1. Robert from Ky
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    Robert from Ky New Member

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    Spaces between Sentences

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Robert from Ky, Sep 20, 2011.

    Is it written in stone that there should be only a single space between sentences or this a publisher / writer issue. Most publishing guides I have looked at till now recommend single spacing. Is there a reason for this.
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I grew up in Canada, and was always taught that there should be one space. When I moved to the USA, I found that lots of people have been taught that there should be two spaces. It seems that it depends on where you're from.
     
  3. Robert from Ky
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    Robert from Ky New Member

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    Thanks for the reply. Perhaps this is an issue between me and the publisher. I prefer double spacing and am editing my book that way but It is a lot of work to be told I have to change it to single spacing if in fact that is the way the publisher wants it.
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    But can't you just do a search-and-replace? I can't think of any place other than the end of a sentence where there would ever be two spaces, so two spaces to one seems really easy. One space to two would be a bit more work, because you'd have to find every sentence-ending bit of punctuation, but that still seems like only a few search-and-replaces.

    ChickenFreak
     
  5. Melanie
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    Melanie Member

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    You mean the spaces after a period, right? I've always been taught in school that there should be two spaces after a period or question mark. I'm now in college and the APA standards that my school goes by requires two spaces as well. If the publisher demands only one space, I would assume it's for economy's sake. Less spaces call for less pages to print. Though, I must say, it would be really hard to type with two spaces your whole life then have to switch to once space.
     
  6. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    I'm talking from a UK perspective, but I think having two spaces after a sentence would look incredibly weird. I would advise against it. I've never seen it done before in a major work.
     
  7. Raki
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    Raki Contributing Member

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    I don't think it's written in stone anywhere, but there are several threads discussing this topic on these forums already (try a forum search). From what I gather, two spaces are used with non-proportional fonts (letters, numbers, punctuation, characters, etc., take up the same amount of horizontal space) to make the end of a sentence a little easier to catch with the eye. Courier is an example of this. Proportional fonts, like Times New Roman, have varying widths, and it's easier to see the end of a sentence with a single space.
     
  8. Omega14
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    Omega14 Member

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    Historically, in the days of typewriters (and I only know this because I took a class in typing at school), two spaces used to be put after a full stop. This would agree with Raki's reasoning in the above post as the typeface on an old typewriter was courier. In this electronic age, one space is the norm, I believe.

    Rachel
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The standard remains two spaces between sentences. If you are typewriter-trained, you'll do this without thinking anyway.

    However, publishers are increasingly accepting the single space separation, and some even prefer it.

    My recommendation is to write your manuscript with two space separation. If you submit to a publisher, it is trivial to replace all doubled space characters with a single space, but trying to replace single space with pairs of spaces in all the right places is considerably more difficult.
     
  10. LaurenM
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    LaurenM Member

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    I never even knew there should be two spaces at the end of a sentence, and I live in the US. I was taught to do just one in my 6th grade computer class. Maybe it's becoming a bit of a change in computers? Does this mean I should now write my stories with two spaces after each sentence, or still just one? It would feel odd changing now after so long.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's common enough now to use a single space character that you probably won't be dinged for it, even by an old-school submissions editor.

    Do be consistent, though. If you alternate, you will simply look careless.
     
  12. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    The UK standard is for ONE space after a full stop (period). This is partly because it saves paper, maybe also because as Raki says, the UK font of choice is Times New Roman, not Courier. I always use one space unless guides specify otherwise--but like you, I've hardly ever come across this.
     
  13. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    [citation needed]

    I'm in the UK and have always been taught to use two spaces. My sister trained in the UK as a typist in the 1960s and was taught to use two spaces. Two spaces are mandated by my (UK) employer's house style. I think the strongest you can claim is that one of the UK standards is for one space.
     
  14. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    The European Union's Inter Institutional Style Guide requires single sentence spacing to be used in ALL European Union publications. This means UK also.
    The 2003 edition of the Oxford Style Manual states, "In text, use only a single word space after all sentence punctuation."
    When I worked at The Observer newspaper, the rule was one space. Maybe I'm wrong in presuming this is standard for other British newspapers.
    When I've submitted to academic journals the rule has always been one space--I think that this is called 'Turabian Style'.

