1. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Spacing after a stop / period.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Gannon, Oct 8, 2008.

    What is the approved amount of spaces to place after a stop or period? I routinely use two, other informed contacts of mine use just one. Is it dependent on personal style or the formality of a piece of text? Thanks.
     
  2. FantasyWitch
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    FantasyWitch Contributing Member

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    Don't know. I use one personally. I think two looks too big! See the diffrence? <
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I've always used one. But I think two used to be the standard. I'm sure Maia will be along later, to enlighten us :p
     
  4. FantasyWitch
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    FantasyWitch Contributing Member

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    You calling Maia old??! Terrible!
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The standard taught to us who learned to bang out pages on typewriters was thwo spaces after a sentence-ending punctuation mark. The habit is so deeply ingrained in me that I cannot readily overcome it.

    However, the modern standard in the age of digital is a single space after such punctuation. It's up to the typesetter to make sure the spacing looks good on the finished page, not the writer. I have even seen a recomendation for us old die-hard keybangers that we type in the two spaces if we can't break the habit, but that before submitting, we should globally replace all paired spaces with single spaces.
     
  6. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    Unless you're using an odd font that pushes up against itself, the "two spaces" rule doesn't really apply to the computer age. Computers are their own typesetters, and fonts are designed to give adequate word spacing.
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Wow, I am so out of the loop... :redface:

    I did not even realize this was a point of contention. I also come from the days of the typewriter and double spacing after a full stop, period, what-have-you was, until this very moment, an unquestioned standard.

    It does explain why my LSB program replaced my doubles with a single when I copy-pasted my existing work into the program. I had figured it was simply an artifact of the copy-paste from one file type to another...
     
  8. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Personally, I've always used one space. I think it looks odd when there are two.
    I guess it's fine to use two if you're not submitting, but if you are, you should check the formatting guidelines to make sure two is okay.
     
  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, come to think of it, I can remember very early word processors that had the amazing (for that time) feature of an automatic double space after a sentence closing punctuation mark. Kinda like auto-indent today.

    This is proof that amazing and useful are not necessarily mutually inclusive.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The early word processors predated the change to a single space. Furthermore, back then, most of the printers used for WP docs were little more than automated typewriters with fixed character spacing (monotype), so the double space still looked better.
     
  11. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    Yeah. Even on a computer, if you're typing in a .txt file or some other monotype format, double-spacing after a period is still a useful grammatical tool.

    Doesn't happen often, though.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    fw, but i AM 'old' honeybunch!... what else could you call 70, which i just turned 3 weeks ago?...

    anyway, on to the great space debate...

    i've always used a double, since i started using a manual smith & corona back in the early 50's... and yes, the computer age and the internet has made that not always necessary, BUT.......

    i feel it still is useful, especially for print work... double spaces between sentences do make it easier to see where one sentence stops and the next begins... for that reason alone, i'll continue the practice... it's also why many agents and publishers still prefer it, since they and their 'readers' have to deal with mss all day, every day and anything that makes it easier on their eyes is 'better'...
     
  13. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    In my experience, most publishers are looking for one space, but two isn't a concern.

    If it is a concern to you, simply type two spaces after every endmark )or endmark followed by end quotes). Then if you have to change it, all you need to do is find and replace...find two blank spaces, replace with one blank space. In a matter of seconds, you have your conversion. To do it the other way around...you'll have to do it the old fashioned way...or be creative in adding a space which requires a few more find/replace combinations.

    Terry
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Mr. Erwin, it's tougher than that to find the right find/replace combinations to properly insert paired spaces instead of single spaces at the end of sentences. It's more than just recognizing all of the end of sentence punctuation character sequences!

    (example above)
     
  15. ParanormalWriter
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    ParanormalWriter Contributing Member

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    In school I was taught to put two spaces after a period. Apparently that old way isn't the preferred one any more. These days I see a lot of guidelines specify one space--not two. That's a pain because it means I have to train myself out of hitting the space key twice, and it's always hard to stop doing something you've been in the habit of for a long time.
     
  16. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've always double-spaced, but never really put much though into it. I've never submitted anything for publication, so I've never been told to do it a specific way. Also, I type justified, so MS Word fiddles with my spacing anyway.
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Well, as a couple people have pointed out, there are apparently publishers who prefer the older two spaces style. And since it's a LOT easier to remove the extra spaces from a submission copy than to puyt them in if they aren't there, it's probably best to keep the old habit intact.

    For my part, I won't be breaking the habit.
     
  18. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    That is correct.

    instead of just find .[space] to .[space][space]

    things like: ."[space] to ."[space][space] and ?[space] to ?[space][space] and ?"[space] to ?"[space][space] and...and...

    That's why I wrote:
    Old Fasioned way = manually go in and add it to the end of each sentence combination...or coming up with the find and replace combinations.

    Terry
     
  19. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    The real question is...if your manuscript is reviewed by a prospective publisher, will this punctuation issue make a difference?

    In my opinion, the answer is no. Remember, you already made it through the toughest barrier...you got a human being to actually look at your manuscript! As long as the more important formatting rules are observed (1' margins, double spacing, standard font, left justified, proper heading, etc.), then the person reading the document is not looking at this issue of 1 or 2 spaces after each sentence. By that point, I believe he/she is looking to see if it's a well crafted story and marketable to their customer profile. They know they can edit out any little imperfections or writer idiosyncrasies like Cog's refusal to evolve from the dark ages. (snicker, snicker)
     
  20. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm just a pragmatist. I keep salt and pepper in different shakers because they are easier to mix than to unmix. I leave my two spaces after sentences because it's easier to trim them to one than the other way around.

    Also, there is that matter of centuries decades of habit.
     
  21. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Therein lay my comment concerning the early word processors doing an auto-double space for the writer not being so useful.

    My thumb automatically hits that space key twice after a period, auto-double or no. I ended up hating the function because I would end up with four spaces instead of two.:rolleyes:
     
  22. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    A "real" pragmatist would have three shakers...salt, pepper and the mix. Since every time the mix was used, the user would save one motion. Imagine how many saved "shakes" that would be over a lifetime! LOL
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Ahh, that must have REALLY been an early one. The one I used that did that was smart enough to watch for the extra space key and ignore it.

    Wouldn't that be three spaces, not four, because the second space keystroke was after a space, not a period? Also, what about when you typed abbreviations like Mr., Mrs., Dr., etc.? Did it put two spaces after them also?

    Sounds like that programmer had a "good idea" for the user, without distinguishing it from "wisdom".
     
  24. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It was for my Atari 800, so yes, rather early as far as WPs go. :D
     
  25. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks for all the viewpoints one and all. I'm going to stick with two in creative writing but use one in my technical writing (where necessary replacing two with one through the Tools Options.) Interesting to see how style has evolved and who evolves with it!
     

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