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#192897 08/30/10 04:24 PM
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Susan G Offline OP
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I am a former teacher and a writer of lessons for youth. I am trying to track down a new writing convention in spacing sentences.

When I was young, back in the days before White Out, the rule was this: 1 space between words, 2 words between sentences and 3 spaces to indent paragraphs. It was simple and easy to remember.

Nowadays, all over the 'net, including Wordsmith, the new writing convention is one space between sentences. It seems to be a new rule: 1 spacebar between words and sentences and 1 carriage return between paragraphs. ("And what the heck is a "carriage return" anyway?" say the kids. )

Am I correct in this observation, or is something else happening? Are people still following the old rule or is some feature of the internet daemon shortening the spaces between sentences?

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I learned it the way you did. Happy I am not teaching anymore.


Welcome


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I learned the same thing. What changed it was not the Internet, per se, but the instantiation of proportional fonts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentence_spacing
"With the introduction of proportional fonts in computers, double sentence spacing became obsolete.[13]"

... and later ...

"Most modern literature on typography says that double spacing is wrong,[18] but some non-typographical sources indicate that it could be used on a typewriter or with a monospaced font.[19]"

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Originally Posted By: TheFallibleFiend
I learned the same thing. What changed it was not the Internet, per se, but the instantiation of proportional fonts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentence_spacing
"With the introduction of proportional fonts in computers, double sentence spacing became obsolete.[13]"

... and later ...

"Most modern literature on typography says that double spacing is wrong,[18] but some non-typographical sources indicate that it could be used on a typewriter or with a monospaced font.[19]"



Fascinating, thanks.


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Originally Posted By: TheFallibleFiend
I learned the same thing. What changed it was not the Internet, per se, but the instantiation of proportional fonts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentence_spacing
"With the introduction of proportional fonts in computers, double sentence spacing became obsolete.[13]"

... and later ...

"Most modern literature on typography says that double spacing is wrong,[18] but some non-typographical sources indicate that it could be used on a typewriter or with a monospaced font.[19]"


This rationale makes absolutely no sense to me. If the reason for double spacing between sentences was to make it easier to see that it was a space between sentences the fact that the double space in a monospaced font is greater than that in a proportional font would make it more critical to double space in a proportional font. The period would seem to be more easily lost in a proportional font since it takes up less space than it would in a monospaced font. It seems to me more like it is just the fashion in house style and for some reason has gained the status of inviolable rule.

Personally I find double spacing between sentences in proportional fonts much easier to read.

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In some softwares, pressing space twice after a word automatically inserts a full stop/period.

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I hadn't seen that one. HTML generally compresses two or more spaces to one unless you add explicit non-breaking spaces.

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HTML generally compresses two or more spaces to one unless you add explicit non-breaking spaces.

Some applications, like FrameMaker, also get rid of the "two spaces" unless you muck with the defaults.

A convention is just that. Conventions change. Gone today are the mid dots and virgules of the days of yore ... It's amazing the things we cling to learned in our adolescence.


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Susan G Offline OP
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Thanks, everyone. You are wonderful. I did come to the right group for help. Susan

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I was told a few years ago at a seminar that our habit of double spacing after a sentence was a carry-over from the manuscript/codex days, which, in my experience, is exactly the opposite of the truth. Not only were these ancient texts not double-spaced between sentences, they used NO spaces (and often no punctuation) between sentences. So this may simply be an evolving convention with no rational source, driven by the same fewer-keystrokes-is-better mentality as "Im 1 and ur 1 2" [period intentionally missing]


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