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Quentin Nokov
07-13-2008, 01:11 AM
I've noticed this in some works and my sister yesterday was like "Did you know you're suppose to double-space after punctuation?" I never do this and neither does my sister. But when submitting it to a publisher should there be two spaces? I know lines are double-spaced. But for punctuation is it an absolute must?

Perle_Rare
07-13-2008, 01:21 AM
Two spaces before a new sentence was the norm in typewritten documents. Now that we use computers, it's not so important or even required. I think the two-spaces idea is going the way of the dodo...

Different publishers have different norms so don't sweat it. Punctuation is always easy to fix after the fact. Search and replace is your friend.

ETA: Since I learned to type on a typewriter, you'll notice I always do use two spaces after a period. Old habits die hard...

darrtwish
07-13-2008, 01:44 AM
I don't believe it is the standard anymore, nor required. It was the norm for typewriters (as Perle_Rage mentioned) but no longer is, as far as I know.

MoonWriter
07-13-2008, 01:47 AM
Say it ain't true, Perle. Using a single space between punctuation marks is, to me, is like kissing a woman on only one cheek. Why leave one out?

Quentin Nokov
07-13-2008, 01:53 AM
Lol. Alright, I was dreading thinking about how I was probably going to have to go through all 60+ chapters and do the double-spacing. Thank you very much for that input; hopefully I'll be good unless my publishers want double-spaced. ;D

Medievalist
07-13-2008, 02:04 AM
Single space.

Shady Lane
07-13-2008, 02:08 AM
Some people do it, some people don't, and from my experience no one really cares much either way.

Use Her Name
07-13-2008, 02:09 AM
Even 10 years ago, single space after a period was standard.

wombat
07-13-2008, 02:44 AM
I was taught to do this. Now I'm told, single space. Very hard habit to break!

Georganna Hancock
07-13-2008, 02:59 AM
I wrote a pretty much comprehensive blog post about this back in May:

http://www.writers-edge.info/2008/05/writing-editing-spacing.htm

but the short and long of it is what everybody else said. Computers have obviated the necessity for two spaces between sentences. And many web software packages automatically convert to one space for those of us who are too old to learn a new trick.

dpaterso
07-13-2008, 03:18 AM
I will type 2 spaces after periods till the day I die. Nothing shall blunt my resolve in this matter. Not even message boards whose software insolently and without my permission changes my 2 spaces to 1 space.

-Derek

Medievalist
07-13-2008, 03:30 AM
I will type 2 spaces after periods till the day I die. Nothing shall blunt my resolve in this matter. Not even message boards whose software insolently and without my permission changes my 2 spaces to 1 space.

-Derek

The software doesn't change the spaces -- Web browsers ignore spaces; you can type twenty, and HTML will treat the twenty as one, unless you use the non-breaking space entity.

Scribhneoir
07-13-2008, 04:59 AM
I will type 2 spaces after periods till the day I die. Nothing shall blunt my resolve in this matter.

I'm with you. I see no reason to squish my sentences together just because computers and typewriters are different beasts. And I've got my software set to ensure two spaces between sentences, not one. So there! ;)

AncientEagle
07-13-2008, 06:32 AM
I learned to type on manual Underwood and Royal typewriters a long, long time ago. I only heard that two spaces was passe' about two years ago. I tried the switch and found it amazingly easy to pick up the new habit. Saves my thumb 50% of the strikes I'd been making. But to each his or her own.

ejket
07-13-2008, 06:58 AM
I use two spaces between sentences because I find it easier to read.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_spacing#Readability

JenniferDZ
07-13-2008, 07:06 AM
I'm having a hard time dropping the habit of two spaces, along with a lot of others. However, one of my editors, at a holiday writer's breakfast, asked for "only one space after periods" for Christmas from all his freelancers! I'm trying really hard!

Jennifer

ejket
07-13-2008, 07:13 AM
I'm having a hard time dropping the habit of two spaces, along with a lot of others. However, one of my editors, at a holiday writer's breakfast, asked for "only one space after periods" for Christmas from all his freelancers! I'm trying really hard!
Odd that they'd fuss over that, since it's a simple search-and-replace to change it. But there's your solution, too... just write the way you're used to and do a search-and-replace before you submit.

