Quick hits via Twitter

Friday, March 17, 2006

Too... many... spaces...

In school, I was always taught to leave two spaces after the end of every sentence. The reason for this was that the original typewriters had only monospaced fonts; people needed the extra space for a visual cue that a sentence had ended.

Well, hardly anyone uses typewriters anymore. Computers use proportionally spaced fonts and, as a result, writers now only need to use a single space after a mark of punctuation.

A fellow copyeditor retrained me in this, explaining the reasoning to me and convincing me to stop hitting the spacebar that extra time. It was a bit jarring at first; it wasn't what I'd been taught. But after about a day, I got used to it.

For some reason, though, many people have never been taught to stop adding those extra spaces. Almost always, when I'm asked to edit a document, one of my first steps is run a search and replace, converting all double spaces into single ones. It's not a huge deal, but it's a pain. Someone needs to get out there and communicate to people that that extra space has gone the way of the dodo, disco, and "Dingoes Ate My Baby."

So there.

4 comments:

Spork Boy said...

It was a bit jarring at first; it wasn't what I'd been taught. But after about a day, I got used to it.

I got used to it as well, but it wasn't easy for me. Fortunately, I had a certain editor friend of mine who lovingly and patiently encouraged me to make the change with expressions like, "Of course it's different but it only took me a day to learn it."

Thanks, Rob.

Rob Rogers said...

Spork Boy said...

I got used to it as well, but it wasn't easy for me. Fortunately, I had a certain editor friend of mine who lovingly and patiently encouraged me to make the change with expressions like, "Of course it's different but it only took me a day to learn it."

Gosh, that editor friend sounds like a smug S.O.B. :)

Spork Boy said...

Smug? Sure, we can use that word.

Double Space Bandit said...

So it's true. We've given up one of the spaces. I held to that tradition steadfastly (is that a word?) and now BAM!, it changes.

Forget that! I will not go quietly into that dark night! Viva la revolucion!

Long live the double spaces!!!!