouldn’t be there. So they learn not to care about it. Pretty much all style guides now say single space after a paragraph is the way to go now. While I happen to agree with your opinion, your argument is — well, flat-out wrong. We are improving communication, which is at the core of everything else in the world. Why is it that so many of those people commenting are so confident that only their opinions are correct? And I like my double spaces. Is there any? Tell me. Comtempory book publishers have universally abandoned the practice, and I suspect that this abandoment will continue to spread. Yes, I just said that, and it wouldn’t be the first time. If there is a flaw in this article, it’s that it fails to point that out. The tradition of placing extra spacing after periods and other end-of-sentence punctuation marks is much, much older. In reality though the reason why in most cases you should refrain from two spaces is when the line breaks and could cause a new line to start with a space. This is a moment of increased awareness of the typography while good typography should be invisible. Another exception: writing computer code. or a court circuit (6th Cir.). Actually, especially in the year you took your typing class, the IBM selectric had proporyionally spaced font balls. Only someone dumb as a bag of hammers can’t see that two spaces is easier to read and looks better. I’m afraid I have never heard of this rule until now. You seem to realize that the not-currently-an-option 1.5-ish width between sentences would be useful, but you have provided only vague preferences as to why the substitute should be one space, when there is much valid reasoning behind why two spaces is the most useful current replacement. Aha. It is the way your inner feelings are received by the observer. See below. We may be the last to use them, but we do use them. So now everybody lose the 2 spaces! Readers are too impatient, We have to grab them and keep them. Keep up that attitude you will not get published. Not only does it give the actors a break, but it is easier to estimate the time a page of script will take in production. . Typing two spaces after a period is simply the exercise of the existing rules when using a typewriter. It ages you and indicates that you will likely be a liability if the job you seek requires any sort of written communication. One can’t spell ‘contemporary’ without ‘temporary’, and I will not defer to typographers when I know they are incorrect, just as I would not have deferred to them (or anyone else) in Germany before the war. Thanks. So I FEEL like I am still putting a double space as it was ingrained so long ago, but there is actually just one. I have worked at three design studios so far. I shall delightfully cast them as villains, now, and myself the pedantic, reluctant freedom fighter. I just wanted to note that my old co-workers are staunch defenders of the double space. Many times I’ve been told by my publishers not to indent the first line of the first para in any chapter or chapter section. ‘I don’t care,’ answered his untucked shirt. Not completely, anyway. And I’m “only” 38, ha ha! That first one was shouted and the second one was whispered…). They went against aesthetic ideals. See http://www.heracliteanriver.com/?p=324 for a review of what the actual typesetting standards really are and were. Double-spacing sentences just simply makes more sense. I think there are two possibilities. The rule of typesetting that predates typewriters by 300 years says that the space between sentences should be larger than the space between words. Manjoo’s piece has gotten a lot of attention since it was written. I can vouch that one space after a period (or exclamation point or question mark) is today’s standard. I learned to type in middle school on a computer and was told to double space. Seriously. Is it really that big of a deal to put two spaces after a period? etc. The authority would be real-world typesetting guides, especially those that pre-date the typewriter. “Once in a while I use etc. The history you’ve printed here is made up. I am 68. Also, it’s rather telling that “earlier printers” had advice on how to deal with situations where the holes became too numerous and looked bad. Completely disagree. What’s the reasoning behind that requirement? You just me brought back with scary visions from my typing classes in middle school. To anyone who feels your post was ageist, i say “grow up!” There are far more important things to get bent out of shape over–such as the serial comma. Is Pages similar to Word? That’s because people keyboard instead of type. Don’t justify your paragraphs. I think it’s usually good and useful for clarity, but there are times when I’m perfectly willing to abandon it for cleanliness. I do agree that double spacing can be bad looking if a paragraph uses justified alignment. In 1986 I bought a Macintosh and have made my living as a graphic artist and typesetter. Thanks. They had no idea. How funny that you used an