JenniferDZ
07-13-2008, 08:28 AM
I guess they want the writers to do that find and replace so they don't have to! I consider it a value-added service. :-)

Jen

StarCats
07-13-2008, 11:21 AM
Find/search and replace doesn't make you approve each individual sentace (as I understand that wordprossessing trick), so I don't really see a problem with still using two spaces when it can be 'fixed' easily.

Personally, I prefer two spaces after a period (one more reason to hate my computer LOL).

WordlyVision
07-13-2008, 11:34 AM
I submitted a rough draft of an expository essay (MLA style) to my English instructor for a quick review as was asked of me, and among a couple other comments she made, she also recommended that I double-space when I use a colon -- nowhere else... just when I use a colon.

She noted it was old practice, but I followed it anyway, mostly because I find that I can go between the two methods without a lot of difficulty.

dpaterso
07-13-2008, 12:50 PM
The software doesn't change the spaces -- Web browsers ignore spaces; you can type twenty, and HTML will treat the twenty as one, unless you use the non-breaking space entity.
Thanks! You've made my rant much less satisfying.

Heh, when I update my excuse for a blog, I search/replace 2 spaces with    Obsessional Virgo.

-Derek

geardrops
07-13-2008, 01:29 PM
In school, some ten years ago, I was taught two spaces. I continue to do it from habit. One space just looks wrong, like I should be staring at a comma and not a full stop.

Nobody will be such an anal-retentive ass that they will reject magnificent writing because you do a different spacing quantity than what they require. And if they do, frankly, they can blow me :)

JJ Cooper
07-13-2008, 01:39 PM
Don't worry so much about the older folk here. It's single space.

JJ

gypsyscarlett
07-13-2008, 03:18 PM
I'm with you. I see no reason to squish my sentences together just because computers and typewriters are different beasts. And I've got my software set to ensure two spaces between sentences, not one. So there! ;)

Uh- yeah. Me, too. This is the first time I've even heard the rule had changed. Where have I been? I was taught in school that a comma was one space because it meant a short pause. Two spaces for a period because it meant a longer pause. Why change the format after it's been standard for eons??

Enraptured
07-13-2008, 04:05 PM
I had never even heard of this rule until a couple of years ago. I always use one space after periods. Manuscripts typed with two spaces after punctuation look strange to me.

I'm pretty sure both methods are acceptable.

seun
07-13-2008, 04:39 PM
Never done it. To me, it's up there with writing to-day and to-morrow. It just looks old fashioned and slightly naff.

Bufty
07-13-2008, 04:43 PM
My wife was also taught one space after a comma, two after a semi-colon or colon, and three after a full stop.

But that was fifty years ago, when there were such animals as shorthand typists and any aspiring secretary had to learn typing and shorthand - Pitmans or otherwise!

Nowadays, I doubt many young lassies learn shorthand! Does anyone?

"Take a letter, Miss Smith." Is that phrase obselete?

:Shrug:

dpaterso
07-13-2008, 04:45 PM
For more than a century, before the age of PCs and laser printers and photocopiers, 1 space after the comma and 2 spaces after a period became a necessary standard for clarity's sake -- if typewriter ribbons dried up, or carbon copies or manual copying machine output became blurred or faded, readers could still tell a comma from a period by the number of spaces following.

Tell me you all knew that.

-Derek

Bufty
07-13-2008, 04:46 PM
I didn't know that. Thank you so much, Derek, for making my day!:hooray:

dpaterso
07-13-2008, 04:55 PM
:ROFL:

Your wife's taught spacing seems odd to me. 1 space after semicolon and 2 spaces after colon (just like comma and period) was used here since the Sixties, I think (when my sister took a secretarial course at James Watt College).

-Derek

babybear
07-13-2008, 05:05 PM
As a magazine editor, I spent 15 years double-spacing, but managed to make the switch to the single shot a few years ago. It's all about the computer.

JJ - Even old folks can change (what constitutes old, anyway?).

Don't worry so much about the older folk here. It's single space.

JJ

JJ Cooper
07-13-2008, 05:22 PM
You got it right with the single spacing, babybear.

The 'older folk' comment - reserved for those who refuse to change. ;):tongue:D

JJ

babybear
07-13-2008, 05:40 PM
What is life without change, anyway.

Thanks, JJ

Fern
07-13-2008, 07:44 PM
I was also taught 2 spaces after a period and continue to do that anytime I'm typing, unless guidelines say differently. I've submitted to several publications that specifically tell you in the guidelines to do one space.

