Re: Period, space: 1 or 2?

Subject: Re: Period, space: 1 or 2?
From: Brad Connatser <cwrites -at- USIT -dot- NET>
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 1996 12:25:12 GMT

In article <EDE4B4D83 -at- pmail -dot- accentsoft -dot- com>, Bruce Brill
<Bruceb -at- accentsoft -dot- com> wrote:

> In light of the above, I submit that the one-two space question is not
> a question at all, but an answer. The use of one or two (or three or
> more) spaces after a period can be a tool to indicate how closely the
> following sentence is related to the one before.

> This same logic can be applied to the paragraph: What's holy about
> skipping precisely one line?

> Think about it: There is so little p'zaz in technical writing.
> Here's one tiny way that a little subjective creativity can be snuck
> in without compromising clarity, but, in fact, enhancing it. (It'll
> also put an end to the one-two space debate!)

The nuance of such a mechanical whimsy would waft over the reader's head.
It would be tantamount to impressionist writing: only the writer knows
what one and two spaces mean. It may simply be construed by the reader as
inconsistency. Besides, there are concerns beyond aesthetics to address in
a "one-two space debate." Here are just two:

1) Using two spaces after the period causes white rivers, which distract
the reader.

2) Using one space after the period may create an ambiguity in sentences
ending with abreviations such as U.S.

I believe that this is a real issue that should be seriously considered
from all points of view: typography, layout design, technical
communication, cognitive psychology, linguistics. Would be a nice group
project ;>)


Brad Connatser
Concurrent Communications
cwrites -at- usit -dot- net

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