incomplete sentence to complain about a grammar flaw. One of my favorite memories from my days in the classroom revolves around the days when students were working at their desk and I was typing away at mine. It was not my choice, but I have found that it really irks people in this particular thread. Jack, this is not an article telling you how to write a manuscript, but how to format it for submission. The latter saved space and paper in books etc. Plus, all these short cuts that is being taught in language is quite scary! If you want to use a single space, like they did when people used typesetting and electric typewriters, that’s fine. Who says I have to follow new age rules? No harm intended, though. Does that make a single space the preferred practice? In some novels I’ve read, they will use the 3-asterisk method for showing passage of time or scene-change, but then in other places in the same book they will simply skip a couple of lines and start a new, non-indented, paragraph to show the same. It’s about making the written word easier on the eyes. Justifying creates uneven spacing between the words that makes it harder to read. That would be a hard one to stop since I just do it naturally. That attitude comes from not really having any investment in their writing beyond what grade it earns, and they know through experience that most English teachers are too busy to spend much, if any, time fussing with them over typography, nor to hold them accountable for it in the form of a grade. Thanks for this information. Thanks. Nothing says under 40 like using the word “then” instead of “than”. What you will see however are wide gaps in between words in order to justify text. For centuries, the rule was to put a greater distance between sentences than between words, from 1.4 to 3 times more space, depending on the guide. all of them unforgiving. And to do that requires writing directly in HTML. I also was taught (very strictly!) Is there an affordable novel-writing software program that has automatic features that enables someone to concentrate on writing instead of formatting? And let’s be realistic here, with all the grief and strife in the world today do we really need to worry about how many spaces to place after a period at the end of a sentence? (Really?) Ask yourself how many times you’ve seen posts, or memes, from those frustrated over other’s misuse of homophones (e.g. Thank you. It has been written elsewhere (see, e.g., http://www.manifestdensity.net/2011/01/14/everyone-has-a-right-to-their-beliefs/) but I can also explain more here. Contact Us, (Before I start, I should mention that I am over 40.). I almost forgot to answer your question about a print version. Some mention the double space is necessary to divide sentences, but this is absolutely ludicrous. How about the misuse and interchanging of then and than? All used single-spacing after periods. I find it ironic that the example you use in the image at the top of the post should not have a period at all – it should be a semi-colon. I will disagree for exactly the reason you give, fonts. It gives a breath between the completed thought that is a sentence. The submission requirements vary significantly between different agents and publishers. Perhaps you should be more concerned about beginning a sentence with the word “it”. While I prefer the one-space look myself and ask my students to do it too, I’m not militant about it if someone uses two spaces consistently. I’m a typographer and I frequent typophile.com and absolutely none of the typographers (among them some of the most noteworthy contemporary type designers as well) would say anything like that, and in fact I’m almost certain each one of them would advise against the use of double spaces. It CAN be done, but then the type designers need to address this and technology needs to advance a bit further. Let’s say that you have the following two sentences: You want to impress as you’re trying to move up in the corporate world? Even with my “aged” eyes, I have no trouble reading single-spaced sentences with proportional fonts. GFOH!! At least once a year one of the male students would have to come look over my shoulder in doubt that I could actually correctly type that fast without looking. No author can exist and succeed without the help of others, so it is best to format it to the way in which the agents, editors, etc like and expect it. So Apple is not guiding you towards 2 spaces after that period. And out of respect for everyone here, I’ve alternated my spacing between one and two spaces while making this comment. In other words, what? So do we underline or italicize all italicized words? I say live and let SPACE! Perhaps a nod to the way it used to be. While I’ve used many style guides over the years, notably Chicago, Associated Press [although I never understood why THAT one], CBE, and APA, it’s been AMA for the past, oh, 25+ years. Whether they’re aware of what the typographers advise or not, some people still maintain their