MoonWriter
07-13-2008, 08:00 PM
Some things I can change and others I can't. Like today at breakfast, I used my right hand to shake the Tobasco bottle over my scrambled eggs - and I'm left handed!

But to use only one space after a period ... no new tricks, please.

Alpha Echo
07-13-2008, 08:09 PM
Growing up in school, we were taught when we were taught how to type to place the two spaces after the puncutation, so I always have. Though I have heard that it's no longer necessary, I can't get myself to NOT put those two spaces in there. I'd assume, however, that as long as you're consistant, either one space or two will be acceptable.

Chrisla
07-14-2008, 03:12 AM
You got it right with the single spacing, babybear.

The 'older folk' comment - reserved for those who refuse to change. ;):tongue:D

JJ

And I thought I was older than dirt! I'm one of those pitman-shorthand secretaries who learned two spaces after a period -- back in the days of manual typewriters and carbon paper. (In fact, the military used to make you do the whole thing over if the two spaces were not there. Not easy with said manual, carbon paper, and the little round typewriter eraser.)

That said, all my "scholarly" writing books tell me one space, so I've converted. Today I find I'm not one of those "older folk" after all!

Thank you, J.J.

JJ Cooper
07-14-2008, 03:50 AM
You're welcome, Chrisla.

Now where's Derek?

JJ

Alpha Echo
07-14-2008, 03:55 AM
My wife was also taught one space after a comma, two after a semi-colon or colon, and three after a full stop.

But that was fifty years ago, when there were such animals as shorthand typists and any aspiring secretary had to learn typing and shorthand - Pitmans or otherwise!

Nowadays, I doubt many young lassies learn shorthand! Does anyone?

"Take a letter, Miss Smith." Is that phrase obselete?

:Shrug:

:ROFL:

Your wife's taught spacing seems odd to me. 1 space after semicolon and 2 spaces after colon (just like comma and period) was used here since the Sixties, I think (when my sister took a secretarial course at James Watt College).

-Derek

Geez. I didn't know there were so many rules! I was just taught the two spaces after a period, one space anywhere else. I guess, if it says differently in the guidelines, then do whatever it says. Otherwise, stick with whatever you're doing?

Some things I can change and others I can't. Like today at breakfast, I used my right hand to shake the Tobasco bottle over my scrambled eggs - and I'm left handed!

But to use only one space after a period ... no new tricks, please.


:ROFL:

Medievalist
07-14-2008, 04:08 AM
Here's the thing--we're dealing with two separate issues.

Issue One: Typewriter type vs. "lead type," and computer type.

Issue Two: British vs. U.S. conventions re: typography and punctuation

RE: type. Typewriters of the older sort had the same space allocated to every character--whether "Pica" or "Elite." All character's were the same width--included the period. So you needed to add an extra space after the period for "sentence" spacing.

Computer fonts are of two sorts--proportionately spaced--like Times New Roman, and non-proportionately spaced, but in general, the "extra space" is already included with the period.

Issue two -- British conventions are different from those of the U.S. Doesn't really matter unless the publisher cares, as always, the main thing is to be consistent.

Soccer Mom
07-14-2008, 05:15 AM
Doesn't really matter unless the publisher cares, as always, the main thing is to be consistent.

Quoted for truth. This is one of those things writers find to torment themselves with. Check the publisher's guidelines. Unless they say something specific about it, either way is acceptable.

CaroGirl
07-14-2008, 05:35 PM
The nice thing about this issue, and most issues of this kind, is that it's easy to fix with a simple find/replace.

That said, I hate double spaces anywhere in a ms. Single space, please. As was said earlier, some recent software won't allow double spacing, like FrameMaker. FrameMaker is my friend.

Bufty
07-14-2008, 05:55 PM
Completely off-topic, I know, but...back in 1954...

I saw my then Manager receive a two-page letter from his long-term secretary beautifully typed. He read it, then tut-tutted as in red ink he circled a comma after 'Yours Sincerely' tore the letter in half and had her type the whole thing again!

The secretary was older than he, but outside his door she just smiled at me and shrugged as she headed off to dutifully retype it.

I'm all for care and attention to detail, but at the time I couldn't believe the intolerance of the man.

