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#39503 - 08/25/01 01:16 PM typing and double spaces
Marianna Offline

Registered: 01/09/01
Posts: 427
Loc: Spain
A British friend of mine consistently uses a double space after each period whenever she types a text, and says she was taught that way, and that is the correct way to type. I was taught typing in high school in Spain, and have never heard of using a double space after a period. In fact, to me it looks funny, like the text is full of holes. Most of the typed text I have encountered here in Britain looks normal to me, i.e. has only one space after each period, so I don't think it can be a cultural thing. So I wonder why my friend was taught like that, and whether there is a right and a wrong way of punctuating after a period or it is just a matter of style? What do you all think?

#39504 - 08/25/01 01:53 PM Re: typing and double spaces
Jazzoctopus Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/03/00
Posts: 1094
Loc: Cincinnati & Loveland, Ohio, U...
I had always been taught that you should put two spaces between sentences. I'm not really sure why. I guess it is supposed to separate them more. It's a simple force of habit now to put two spaces after a period and I was surprised to find out, once I started making webpages, that even if you type to spaces, HTML will only render one.

I was also rather annoyed for a while because Lotus Word Pro, the word processing software I was using, had in it's grammar rules that only one space should go between sentences. I turned that rule off.

So, in answer to your question about whether it's a cultural thing, I don't know.

#39505 - 08/25/01 03:07 PM Re: typing and double spaces
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
I think that the double space after a sentence helps you notice the end of the sentence, which I find helpful. Too many words too closely packed can be anaesthetising.

#39506 - 08/25/01 03:42 PM Re: typing and double spaces
wordcrazy Offline

Registered: 01/26/01
Posts: 275
It has always been two spaces after both a period or a colon during my days of term papers, book reports and thesis writing. And it will always be. Old habits, you know.

#39507 - 08/25/01 03:46 PM Re: typing and double spaces
maverick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/15/00
Posts: 4757
Yes, a double space after a point/period/fullstop was the tradition taught by the (UK) RSA in all typing qualifications they provided and oversaw. Like Jazzo, having been used to this visual clue as to separation of sentences, I hated the auto feature of WP packages that tried to insist on single spacing, and still reject that layout. It is particularly annoying with justified or force-justified text, since the rather arbitrary word spacing can leave the eye skipping to the end of a sentence without visual warning of the end point approaching - I sometimes find this causes me to re-read sentences, because I had started to wrongly model the emphasis or stress patterns as a result, and thus got a distorted meaning. So here, after 'meaning', there is still the double space I was originally taught (whatever the HTML code does with it): not because I automatically cling to that, but because I believe it is functionally useful.

#39508 - 08/25/01 05:42 PM Re: typing and double spaces
Keiva Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/04/01
Posts: 2605
I, who grew up in the USA, have always used the double space as above -- at least since typing class in 7th grade. My e-mail system's spell-checker flags this as an error, which drives me crazy.

#39509 - 08/25/01 06:24 PM Re: typing and double spaces
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10538
Loc: this too shall pass
the key word here is "typing". as maverick correctly points out, the added space is used to increase readability when using monospaced typewriter fonts. when using a proportional font, the extra space is not used. this reminds me of the English professor who insisted that papers be typewritten, not printed with proportional fonts, because, he said, the typewritten pages were easier to read. that would have come as a shock to a great many experts on type-setting.

#39510 - 08/25/01 08:32 PM Re: typing and double spaces
francais31415 Offline

Registered: 01/15/01
Posts: 157
When I was first learning to type (on a computer, not a typewriter), I was taught to put two spaces after a sentence. I was later told that this was not necessary, so I stopped.

Perhaps the double space is an older style being phased out as computers become more common and typewriters are used less. With many fonts used today, two spaces don't look that different from one space. This could be an example of a written language evolving.

#39511 - 08/27/01 03:20 AM Re: typing and double spaces
doc_comfort Offline

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 618
Loc: Australia
I always assumed that it was a typewriter vs computer thing. I imagine early software designers just assumed that users would put two spaces as they had always done, and hence left the the full stop / period centered in the printing space as it always was. Has moving the full stop leftward (as appears to have happened at some stage) negated the need for the double space?

#39512 - 08/27/01 08:42 AM Re: typing and double spaces
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
I have used the double space after sentence end, also. You can force it in HTML by using    instead of hitting the space bar twice.

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