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Rochester
05-15-2010, 10:56 AM
While I'm confident there is a thread that addresses this, one that I've probably even spent time in, I can't for the life of me find it right now.

And so...

When I grew up I was told two spaces after a period is the way to go. I find it difficult to do otherwise, but if need be I can teach myself to do one space.

Which is better?

Which is more widely used?

Which is most widely accepted in submission guidelines?

The reason I ask is because while I usually use two spaces, when using dialogue, I am forced to only use one space between the end of the dialogue and the He said.

The result is my brain hurts... two spaces unless after dialogue? Is it as simple as that?

benbradley
05-15-2010, 11:28 AM
Yes, there ARE several threads on this, I could find them in a few seconds, but I don't think this is that big a deal. Others may disagree. :D

I really don't think it's important thesedays. Maybe if you print your MS in Courier (monospaced font), you should have two spaces after each period. If you're printing in Times New Roman, it may not be easily noticeable, and may not matter. Text rendered in HTML has extra consecutive spaces ignored (except for special cases such as "code"), so it REALLY doesn't matter there.

The really good news is you can type it in however you want or are used to, and then do a (maybe two) find-and-replace command to change all the instances to the other way if needed.

Rochester
05-15-2010, 11:38 AM
Thanks Ben.

I usually submit with two spaces unless it specifically asks for one space, which it often does. But oddly enough, I've never seen anyone request double spaced... although that is given, if not specified, right?

So assuming I use two spaces after a period, I still need to only use one when it comes to a piece of dialogue with a He Said that follows? Or would that also be double spaced? The reason I ask is because my computer thinks it is wrong to double space after dialogue and before a He said.

dpaterso
05-15-2010, 12:32 PM
When you say "your computer" you mean your word processor, yes? You've probably got an option ticked that prompts you to limit spacing after words. No biggie, use 1 space, just keep it consistent throughout. (Which is what was said in all the other threads.)

-Derek

Rochester
05-15-2010, 01:34 PM
A related question...


I'm using two spaces after punctuation with the exception of question marks in dialogue.

Regarding dialogue in general, if there are several sentences in one piece of dialogue, do you put two spaces after the periods or not? This is of course assuming you are putting two spaces after the periods that aren't in dialogue.

Bufty
05-15-2010, 02:02 PM
Read the post immediately above this question.

A related question...

I'm using two spaces after punctuation with the exception of question marks in dialogue.

Regarding dialogue in general, if there are several sentences in one piece of dialogue, do you put two spaces after the periods or not? This is of course assuming you are putting two spaces after the periods that aren't in dialogue.

Terie
05-15-2010, 02:07 PM
Two spaces are NEVER required in any context. 'Two spaces after periods' is a holdover from the days of typewriters when typefaces were monospaced and the extra space was needed to help the reader's eyes track the end of one sentence and the beginning of another. It had nothing to do with whether the period was in dialogue or narration.

Virtually all word processing programs today kern extra space after a period, so two spaces are no longer necessary, even if you're using a monospaced typeface such as Courier.

That said, using two spaces isn't going to garner you an instant rejection. (Or if it did, you probably wouldn't want to work with an editor that anal anyway!)

It takes time to get used typing only one space instead of two, and if you don't want to, there's no reason. It's quite easy to simply globally change two spaces to one. Or not to bother. :D

The main thing is to be consistent. Either always use two spaces or always use one. Don't mix.

Dr.Gonzo
05-15-2010, 03:11 PM
While I'm confident there is a thread that addresses this, one that I've probably even spent time in, I can't for the life of me find it right now.

And so...

When I grew up I was told two spaces after a period is the way to go. I find it difficult to do otherwise, but if need be I can teach myself to do one space.

Which is better?

Which is more widely used?

Which is most widely accepted in submission guidelines?

Two spaces works fine for me.

The reason I ask is because while I usually use two spaces, when using dialogue, I am forced to only use one space between the end of the dialogue and the He said.