And I thought I was older than dirt! I'm one of those pitman-shorthand secretaries who learned two spaces after a period -- back in the days of manual typewriters and carbon paper. (In fact, the military used to make you do the whole thing over if the two spaces were not there. Not easy with said manual, carbon paper, and the little round typewriter eraser.)

That said, all my "scholarly" writing books tell me one space, so I've converted. Today I find I'm not one of those "older folk" after all!

Thank you, J.J.

Jill
07-14-2008, 06:00 PM
I'm an oldie of the old school - taught to double space but I've managed to unlearn it along with lots of other outmoded things (like full stops after Mr, Mrs etc...)
It's easy to form a new habit if you let yourself.

Shenlon
07-14-2008, 06:02 PM
Double-spacers unite!

Both of my grandfathers are retired printers, and my father worked with his father in the print shop for many years. He's a stickler for proper typography. He'd never let me get away with only one space after a period. I guess I'll be a stickler for it until I die, too. I feel proud to carry on the tradition!

Jill
07-14-2008, 07:43 PM
BTW I have to put my hand up to being Pitman trained (Southampton Row, London) long, long ago!

C.M.C.
07-14-2008, 08:03 PM
In theory, the end of a sentence is supposed to be the end of a thought. A double space after the period denotes this fact, while a single space can be confused with being a continuation of the previous thought, which may or may not be true. I vote for two spaces.

drachin8
07-14-2008, 08:37 PM
I broke my double-spacing habit this past year. Does that mean I'm a sell-out?


:D

-Michelle

Jill
07-14-2008, 08:44 PM
[quote=drachin8;2550207]I broke my double-spacing habit this past year. Does that mean I'm a sell-out?/quote]

If you are, I'm one too. Does that mean that we're double sell-outs?

CaroGirl
07-14-2008, 08:50 PM
In theory, the end of a sentence is supposed to be the end of a thought. A double space after the period denotes this fact, while a single space can be confused with being a continuation of the previous thought, which may or may not be true. I vote for two spaces.
Eh? I don't get your reasoning. A period means the same thing no matter how many spaces come after it.

dpaterso
07-14-2008, 08:58 PM
...along with lots of other outmoded things (like full stops after Mr, Mrs etc...)
Whoa there! That's fightin' talk! :) I will include periods after Mr. and Mrs. till the day I die!

-Derek

JenniferDZ
07-14-2008, 09:38 PM
I think it's very funny how such a very small item can provoke such strong emotions in people. I personally don't care when I'm reading whether it's one or two spaces. Both look "right" to me. I've been trying to break my double space habit in typing, and it's been pretty easy for my writing work. However, I'm also a transcriptionist, and for some reason it's harder to break it when I'm doing transcription. I wonder if, when I'm writing, my mind is engaged and that is another thing I concentrate on. When I'm transcribing, it's more mindless typing what I hear, so the habit kicks in harder?

Jennifer

Danalynn
07-15-2008, 06:45 AM
I vote DOUBLE SPACE, too! It just looks wrong with a single space between sentences. It looks too squished together.

:Wha:

That being said, I agree that consistency is the key with either argument.

:e2seesaw:

Jill
07-15-2008, 01:04 PM
Whoa there! That's fightin' talk! :) I will include periods after Mr. and Mrs. till the day I die!Derek

In the end you have to go along with what your editor wants. Therefore I try to keep up with modern publishing guidelines.

gypsyscarlett
07-15-2008, 03:05 PM
In the end you have to go along with what your editor wants. Therefore I try to keep up with modern publishing guidelines.

Well, I'm sticking with my double spacing. It looks much neater to me. No one will be able to convince me that single spaced sentences don't look squished.

However, I do agree with your statement. If an agent I land asks me to single space in revisions- of course I would. I might be stubborn- but I'm not stupid. ;)

And I definitely agree with the others here who said not to sweat it either way. Gawd knows we all have enough things already to worry about when it comes to our work!

Bufty
07-15-2008, 03:59 PM
I can't find any recent books or magazines or newspapers with routine double-spacing after a period. :Shrug:

Or I can't spot it. :flag:

JJ Cooper
07-15-2008, 04:10 PM
Don't get suckered into Mr Paterson's ways, Bufty. You know change is for the best, mate. Single space is what they want and what we shall deliver. Don't fall for Mr Paterson's trickery.