opinions and it’s usually because they grew up with certain ideals. And yet, they do make decisions about things they don’t actually see. That looks okay too. With digital typography on the web we’re still typographically restricted and so we’re forced to choose between one and two spaces. Stay in touch! Hi — thanks for sharing this. I never knew that. I hope not. I considered it, but I tend to update the book a couple of times a month. Purist don’t like the spaces because they break up the visual flow of the paragraph, and both sides will get rabid arguing over this. 3) Slate? “one space or two does not create any real problem.” No! Being over 40 myself, I felt it was okay to poke a little fun. You should be able to save your manuscript in MS-Word format by following the directions in this article. Historically about 1,5 space was used. Or a question mark. At least, that’s my main guess. Notice that my title was acquisitions editor. The fact that this is so has little to do with their motivation, and their motivation shouldn’t affect ours. One can always type “shift” then “.” if one is so moved. #ThereTheirThey’re. i mene why even worry bout spellin yo. I’ve been thinking about this since I commented earlier and I’ve decided that it could be that some of us see the blank page as a blank canvas. And why is what was the norm a century or more ago more valid than what’s become the aesthetic and practical standard in the “modern” age. They think it is not fair to give one space between two words and the same one space between two sentences. I assumed that anyone who used two spaces did it only because they didn’t know better, but now I see that this is not the case. (See I do it too). The reasoning provided by double-spacers is consistently more cogent and substantive than the reasoning provided by contemporary typographers, Dutch or otherwise. Also, I realize I hit the wrong reply. I’m secure in my age and experience to know when I’m engaged in being an “old fart” or “cranky.” I’m not even annoyed by this. I’m at a loss as to what to do with my completed manuscript that’s otherwise properly formatted. Andrew, you can simply describe the drawing– obviously through words– but if the note/handwriting includes in the manuscript, just describe it (like, sloppy, illegible, et cetera). was revised to clarify that spacing twice at the end of a sentence is optional, and that option is intended to apply only to draft manuscripts (p. 88). And all the while, was told two spaces after punctuation. The primary reason to go with two spaces is because of the use of initializations and abbreviations ending with periods. . I hope after this I’m welcome! Yes, standards change, hence the constant debate over the Oxford comma, but most changes such as these take place fairly naturally over time. I read that I should use three asterisks, centered from the left. Use one period of you want, but don’t try to convince the rest of us that it is better or “correct.” It’s not. There always has to be music playing in public buildings. Less accomplished players are always in a hurry to sound the next note. if you have not seen it yet. ‘A’ is singular, so ‘way’ should also be singular. to put two spaces after a period, and only in the last couple of years have I unlearned that rule. But I find it hard to be criticized for an extra space when, from what I’ve seen, there are MUCH more important writing lessons that need to be taught and re-taught and re-taught. Well, I like two spaces. I’m over 40 and totally understand the resistance to change. I am 23 years old and I always use 2 spaces after each sentence. On the other hand, I’ve been using personal computers since 1981, so I made the transition to single-spacing between sentences fairly early on. In any event, I’m a paralegal at a law office. I also agree that the dearth of proper grammar and spelling in society today, particularly in popular media and advertising, is much more worrisome than a mere two spaces at the end of a sentence! Just saw your comment and reply about others having stated the same below. Your piece is hard to read because you don’t double space after your sentences. I find sentences with one space difficult to read, sentences running together. That’s how virtually every published book for the last century looks, so why would it look weird to anyone? id Summary Owner Type Status Priority Milestone 66 HTML Tidy for XHTML processing New Feature confirmed Normal 101 IE: Can't use the Styles combo with TR, TD, TH Bug closed Normal 167 Improving IsDirty after switching modes and undo Bug confirmed Normal 171 Unable to set textfield char width to 20 Martin Kou Bug review_failed Low 228 Clean HTML function (separate from Clean From Word … After the Transitional style the experimentation continued and the contrast was raised even further. “Typographers seem eager to dismiss wider spaces as some sort of fad,” However, I already know I’m not going to keep up with the technology in that area. I just found out I’m not