But you don't use a period at the end of dialogue if you're writing 'he said' after:

'You always use a comma,' he said. 'With one space,' he added.



The result is my brain hurts... two spaces unless after dialogue? Is it as simple as that?

For me: no dialogue tags, use two spaces.

shaldna
05-15-2010, 04:10 PM
At school we were always taught that it was two spaces after a full stop and one after a comma.

That's also the same way my typist at my day job was taught.

seun
05-15-2010, 04:44 PM
At school we were always taught that it was two spaces after a full stop and one after a comma.

That's also the same way my typist at my day job was taught.

Were you also taught the world is flat and that the earth is the centre of universe? ;)

dpaterso
05-15-2010, 05:19 PM
Aaaand this is the way these threads usually go, split into the 1-space and 2-space camps, with little digs exchanged (hopefully in fun, sometimes not). These days, it probably doesn't matter.

But... if I were submitting a manuscript in a Courier font, the traditional way*, I'd insert 2 spaces after periods, colons, and closing quotes at the end of sentences.

* depending on what publisher guidelines require.

-Derek

Medievalist
05-15-2010, 08:38 PM
Oh dog, not this thread, not today

Here's your free patented mini history of typography.

Long ago, in an age that did not yet know the IBM Selectric Bouncing Ball typewriter, when Elves and Men fought together against the evils of Sauron--

Typewriters used to be monospaced. All letters in type took up exactly the same width. An uppercase W took up exactly the same square area as an e, and writers and typists used two spaces after all terminal punctuation marks (periods, question marks, exclamation points).

But then the Dark Lord IBM Sauron brought forth the IBM Selectric with the Bouncing Ball, and typewriters had proportional type, so that indeed, an uppercase W took up more space than did an e, and, in a new evil, the period already had an extra space following it so that only one space was needed after the period.

But then Microsoft and the Elves Apple and a loose cohort of thieves typedesigners created digital typefaces for the Laser Writer and computers.

They decided to create some proportional spaced fonts. So these fonts did not need the extra space after terminal punctuation.

Do or do not use two spaces after terminal punctuation. Just be consistent and prepared to do search-and-replace either way.

Jamesaritchie
05-15-2010, 08:39 PM
Two spaces is just fine. It's not a holdover at all with print manuscripts. Ink on paper is still ink on paper.

One space is just fine, as well.

But as a writer, I always use two, and as an editor, I marginally prefer two, just because every bit of extra editing spcae a writer gives my is a good thing.

But it really doesn't matter a flip. Anyone who even notices how many spaces you use has already lost interest in what you've written.

ComicBent
05-15-2010, 09:43 PM
This always devolves into the "one versus two" debate.

The rule in the typewriting days was that two spaces were used after so-called "terminal" punctuation, which included:

. period (full stop in Britspeak)
! exclamation point
? question mark
: colon

For commas, semicolons, and single or double quotes you used one space after the punctuation.

I challenge anyone to find original documentation from the 1920s or 1930s that this "rule" came into being because of a general consensus that typewriter fonts, being monospaced, "needed" extra space after a period, space that a proportional font supposedly did not need. I do not think it had anything to do with the monospaced-versus-proportional-font issue. If anything, it is the proportional font, not the monospaced one, that would better benefit from having two spaces after a period. After all, proportional fonts are the ones that are scrunched together, not the monospaced ones.

In fact, the "rule" probably came about because some early, influential typing manual dictated the policy. The author of the manual probably thought that the extra white space looked nice. And, in fact, it does. White space always looks good. Try two or three spaces after a period in something written in a proportional font (the font that supposedly does not need the extra space), and you will be surprised at how nice the text looks.

In casually looking through older texts in proportional fonts, I have noticed that there is often a good bit of white space after periods and question marks and exclamation marks. It is very possible, if not probable, that some typesetting styles mandated extra white space after terminal punctuation, regardless of whether the font was monospaced or proportional.