JJ

Robert Farley
07-15-2008, 04:46 PM
I'll sway in for the single space. No need for double spaces like in the days of typewriters.

In a big document, you can save a couple of nanoseconds of processing time if all those extra spaces are not present, not to mention the extra bytes that you'll give yourself. (In the days of the Sinclair computer, with it's 8K hard drive capability, that would have been a big deal.)

As an editor who uses and writes macros, I've had to write an extra line of code to remove all double (and I've got a couple of codgers who use triple spaces from time to presbyopic time) spaces, because the programs are written with one space in mind and two bugger up the process. Lucky for me it's easy to change a program.

And lucky for all of us that we don't live in the time of lead type or else we'd have to carry around pieces of metal to stick between periods and following letters. I suppose the analogy would be like having to insert a graphic element in a document wherever we wanted the extra space.

Robert<><>

MoonWriter
07-15-2008, 08:02 PM
Don't get suckered into Mr Paterson's ways, Bufty. You know change is for the best, mate. Single space is what they want and what we shall deliver. Don't fall for Mr Paterson's trickery.

JJ

Such blasphemy! We all know that change is not always for the best. We're all getting older ... is that for the best? Just yesterday I pulled a muscle in my back. What was I doing? Trying to sit down! I pulled a muscle freakin' trying to sit down. So, I say NO, change is not always for the best. More proof is needed, you say? How many of us now have to watch what we eat if we don't want to watch it pop up on various parts of our bodies. I've done manual labor for many years building up my landscape business. Before, I'd eat 2-3 sandwiches before dinner, just to tame my appetite. Now, I can't even eat thirds at dinner. And you say change is good. Shame on you, JJ. Try going to your favorite pub and ordering your favorite beer. Poof! Your pub is gone - to put up a parking lot. Is change good? I didn't think so - now start double spacing my friend. :)

dpaterso
07-15-2008, 11:18 PM
Gotta remember, JJ's from a magical land where everything's upside down. This needs to be taken into account when considering any advice he offers.

-Derek

alleycat
07-15-2008, 11:22 PM
I can't find any recent books or magazines or newspapers with routine double-spacing after a period. :Shrug:

Or I can't spot it. :flag:
I don't think it was ever used for typeset publications. I think this (eternal) discussion is just about manuscript formatting.

ejket
07-16-2008, 02:07 AM
I don't think it was ever used for typeset publications. I think this (eternal) discussion is just about manuscript formatting.
Yes. Even when I write .html and .tex files, I like the extra space between sentences. It's just one of those things, like a reasonably narrow text column and adequate vertical white space, that makes the text easier to read.

So from my perspective, spacing after a sentence has nothing to do with typography or the difference between computers and typewriters; I don't even understand those arguments. Word processors suck at kerning anyway, and will mostly rely on you to tell them what to do, no matter how ugly it turns out.

But, like so many issues in life, it doesn't matter what your opinion is as long as you have one :)

Medievalist
07-16-2008, 08:32 AM
Double-spacers unite!

Both of my grandfathers are retired printers, and my father worked with his father in the print shop for many years. He's a stickler for proper typography. He'd never let me get away with only one space after a period. I guess I'll be a stickler for it until I die, too. I feel proud to carry on the tradition!

If you were setting cold type though, you'd use what's called a spacer after the period, one that essentially was based on the specific text of the line in question, since you kerned by hand then.

Sayeth she who hath set muchel cold type.

Single space for proportionately spaced fonts; it's The One True Way :D

Medievalist
07-16-2008, 08:34 AM
Yes. Even when I write .html and .tex files, I like the extra space between sentences. It's just one of those things, like a reasonably narrow text column and adequate vertical white space, that makes the text easier to read.

You can use all the spaces you want in HTML, but unless you're using the non-breaking space entity, or the pre tag, only one is recognized by the browser.

ejket
07-16-2008, 12:49 PM
You can use all the spaces you want in HTML, but unless you're using the non-breaking space entity, or the pre tag, only one is recognized by the browser.
Yes, but I mean that the source file is easier for me to read.

Shadow_Ferret
07-16-2008, 09:09 PM
Uh- yeah. Me, too. This is the first time I've even heard the rule had changed. Where have I been? I was taught in school that a comma was one space because it meant a short pause. Two spaces for a period because it meant a longer pause. Why change the format after it's been standard for eons??
Doublespacing became unnecessary as we moved into the computer age. Typewriters used monospacing and it was believed two spaces after a period were necessary for the eye to track when a new sentence began.

