1. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    how many spaces after a quotation that ends with a question mark and is followed by a tag?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by mrieder79, Mar 23, 2014.

    For example:

    "Is the cat throwing up again?" asked Wilma with dismay.

    Should it be one or two spaces after the quotation?
     
  2. vera2014
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    vera2014 Contributing Member

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    I always see one space after a closing qoute.
    Grammar can be tricky. There are still some people who will put two spaces after a period (before the beginning of a new sentence) but that's becoming rarer.
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    One space. Though it may not look like it, everything in bold is one single sentence.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, it's all part of the same sentence...

    as for spacing between sentences, the old rule used to be 2 spaces, but since the advent of computer-generated written matter, it seems to have evolved into a single space...

    i [and possibly some other surviving fossils] still think 2 is a good idea, as in some fonts, the space is too narrow and a double makes it easier to tell when it's a new sentence... but i'm pretty sure we'd be shouted down by the new kids on the block...
     
  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    One space, as the previous responders say.

    I grew up in Canada, and I was never taught to use two spaces after a sentence. It was always one, even back in the days of manual typewriters. I was very surprised when I came to the USA and everyone told me I was doing it wrong. As Maia says, though, computers are making the question purely academic.
     
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    But....

    The OP, who was clearly taught that two spaces separate independent clauses (complete sentences), is asking a question that implicates the end of one independent clause and the beginning of another, more than just how many spaces to put. This particular question in regards to quoted dialogue is, at a primordial level, the cause for much confusion in correctly punctuating attributions (dialogue tags) and beats. Understanding that a dialogue tag is grammatically and syntactically part of the sentence that includes the dialogue is an important step to knowing how to correctly punctuate these structures, be there one space or two.
     
  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Sure, but you nailed it. The quoted text and the tag constitute one single sentence, question mark be damned. ;)
     
  8. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    Whoa, what? ONE space after a sentence? When did this happen?
     
  9. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    Also, thanks for the response. I have a lot of spaces to delete now. *sigh*
     
  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'm a diehard 2-spacer. Don't go soft on me, brother! Us 2-spacers gotta' stick together! ;)
     
  11. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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  12. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    ;)

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    In Word, just use search/replace. Search for <space><space>; replace with <space>; replace all. You can fix them all with a keystroke.

    Those who resist the one-space convention might check the New York Times bestseller list on Amazon. For each title, use the "Look inside" feature and you'll find the same thing in every one of them: one space between sentences.

    The two-space convention was invented by typing teachers in the age of manual typewriters. We're beyond that now. You can stick with the two-space practice, but if you ever do get a book published by a reputable publisher, they'll most likely remove the extra spaces.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
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  14. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    From whence doth the archaic convention of double spaces between sentences spring forth?

    I've never heard of it.
     
  15. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Hither it came from typing classes in the 70's and into the early 80's.
    Thither it went into a world already moving on to other standards.
    Whither goes it now? Into the same oblivion that wraps these words of direction of which I make use, independent of all preposition, falling unseemly and strange upon modern ears.

    :p

    But seriously, the OP's question has nothing to do with single or double space conventions and everything to do with identifying clause boundaries. ;)
     
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  16. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I got the other part about the question mark vs the comma, just never heard of the double space thing.

    I had a similar question a while back, long since answered about whether "said" following that question mark should be capped.
     
  17. sunsplash
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    sunsplash Bona fide beach bum

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    Whoa...I took typing in the mid-90s and was taught to double space between sentences, too! :eek: That's a habit I don't see breaking...oops.

    To the OP - I single space after an end quote in-sentence and double if at the end. Apparently my methods may be outdated now at the ripe old age of 28 so I, at the moment, no longer trust my own advice, lol.
     
  18. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    Here.
     
  19. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I see, a kerning issue. Now if we can just get rid of QWERTY. :p
     
  20. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    All the cool kids use one space :p
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you're all so flippin' YOUNG!

    i took typing in high school back in the mid-50s, when doubles were the iron-clad rule... i still would prefer it in mss i have to edit, as it's easier to see sentence breaks, but have capitulated to current convention, since few [if any] agents/editors will mind singles, while many nowadays will mind doubles... and the goal should be to maximize you and your work's chances of being taken seriously...
     
  22. sunsplash
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    sunsplash Bona fide beach bum

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    (emphasis mine)

    Really? Something as minute as a spacing preference can make or break your chance or is this an actual rule?! I'm now dizzy thinking of every thing I've ever written that would need to be changed...and the habit, oh the habit! :eek:
     
  23. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I'd need to see proof any publisher would reject something for two spaces between sentences before I'd believe that claim.

    If a publisher cared about double spaces between sentences, that would seem to be something they could return an MS to you to correct. A simple search for ".--" > replace with ".-" and you can correct them all with a couple keystrokes.

    Honestly, if a publisher has asked for your full MS it would be ludicrous to think they'd then snub it when they saw spaces between sentences.

    Now, on the other hand, publishers who get thousands of submissions will indeed not bother to read anything with too many typos and other grammar errors a novice might make. And one should absolutely look at a publisher's specifications before submitting anything. If they bothered to state one space between sentences, then fix the MS before sending. Otherwise, I can't see it being an issue that would make or break reading the MS.
     
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  24. sunsplash
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    sunsplash Bona fide beach bum

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    *sigh of relief* Thanks, @GingerCoffee - never knew that spacial search and correct trick, either. :)
     
  25. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It depends on the program you are writing in but all the word processors have it.
     

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