tedious, drawn-out discussions

Subject: tedious, drawn-out discussions
From: Bruce Brill <Bruceb -at- ACCENTSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1996 15:27:02 +0200

Ruth T. Glaser
ruthg -at- goretek -dot- com
on 24 Sept. 96 signed off:
"A degreed writer with experience who doesn't give a damn about your
obsession with degrees, split infinitives, ending prepositions, web
capitalization, music degrees, commas in a series, periods after whole
numbers, foul language, and other tedious, drawn-out discussions with
no real relevance to the art and profession of technical writing (at
least after the umpteenth post on the subject.)"

Hi Ruth,
Can I assume from your signature's not mentioning the 'period-space'
topic that my posting [included, following] actually DID end it as an
issue?! Thanks. Bruce [Brill]


I'd like to propose a solution to the "period, space: 1 or 2"

The basic function of the period is to indicate the end of one
sentence and the beginning of another. Sentences are units which
contain "a thought" (Please, let's refrain from opening a debate on
this philosophical problem). Likewise, paragraphs are units of a
'grander' trend of thought. These are separated by skipping a line or
indentation. Sections, chapters, volumes are continuations of this
scale of thought lumping.

We all know that there are problems associated with where to separate
these thought units. Yet, there is another, more subtle problem: How
much is one unit distinct from its neighbor that comes before or

Some sentences may be more closely related to their neighbors than
others. Some are very tightly associated; in this case we often
forego the period altogether in deference to a semicolon.

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:
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!)

Bruce [Brill]

bruceb -at- accentsoft -dot- com

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