Computer software uses proportional spacing, so the program automatically puts in the correct amount of space between letters, words, and sentences, making it redundant to keep putting in two spaces.

My god, people, I typed on a typewriter for 20+ years and getting rid of that tired habit of double-spacing after a period was the easiest thing I ever did. Why put all that extra, superfluous and unnecessary mileage on your thumbs?

MoonWriter
07-16-2008, 09:24 PM
Is it just me or did anyone else notice that Shadow Ferret was so embarrassed to admit that he single spaces that he went incognito?

Shadow_Ferret
07-16-2008, 09:28 PM
It's just you.

I'm not incongnito. I'm in sunglasses.

MoonWriter
07-16-2008, 09:33 PM
Ah! That must be why you can't see the light! :)

Shadow_Ferret
07-16-2008, 09:44 PM
Actually, I did see the light. As you stated above, we're getting older, pulling muscles doing routine things.

Sorry, but the last thing I need these days is to be laid up with my thumb in a sling because I sprained it doing a superfluous extra space.

MoonWriter
07-16-2008, 10:11 PM
Okay, now you've got me thinking!

aka eraser
07-16-2008, 10:34 PM
Triple spacing.

Yep.

That's the way to go.




<strolls away, hands in pockets, whistling innocently>

Cybernaught
07-16-2008, 10:55 PM
I learned to double-space between periods. Never really did it for commas. I may do it for semi colons, but I so rarely use them that I don't quite remember. I don't think a publisher will fault you either way, but if you want to save on paper in the long-run, might as well single space it.

gypsyscarlett
07-17-2008, 02:48 AM
Doublespacing became unnecessary as we moved into the computer age. Typewriters used monospacing and it was believed two spaces after a period were necessary for the eye to track when a new sentence began.

Computer software uses proportional spacing, so the program automatically puts in the correct amount of space between letters, words, and sentences, making it redundant to keep putting in two spaces.

My god, people, I typed on a typewriter for 20+ years and getting rid of that tired habit of double-spacing after a period was the easiest thing I ever did. Why put all that extra, superfluous and unnecessary mileage on your thumbs?

My strong and hardy thumbs can handle it. :tongue

Heh... I doubt the OP had any idea their innocent little question would spark such debate.

ejket
07-17-2008, 04:08 AM
Computer software uses proportional spacing, so the program automatically puts in the correct amount of space between letters, words, and sentences, making it redundant to keep putting in two spaces.
I keep hearing this, but I don't believe it. Word processors are not typesetting programs, and especially if you use a ragged right margin, they won't do any kerning apart from the default spacing for the letters of that font. That means that sentences get no special spacing; in fact, the software has no way to decide what is a sentence and what is not.

With LaTeX, which is a typesetting program, you have to distinguish the use of periods that are not sentence terminators---ie, abbreviations, acronyms, and the like---to get the proper spacing.

Now, if single-spacers would only drop these specious arguments and admit that there is no rational reason for their quirky dearth of thumbwork, we can put all this behind us.

(Bwahaha.)

crimsonlaw
07-17-2008, 05:43 AM
I think it's very funny how such a very small item can provoke such strong emotions in people.

My boss suggested that my employment would be slightly more secure if I double spaced after a period. After a bitter blood feud which last over several weeks, I finally gave in. I think he's slightly mad...

Medievalist
07-17-2008, 06:03 AM
I keep hearing this, but I don't believe it. Word processors are not typesetting programs, and especially if you use a ragged right margin, they won't do any kerning apart from the default spacing for the letters of that font. That means that sentences get no special spacing; in fact, the software has no way to decide what is a sentence and what is not.

Dude, it's not the bloody software, it's the font. The same technology that make a lower-case m smaller than an upper-case M, in a proportionately spaced font, adds extra space to the period character.

If you have Fontographer, or the full latest version of Illustratior, you can actually see this in the font matrix tables for a given font.

geardrops
07-17-2008, 06:19 AM
To be technical.

LaTeX is, from my understanding, founded on a markup language (think XML) that allows for the user to easily alter the way documents are displayed; similar to how stylesheets allow people to quickly modify webpages without having to overhaul the design by hand.

