1. Blips
    Offline

    Blips Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0

    Manuscript: period spaces

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Blips, Sep 21, 2010.

    I figured it was intelligent to convert my work to the proper manuscript formatting before continuing rather than having to re-edit an entire document once finished.

    I've had no trouble adopting the standards except for one: I've been from countless sources that a double space should follow any period when writing in a monospaced font.

    My main concern is, should I only add double spaces after peroids? Or should I do the same for exclamation marks, question marks, etc. And does this rule also apply to dialog? Should I have two spaces following the closing quote of any dialog ending in a period?

    I also use "..." occasionally during dialog. Should there be spaces in between each period followed by another 2 spaces?

    edit: also, I'm assuming this rule is only for periods ending a sentence, not for abbreviations such as Dr. Capt. etc.


    Sorry for all of the different situational questions but I've been unable to find a concrete "yes" or "no" on any of them.
     
  2. erik martin
    Offline

    erik martin Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Messages:
    249
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Basically, any time you end a sentence, whether with a period, question mark, exclamation point, whatever, then leave two spaces and begin the next sentence. Also, it is customary to double space after a colon.
     
  3. Blips
    Offline

    Blips Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ok, thanks for clearing that up.
     
  4. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Two spaces after sentence-ending punctuation is a standard that goes back to typewriter days. Today, with word processors, there is a trend toward reducing to a single space. But unless a publisher specifies this, your best bet is to stick with the old school two spaces separating sentences.

    Besides, it's much easier to globally replace <space><space> with <space> than the other way around (which would require checking every instance individually).
     
  5. Evelyanin
    Offline

    Evelyanin Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    10
    Ugh no! A new habit?! I've always just done one space. And now I need to remember to do this? Perhaps I'll try to make it a new habit. Every sentence I finish will have two spaces. Remind me if I revert back to my old ways tommorow.
     
  6. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Unfortunately, in posts, repeated spaces display as only one space, so we can't easily see whether you have the two space habit well-ingrained. That's just how HTML handles whitespace on web pages.

    Those of us who took actual typing classes in high school, on real typewriters, have the two space habit burned into our muscle memory.
     
  7. Naiyn
    Offline

    Naiyn Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Nebraska
    :eek: You're not alone. Damn I have a lot to learn.
     
  8. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,725
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    I grew up in Canada and always used one space after a period. That was the standard for any schoolwork I did there. I never even heard of needing two spaces until I came to the USA in 1996. What you're used to depends on where you grew up, I guess.
     
  9. Blips
    Offline

    Blips Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0
    Typewriter? Whats that? :D:D

    Yup.
     
  10. Evelyanin
    Offline

    Evelyanin Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    10
    Wait a minute. So it also depends on where you live? So my question is, do the majority of publishers, including canadian ones, prefer the double space? Or do I need to switch back to my old habit of one space?


    I never had a problem with the single space. Even with reading. If I'm going to get all environmentalist about it, then I would say it clearly is unevironmental.
    Let's say that a novel is 60k. I'm using a small novel as an example. If each sentence is 25 words long (a very long sentence), then there would be 2400 sentences in the novel. That would be 2400 extra spaces in the novel. I calculated that a page fit to the average publisher standards, fits 3120 spaces. That would almost be a whole extra page! Wasted just on spaces!

    Now if an author sends out 10 manuscripts, that would equate to more than 7 pages! What a waste! Our world is so concerned about global warming, and wasting resources, and us silly writers are wasting paper! A terrible, terrible, shame.

    Now if I actually was an extreme environmentalist, this would be very good reasoning. However, since I'm not, I think it's just an excuse because I would find it easier to stick to one space. Ha, I am such a hypocrite.
     
  11. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    If your publisher wants a hard-copy manuscript, in the standard double-spaced (inter-line spacing) format with a fixed-pitch font like Courier, single-sided printing, he or she will want that extra space after each sentence. It does make the break between sentences stand out better visually. I have never heard of this Canadian style with a single space; whether it was the school he studied at, or is a real Canadian convention, I do not know. There are enough differences between UK and US standards that it is quite possible, but it is the US standard, at least for now. As I said, it does appear to be changing.

    I do know that a manuscript that uses the two-space convention can be easily converted to the single-space convention with a simple global replace, but convering back would be far more labor (or labour) intensive. So I made the decision not to retrain myself to the single-space practice.

    As for wasted paper, editors love the extra whitespace. That is why the manuscript standards are what they are. It leaves room for the standard editing symbols and annotations, and margin notes, and the blank page on the reverse leaves room for longer comments.
     
  12. madhoca
    Offline

    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    the shadow of the velvet fortress
    I expect Canada follows the usual British habit of just one space after a full stop or colon.
    However, when I sent copy to the typesetter when I worked at the Observer Newspaper, there were a whole load of rules we had to follow and 2 spaces after a full stop was one of them. I heard from my friend this later changed to one space (after copy started being sent electronically).
     
  13. Horizon Noise
    Offline

    Horizon Noise Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've heard of the double spaces after the full stop but it's not common in the UK. I've collected 20+ specs from UK agents and publishers regarding formatting and none mention double spacing, and some are incredibly specific, including detail on formatting the title page. Oddly enough my father (who studied English at Cambridge) seemed to think the double-space would be standard here but then again, in his day it might have been ;)
     
  14. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    the reason it's still a good idea is that for agents/editors who have to read mss all day, every day, it's easier to tell where sentences end/begin and leaves more space for editing... so, wherever you live/submit, it would be wise/kind to stick to the old 2-space rule...
     
  15. Horizon Noise
    Offline

    Horizon Noise Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you know for a fact it's standard in your country and the agent expresses no preference, or the agent asks for it, then put it in. I strongly believe, however, that if the agent has a format specification that does not mention it, and it is not a standard, you should stick to that specification without any deviation, modification or addition. Not doing so is the fastest way to find your work back on your doorstep with a photocopied rejection slip. It is not the author's job to second guess what the agent would like to see in terms of presentation. In the UK the consensus seems to be that double-spacing after the full stop is not only non-standard, it is wrong, and therefore IMO it should never be done unless specifically requested.
     

Share This Page