Double space after period?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by madanthonywayne, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    I was helping my daughter with a paper today when the topic of the proper spacing after a period came up.

    I told her she needed a double space after a period and she looked at me increduluosly and said, "why?"

    Certain I was right, I googled the question only to find out, much to my surprise, I was wrong!

    Apparently the double space after the period is a convention dating to use of manual typewriters. Since the advent of word processing programs and proportional fonts, the convention of the double space is obsolete. A single space is used instead, but word processing programs do allocate a little extra space automatically.

    I had no idea.
     
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  3. AlexG Like nailing Jello to a tree Valued Senior Member

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    Double space is what I was taught in 9th grade, banging away on manual Underwoods.

    Of everything I took in High School, typing may have been the most lasting and useful course. It was taught by the track coach.
     
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    The double space pretty much went out with the advent of WYSIWYG word processors. But old habits are hard to break - especially for people who were taught touch typing in teh manual typewriter era.
     
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    My mother insisted that I learn to type, although I would probably have wanted to take the class anyway. There were not very many other boys in the class, but both she and I were certain that the skill would come in very handy in college. Indeed it did; my handwriting has always been slow and terrible and it's hard to imagine how I could have kept up with the writing assignments at a top-tier school (Caltech) without it. Most of the boys there had typewriters. (There were no female undergaduates at that time and in fact my class included the very first Afro-American undergraduate.)

    All those boys who refused to learn to type are the adult men you see today, spending their entire work day huddled over a computer keyboard, frustrated by their inability to touch-type. By the mid-1960s when the Women's Liberation movement was gathering momentum, a sizeable number of girls were also refusing to learn to type, since they had no intention of becoming clerks and secretaries when they grew up.

    Irony is such a beautiful thing, especially when for a change you happen not to be the victim.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    I typed all of my wife's papers in college until she began work on her master's thesis and that arrangement would no longer work. Fortunately home computers with word processors had recently become available (she got her B.A. at 36 and her M.A. at 43, but hey it's never too late to become better educated) so she was able to take over the task--she actually knew how to type but had avoided practicing it.

    My mother also insisted that I learn Gregg shorthand. What a great advantage that would be for taking precise notes in lectures! Yeah right; did she forget that she had intended for me to go to Caltech since the days when I was too young to know what that meant?
    Try taking that down in Gregg.
     
  8. Shadow1 Valued Senior Member

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    what is that double space thing pleas?
     
  9. Pinwheel Banned Banned

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    This:
     
  10. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    Not very many boys in the class was a problem? That's the main reason I took typing. I picked up quite a few girlfriends out of my typing class. Not to mention the fact that as the years have gone by I've found both typing and Spanish to be much more useful than I ever imagined thay would be back in high school.
     
  11. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, I find it pretty much ridiculous when people who work at computers all day, every day can't touch-type. One particularly ironic case is a coworker of mine who does all kinds of annoying things to improve computer productivity (memorizes all keyboard shortcuts so he doesn't lose precious seconds moving his hand between the keyboard and mouse, etc.) and yet never learned to touch-type. He still does hunt-and-peck, with a speed far below writing longhand, and poor accuracy to boot. Every time he starts to bloviate about the fractions of seconds that can be saved by judicious use of num-lock or whatever, I just tune out and amuse myself by noting that, for all of his years of crazy efforts, he'll never be as efficient as I've been since early puberty.

    So, get with it people: you spend all day at a computer for your entire career, it's worth the investment to learn to type decently. Maybe it helps that I took piano lessons when I was little, or something...

    True enough, but it can well be too late for the acquisition of further degrees to provide sufficient expected monetary return to justify the cost of getting them. Especially in less remunerative areas, where you have to work for decades to expect to break even. And, of course, degrees in areas like fine arts that actually have a negative expected value. More here:

    http://articles.moneycentral.msn.co...vingForCollege/IsYourDegreeWorth1million.aspx
     
  12. AlexG Like nailing Jello to a tree Valued Senior Member

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    The typing class also included Gregg shorthand, but that never stuck with me.

    When typing you are supposed to double space after a period. Nowadays, since spacing is proportional and taken care of by the computer, it's not necessary.
     
  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    She got hers in English literature, so it wasn't about the money. She is really interested in the subject matter and found the courses fascinating and enriching.
    I find that in some fonts one space is not enough and two is too many. Does anyone else have that experience?
     
  14. AlexG Like nailing Jello to a tree Valued Senior Member

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    I automatically put two spaces after each period. But the machine overrides me.
     
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Ever since the advent of Microsoft in my house, I have been swearing at this machine for correcting my double space after the period - among its other improvements on what I want to type. Pisses me off.
     
  16. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    I came across this convention in graduate school after my PI edited my manuscript to double space after period and I changed it back when I came across two occurences of it. After using it for some time, I got used to it. Its still not automatic to me but I like the presentability of it.
     
  17. superstring01 Moderator

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    I learned to type back in the early 90's when the convention for double-spacing was still in effect. I still do it to this day.

    Like SAM, I like how it looks.

    ~String
     
  18. Pinwheel Banned Banned

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    Im guilty of that, but it doesnt bother me or slow me down. In my job there isnt a lot of long paragraphs and lengthy reports to write, so it doesnt matter.
     
  19. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    It shouldn't make any difference to presentability, provided you're using modern typesetting software. Such software automatically adjusts the spacing between words, sentences and even individual letters in order to get the best possible presentability. If the particualar software is worth its salt, then it ought not to matter if you add an extra space between sentences or not, because the software ought to be smart enough to recognise that white space is white space and adjust accordingly (i.e. effectively ignoring the extra spaces you insert).

    However, I know that word processors such as Microsoft Word do not ignore those extra spaces completely. They make them smaller, but they are still there if you insert them. The result, in my opinion, is less presentable text, because you're deliberately confounding the algorithms that determine the best spacing between sentences.

    Of course, I can't really argue with your personal preferences. If you think it looks good, go for it. Be aware that some may disagree. Hopefully, of course, your stunning prose will be more interesting to consider than how it is typeset, in most cases.

    P.S. May I ask why you do not add extra spaces in your forum posts?
     
  20. AlexG Like nailing Jello to a tree Valued Senior Member

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    I do. The forum software removes it.
     
  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Indeed. Any series of spaces of any length is reduced to one. This makes it very hard to align columns.
     
  22. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

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    I can touch type fine if I'm not thinking about it. If I think about it I start messing up. Way weird.
     
  23. Gremmie "Happiness is a warm gun" Valued Senior Member

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    Actually, I don't think that's weird...I'm the same way..

    I just fly along, until I think too much about it.. Then the mistakes come.
     

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