Technically, a word processor such as MSWord, is more like a WYSIWYG typesetting program, being that what you see on the "page" on your screen is what gets dropped out of your printer.

From what I understand.

Chrisla
07-17-2008, 10:27 AM
My boss suggested that my employment would be slightly more secure if I double spaced after a period. After a bitter blood feud which last over several weeks, I finally gave in. I think he's slightly mad...

Employers and editors are very different breeds. I always used two spaces until I started writing stories and learned the error of my ways. Of course, I'm retired, so I don't have to please my employer any more. That's fortunate, because I think the business world still likes two spaces, and I would find it really difficult to switch back and forth. Probably better to use the find and replace to subtract or add that extra space after the period.

Medievalist
07-17-2008, 10:57 AM
Technically, a word processor such as MSWord, is more like a WYSIWYG typesetting program, being that what you see on the "page" on your screen is what gets dropped out of your printer.

From what I understand.

MSWord is absolutely, positively not, either a typesetting program or a page layout program.

Typesetting programs used on personal computers include Adobe InDesign, FrameMaker, Quark.

Nor is MSWord WYSIWYG.

pretticute80
07-17-2008, 10:58 AM
I double-space at the end of sentence or with : primarily due to having to write my papers in APA style. It feels weird not to do so and will have to treat the single-spacing as I do Courier New –create a word template that will convert my writing’s format when I submit it. Otherwise, I will pay more attention to single-spacing than writing my story (sad but true).

Alexandra Little
07-17-2008, 11:01 AM
I was taught to double space in elementary school (I'm twenty now)--I still remember my third grade teacher explaining both double spaces, the two spaces at the end of a sentence and the double spacing of a paragraph. I do it in my posts here--it's just automatic for me. I would need a publisher to tell me "no, absolutely not!" before I tried to un-learn the habit.

ejket
07-17-2008, 07:11 PM
[...] Word processors are not typesetting programs, and especially if you use a ragged right margin, they won't do any kerning apart from the default spacing for the letters of that font. That means that sentences get no special spacing; in fact, the software has no way to decide what is a sentence and what is not.

With LaTeX, which is a typesetting program, you have to distinguish the use of periods that are not sentence terminators---ie, abbreviations, acronyms, and the like---to get the proper spacing.

Dude, it's not the bloody software, it's the font. The same technology that make a lower-case m smaller than an upper-case M, in a proportionately spaced font, adds extra space to the period character.

Sure, I've said that a word processor can't distinguish a period-as-sentence-terminator from some other kind of period, but are you really suggesting that a font can manage something like this? If you can imagine that a period-as-font-entity has more than one possible role in grammar, then you should be able to see the problem I have with this.

Neither the word processor nor the font will know or care what exactly to do with each period it encounters... so it will burp out a default space that will arguably be smaller than what would be ideal to signal the end of a sentence.

If you have Fontographer, or the full latest version of Illustratior, you can actually see this in the font matrix tables for a given font.

Well, that depends on the particular font---there are actually no rules for this, which makes it hard to generalize with any confidence. And even a font with relatively generous right-hand spacing has to offer a compromise here, as I've suggested above.

Certainly I won't idly accept any assertion along the lines of "modern word processors and/or recent advances in proportional fonts obviate double spacing between sentences" because this is simply not true. There have been no such advances---proportional fonts are hundreds of years old; a bit of extra spacing between sentences has always improved readability... and whether one prefers this or not is entirely subjective.

The only objective studies that have been done for typography suggest that generous spacing between elements improves legibility.

Anyway, I've been using LaTeX for about ten years. If you're interested in typesetting software, you might like to look into it... it's good and it's free.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LaTex

Shadow_Ferret
07-17-2008, 07:25 PM
I keep hearing this, but I don't believe it. Word processors are not typesetting programs, and especially if you use a ragged right margin, they won't do any kerning apart from the default spacing for the letters of that font. That means that sentences get no special spacing; in fact, the software has no way to decide what is a sentence and what is not.

With LaTeX, which is a typesetting program, you have to distinguish the use of periods that are not sentence terminators---ie, abbreviations, acronyms, and the like---to get the proper spacing.

Now, if single-spacers would only drop these specious arguments and admit that there is no rational reason for their quirky dearth of thumbwork, we can put all this behind us.

