Sunday, February 13, 2011

One space...period

I hate being wrong.  I don't suppose anyone likes it, but I really hate it.  Unfortunately, I'm wrong alot.  Sometimes it's doing simple arithmetic wrong in from of alot of people.  Or looking forward to a movie that turns out to be a dud.  Or arguing with my dad about an official's call and the replay shows he's right.  But I recently discovered that I've been wrong about something my entire life.  And doing it wrong is a hard habit to break.

To see what it is, check out this link to .

That's right.  Apparently, when I type, I'm supposed to leave one space after a period, not two.  Ok, I guess.  I'm going to try to start doing

The article makes a compelling case that it has always been that way. It (I did it - proud of me?) gives a reason why the two space rule was taught for a while about the time I was in school.  And the...(trying again). And the reason it no longer applies.

Yes, being wrong your whole life stinks, and I'm really annoyed.

This is something I do without thinking. Period, space, space. Period, space, space. It's not easy to change; I'm even having to go back and delete spaces after typing a whole document. But I'm determined to change. Right is right.

And wrong.  Is.  Wrong.


  1. How did I never get the memo on this either? 8 years of higher education wasted. And I've used two spaces after every one of those sentences ... and I'm NOT going back to change it ... so THERE!

    Just glad that I know this now so I won't insist I'm right when someone corrects me. That's what messes me up. I have no problem being obstinately in error, so long as I know about it!


  2. This is one of those situations where one person decided to change a standard set by another group of people. Here's where the two space standard comes from: touch typing instruction on manual, and later electric typewriters. When I was in the fourth grade, my father sat me down at the dining room table with his old manual Olympic typewriter and a copy of "Touch Typing," by...(I have looked and looked for reprints of this book, but there are many from the 1920's, 1940's and and 1970's that all bear some variation in the title on "Touch Typing"). That book clearly stated that the correct way to do things was two spaces after a period, two spaces after a colon, two spaces after a semi-colon, and one space after a comma.

    Again in high school I was instructed in this way by the typing teacher/tennis coach at Jeff Davis High School in Montgomery, Alabama (I can see her face, but can't remember her name for anything): same song, second verse--two spaces after a period, two spaces after a colon, two spaces after a semi-colon, and one space after a comma.

    So when I read that all of us who have been typing for decades before this 30-something, Johnny-come-lately quoting a style manual for typography published in 2003 says we've been doing it wrong all along, pardon me if I attribute this to the arrogance of youth, and persist in my "error" and continue to type as instructed by my excellent teachers.

    Having said that, you may notice that each period in this little missive has only one space after it. Inconsistent, you say? Perhaps. One of the many reasons that the rules of typography have changed is that typing on a computer is not the same as typing on a typewriter--when I hit the period on a computer screen, it shows up just as darkly if I barely touch the key as it would if I pounded the key with a hammer. Not so on a typewriter, where if you didn't hit the key hard enough you might get the merest suggestion of a period, and an extra space was a way to indicate that you did, indeed, indicate a full stop. The extra space provided extra emphasis of the full stop, impending announcement, or hard pause indicated (respectively) by period, colon, or semi-colon.

    So, as far as I'm concerned, Donni, you can continue to leave your space space after the period, and feel justified in doing so. Because you have not been doing it wrong all this time, but have rather continued to do it right as the world changed around you. We call this "traditional" where I come from. :-)

  3. So what you're telling me is that my mainstream published book is wrong (two spaces) and all of my tweets (one space to minimize characters) is right? Crazy!

  4. I never even knew you were putting two spaces. I've always just put one, love being right! Haha :)