supposed to and am kind of in shock. RAMONA!!!! It’s a shame you came to that conclusion because it’s not true. It looks so clunky and cluttered and just is generally ugly when you use 1 space instead of two. Could my resistance to single spaces also be inflamed by my 60-year-old eye sight that needs all the visual assistance it can get from double spaces when reading? First off, it’s true that many of the authors of these kind of articles (including the one on this page) partially speak from ignorance and haven’t actually researched typographic history and parrot-talk about the typewriter story. A major contrast is Open Office Writer 4.1.0 that has an “ignore double space” auto correct option that you simply reach through tools. However, what we realized is that by pressing space-bar 2X you get 1 period and 1 space after that period, not 1 period and 2 spaces after the period. Then, as now, it’s about legibility. after the chapter number (I have no titles) you say begin the text four lines down. I tend to believe that people who create these “new rules” do so because they screwed up the old ones. I know that the APA manual still says 2 spaces because it’s correct. For many years, this was a topic of heated discussion. Trolling in a fishing context means casting a baited line out in the water and dragging it through the water behind you as you move, in order to increase your catchment area (the word is a variant of "trailing"). They did not. A period followed by two spaces solves a real problem with ambiguity. I believe the forgotten delineation is from the lack of educational awareness, in the last few generations, making it a pseudo standard; as no one truly has to write in grade school anymore. Yes, I’m over 40, but by not much and I will always type two spaces after a period. You give one argument (…the extra space at the end of the sentence is placed there because the extra white space helps the reader’s eye to detect the end of a sentence, and helps you to read more smoothly.) Ironically enough, I find it most problematic online when reading html (which strips out double spaces), only partially because I am often scanning quickly online. Sort of. Look into it and you’ll find that studies show little difference in ease of reading with either approach. Kids who were taught to space twice or old souls would have a hard time in your class. Mine is https://www.facebook.com/MTChapman.Author. I’ve always found that two spaces seems easier to distinguish individual sentences with most fonts. I will not give up my two spaces. Do you know what is more irritating to me, that you would write such a blog that enables these kids that already don’t get taught well in school now, that this is ok! Here there is a form to fill. Early typesetting software beeped at you if you spaced twice and discarded any spaces after the first one. After all, a 30-year-old human resources person will likely notice if you double space on your resume and cover letter. If you don’t think it is a problem, talk to some folks over 55 who have tried to, or have been forced to, change jobs recently. (even my post requires editing…procrastinate or post — note to self – hire editor, post anyway . Believe me, there are many, many, MANY more important things going on in this world. We all have a vital part to play in the scheme of life. We should not support or encourage this anymore than we have to especially when it comes to teaching writing/grammar. Adding an extra space makes the division more obvious, but since two full spaces is too much you create an unnecessary pause which increases typographic awareness while good typography is invisible. So much so, in fact, that I named my younger daughter Jennifer. The typists handling typewriters mimicked this by adding two spaces because restrictions in technology didn’t allow the same typographic sophistication as in classical typography. I know someone who leaves a space after punctuation. I have a small question. If you handle double spaces for aesthetic reasons, I would argue your sense of aesthetics is off but there isn’t much I can argue there. As far as I know, AP (the journalist style manual) is the ONLY style manual that has changed to 1 space. Thanks, Mike. Hi Marcus. My semester of typing remains one of the most valuable classes I ever took in high school — I can still dazzle small children with my ability to make words appear on a screen by just hysterically wiggling my fingers on the keyboard. Not only the quality of these typefaces tended to be mediocre, but the printing had to be fast and cheap as well and there simply wasn’t much concern for perfect typography. Yes kids now a days do not know how to sign off with their name in cursive! Look, I put 20 spaces before this sentence, how many do you see…? Dayum. I didn’t even know that was possible. The lines have become blurred between typesetting and just typing a manuscript so I guess you pays yr money ‘n takes yr choice! 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