(Bwahaha.)I strongly disagree. I've worked in desktop publishing almost since its inception. Desktop Publishing programs do kern and the kerning is customizable, too.

But I think the argument that its a propotional vs. monospacing argument is a red herring. The point made was the double-spacing after a period made it easier to recognize the start of a new sentence. My thought is this: are we really that stupid that we can't recognize a period when we see it and need an extra space in there to call our attention to it?

I think we're all smarter than that. Drop the extra space for intelligence's sake.

Medievalist
07-17-2008, 07:26 PM
Sure, I've said that a word processor can't distinguish a period-as-sentence-terminator from some other kind of period, but are you really suggesting that a font can manage something like this? If you can imagine that a period-as-font-entity has more than one possible role in grammar, then you should be able to see the problem I have with this.

You need to google "proportionately spaced font." If it's a proportionately spaced font, you don't need two spaces.

If it isn't, if it's a font modeled after a typewriter, you do.

If a publisher says use two spaces and tab paragraph indents, then by golly that's what you do.

Bottom line: do what the publisher wants. If you don't know, and can't find out, at least be consistent.

Anyway, I've been using LaTeX for about ten years. If you're interested in typesetting software, you might like to look into it... it's good and it's free.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LaTex

I used to use it for science and engineering journals; it's free it's powerful and it's a PITA to use when you can use Framemaker, Quark, or InDesign.

Shadow_Ferret
07-17-2008, 07:31 PM
I used to use it for science and engineering journals; it's free it's powerful and it's a PITA to use when you can use Framemaker, Quark, or InDesign.
PITA? Isn't PITA a greek style bread pocket?

ejket
07-17-2008, 07:59 PM
Sure, I've said that a word processor can't distinguish a period-as-sentence-terminator from some other kind of period, but are you really suggesting that a font can manage something like this? If you can imagine that a period-as-font-entity has more than one possible role in grammar, then you should be able to see the problem I have with this.
I strongly disagree. I've worked in desktop publishing almost since its inception. Desktop Publishing programs do kern and the kerning is customizable, too.

Don't strongly disagree so fast. What I'm saying is that programs like MSWord don't intelligently handle sentence spacing. On what basis could you have a problem with this? It's obvious enough that word processors don't know what a period is intended to mean in any particular case.

Desktop publishing software may be more flexible and powerful, but that's not to the point. What should the common slob using common slob software do? What about the common slob who finds a bit of extra space between sentences makes the text easier to read? Are they wrong on principle? Have you got some science to back this up?

Well, no. You don't.


But I think the argument that its a propotional vs. monospacing argument is a red herring. The point made was the double-spacing after a period made it easier to recognize the start of a new sentence. My thought is this: are we really that stupid that we can't recognize a period when we see it and need an extra space in there to call our attention to it?

I think we're all smarter than that. Drop the extra space for intelligence's sake.

Yet the studies that have actually been done suggest that for ease of readability's sake, one should add extra space between elements. Why is this not smart?

ejket
07-17-2008, 08:04 PM
[...]

Bottom line: do what the publisher wants. If you don't know, and can't find out, at least be consistent.
We agree!

jcheney
07-20-2008, 04:51 AM
Having learned on a typewriter, I am guilty of two spaces after a period. It just looks wrong to me to single space. I had to change my whole manuscript to single space when I submitted it to the publisher.

Luckily, it was an easy change with the electronic format...

Billingsgate
07-20-2008, 09:03 AM
I double-space at the end of sentence or with : primarily due to having to write my papers in APA style. It feels weird not to do so and will have to treat the single-spacing as I do Courier New –create a word template that will convert my writing’s format when I submit it. Otherwise, I will pay more attention to single-spacing than writing my story (sad but true).
That's funny, because I just had the law laid down that SINGLE-spacing is supposedly the one and only acceptable APA style. I've been proofreading my wife's papers for her Psychology PhD. More than one professor has graded her down for double-spacing at the ends of sentences, so now we religiously remove her double-spacing. Her grades (from these uptight, pedantic academics) have improved.

Meanwhile, the editor of the magazine I write for has lambasted me for my terrible habit of SINGLE-spacing at the ends of sentences.

Kris Ashton
07-22-2008, 12:16 PM
I'm a magazine editor myself and I would label double spaces between sentences a minor annoyance. It's just one extra thing I have to do when I'm supposed to be trimming and fact checking story.