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Subject:Re: Spacing after a period... From:Phillip Winn <pwinn -at- S7 -dot- COM> Date:Wed, 2 Jul 1997 08:49:25 -0500
>> Which is correct? One space after a period or two spaces after a period
>> before starting the next sentence.
>> Since I've been exposed to DTP, I've been using a single space. I've
>> recently come in contact with writers that still use two spaces.
>> What are the rules if there are any? Does it depend on proportional vs.
>> non-proportional fonts?
>I think you will find that this is the old way of typing, it was two spaces
>after a period and one after a comma.
>But hardly anyone does this anymore.
Umm, perhaps I'm being obtuse, but I don't believe the questions was "What
do people do?" or "Why?" but rather "Which is correct?" It is quite common
for authors using DTP to use only one space to differentiate sentences, but
in doing so, these authors lose sight of why two spaces were used to begin
with. In the early days of word-wrapping word processors, most programs
were not equipped to deal with multiple spaces to delineate sentences. The
first space would cause wrapped line, and then the second space would end
up looking like an indent. Hardly the effect people wanted to achieve.
It is still quite correct and proper to use two space, and I don't just say
that because I want to live in the past. I'm 25, so I'm not an
old-fashioned person normally. Look at my first sentence. It ends with a
quotation mark. The two spaces following that mark make it clear that I am
beginning a new sentence, a fact that might not otherwise have been
perfectly clear. Even in cases of unambiguous punctuation, two space
provide space that seems to relax the eyes of the reader. With only one
space, the sentences tend to run together.
Try this experiment: Write a page both ways. Hold them each at arms length
at take a look at them. Which looks more comfortable to read? Take a look
at any recent bestseller. I guarantee you that they are not still using
manual printing presses, but book publishers still generally (with
exceptions) use two spaces. Actually, book publishers tend to use about
1.5 spaces, but we can't all do that. All of the rules in the world don't
mean a thing if you don't like the results, but I definitely vote for
keeping the useful and helpful tradition alive.