Ragged Right

Subject: Ragged Right
From: "Virginia L. Krenn" <asdxvlk -at- OKWAY -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU>
Date: Wed, 7 Feb 1996 09:59:15 -0600

Copied below is an exchange from a newsgroup in which I participate. I
would like to receive comments from the people on this list about the
last paragraph concerning ragged right. Of course, I would also welcome
comments on the other ideas expressed in this exchange.

>>>> BTW, no one uses double spacings anymore. One of the little things
>>>> I learned in writer's school.
>>> Just because you learned it doesn't make it true. I use double
>>> spacing at the end of a sentence.
>> When using proportionally-spaced fonts, you don't double space
>> between sentences. This is a typography rule that has existed for
>> a few centuries. When using mono-spaced fonts, as with a
>> typewriter, or for most telecommunications applications, then you
>> double-space between sentences. This has been a rule almost since
>> the typewriter was invented.
> Research has shown that the use of more than one space after
> punctuation marks causes what is known to writers as 'rivers'. They
> drag the reader's eyes down the page vertically and make it more
> difficult to read horizontal text. Additionally, the use of right
> justification causes extra spaces to be inserted between words. For
> the same reason as stated above, ragged right is preferred.
That is true of mono-spaced type. Modern word processers on GUI
systems such as the Macintosh and MS Windows avoid that problem by
spacing between letters. Pick up virtually any novel, short-story
collection, or magazine and you'll find that the pages are right and
left justified.

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