    Using 2 spaces between sentences disrupts the balance of white space on the page. My daughter is studying for a BA in Visual Communications Design. We have just bought the books and dossier of photocopies of articles she will need for the semester ahead, e.g:

    "Every modern typographer agrees on the one-space rule. It's one of the canonical rules of the profession, in the same way that waiters know that the salad fork goes to the left of the dinner fork and fashion designers know to put men's shirt buttons on the right and women's on the left. Every major style guide—including the Modern Language Association Style Manual and the Chicago Manual of Style—prescribes a single space after a period." Farhad Manjoo

    All the other texts on formatting say the same.

    In printed books, there is variable spacing usually, but this does not mean that it is correct to use this for a submission. One space wins every time. Two spaces went out in the 1950s, and finally died with the triumph of the word processor.
     
  15. MarmaladeQueen
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    MarmaladeQueen Senior Member

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    I'm another UK-based 2-spacer. I was definitely taught, in the context of word-processing and business English, to use 2 spaces. I also find text easier to read with two spaces rather than one. It looks as though I'll have to try to change to 1 space, which will be hard after all these years.

    I think 2 spaces is more of a 1980s thing than a 1950s thing. I may be old, but not that old. I was just learning to read at the very end of the 1950s.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that!
     
  17. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    But they are all just house styles; none of them makes it "the UK standard". Other style guides exist.
    Typography is another matter, and only relevant to creative writers if they are self publishing. And neither the Modern Language Association (of America) nor the Chicago Manual of Style defines UK usage! (They have more bearing on Cog's comment that "The standard remains two spaces between sentences" because I assume he will be addressing US usage),
    I much prefer one space with word processing, so I'm not arguing aesthetics. I'm simply pointing out that this is a matter of house style, and house styles vary even within the UK.
     
  18. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    Since I began using Word it would highlight doube spaces as incorrect, so I thought, as I just went back and tried it,
    it does not mark either wrong.
    Must have been some other mistake and I thought it was a spacing problem.

    I taught myself to type. In fact, I started seriously writing when I didn't get a job because I couldn't type fast enough.

    One of the "how to format word documents for publishing"sights said one space.
     
  19. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's an option. In Word 2007, click the Office button, then Word options | Proofing | Settings. You can set the spaces required between sentences to 1, 2 or don't check.
     
  20. Robert from Ky
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    Robert from Ky New Member

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    Thanks everyone for your input on the single and double spacing behind a sentence. When I asked the publisher about this earlier, I did not receive a reply. I followed their publishing rules and single spaced. Having said that, I have a natural tendency to double space. Perhaps it is the typewriter thing. At any rate, I have decided that since it is my book, I am going to double space it. Looks more natural to me and for those who still like the feel of a book in their hands, I think it makes it easier to follow the story. Thanks again to everyone for your input.
    Have a great day......

    There is no end, Only another beginning
     
  21. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    It is your book and if you're self-publishing, you can do what you want. But publishers have specific requirements and provide guidelines for prospective authors. In UK most of those will stipulate single spacing. That goes for magazine and periodical publishers too.
     
  22. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Although as Cog pointed out, going from 2 to 1 is trivial, going from 1 to 2 is more work. So there's a case for getting into the habit of typing two and producing a 1-space version from it. :D
     
  23. Lightman
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    Lightman Active Member

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    If you wanted to turn a one space manuscript into a two space one, couldn't you just search and replace ". " ?
     
  24. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    As long as you never use exclamation marks or question marks, the full stop is never immediately followed by a closing quotation mark...
     
  25. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Sorry, Mr. Lightman, that doesn't always work, such as abbreviations that are terminated with a period. And that neglects the other punctuation marks that are conventionally followed by two spaces: colons, exclamation points, and question marks.

    I'm not sure if digitig is being sardonic, but a dialogue segment that ends in a full stop has the quotation mark after the full stop, unless there is a trailing dialogue tag, and such a close quote would be followed by two spaces before the start of the next sentence.

    So the reverse search and replace strategy is quite a bit more complicated than the search and replace to convert two spaces to one.

    As digitig points out, periodicals have more of a tendency to expect single spaces than do novels or textbooks. And the UK in general exhibits more variation in all aspects of punctuation than US markets.
     

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