Spacing of text has not followed a set of consistent rules throughout the history of printing. You, too, have probably noticed that older texts often put a space before certain marks of punctuation: for example, the semicolon.

As for the original issue of one-versus-two, I have been in both camps, but about twenty years ago I committed firmly to the one-space side. I think it is the best way to go, and I think that typing is now taught that way. I hope to God they are not trying to teach people to type with one space after a period in Courier, but two spaces in Times Roman.

By the way, even in the old days, the two-space rule did not apply to all periods, just to sentences. In abbreviations like *Mr.* you used only one space after the period. However, the "rule" led many careless people to use two spaces after *Mr.* or *Mrs.*, and it looked terrible. Similarly, in certain abbreviations, you had no space at all: Ph.D. and U.S.A.

People who grew up typing the old way (two spaces) are reluctant to change. Fortunately, we can use search-and-replace to change the spacing if we want to.

Roland
My essay on Courier (http://www.rolandstroud.com/downloads/essays/courierfonts.pdf)

Medievalist
05-15-2010, 10:50 PM
http://somuchpun.com/2010/04/28/funny-pun-photos-but-i-didn39t-shoot-no-comic-sans/

Maryn
05-15-2010, 10:59 PM
Long ago, in an age that did not yet know the IBM Selectric Bouncing Ball typewriter, when Elves and Men fought together against the evils of Sauron--And on a somewhat lighter note, I read this as Elvis and Men and formed a very different mental image which was highly amusing.

Maryn, whose own jokes crack her up

Rochester
05-15-2010, 11:14 PM
Wow, lots of good info.

The only thing I am still unsure about is this:

Let's say I write a short story and use two spaces after periods. Do I use two spaces after periods that are in dialogue too? Or do those only warrant the one?

Shadow_Ferret
05-15-2010, 11:28 PM
I was taught, from the days of typing, that there are two spaces after a period, even if it's dialog, but the two spaces then come after the quote, not between the period and quote (for us Americans). :)

As many have said, two spaces is a hold over. If you're in the habit of using two, keep doing it. If you're not, keep doing that.

I was able to break myself of the habit. Seemed like a lot of extra work for my thumbs.

Terie
05-15-2010, 11:34 PM
Let's say I write a short story and use two spaces after periods. Do I use two spaces after periods that are in dialogue too? Or do those only warrant the one?

As has been said repeatedly,

The main thing is to be consistent. Either always use two spaces or always use one. Don't mix.

jvc
05-15-2010, 11:38 PM
And on a somewhat lighter note, I read this as Elvis and Men and formed a very different mental image which was highly amusing.

Maryn, whose own jokes crack her up
I am so glad I wasn't the only one who read it that way :D

Oh, I haven't picked a camp yet between one space or two. I'm gonna go with whichever one has the best BBQ and night time entertainment ;)

Rochester
05-16-2010, 12:16 AM
Unless otherwise stated, I thought the "proper" thing to do is use two spaces, just because you never know what font the editor might change it to or if they prefer the extra space if they happen to print it out or whatever.

A lot of places I submit to say to use the standard manuscript format... and sometimes provide links to places that explain said format, and more often then not it says always use two spaces after a period.

I am looking to be consistent, that is why I made this thread. I have no preference, I don't think one is better than the other... I just want to know which is more widely accepted.

You say to be consistent throughout, one space or two... but I've had publishers say always use two spaces, except between a piece of dialogue and a he said.

However, I've never had anyone specifically address what to do in the above situation in the actual dialogue itself. If I am supposed to use two spaces after a period in the narrative, and one between the end of a piece of dialougue and a he said, what of the sentences in the dialogue themselves? One space or two?




Shunn's manuscript guidelines say to use two spaces after a period, but doesn't clarify if that includes sentences of dialogue. The only reason I bring up Shunn's mansucript guidelines is because I find it linked to several submission guidelines for various online publications.

Is that just wrong, or old fashioned? If submission guidelines don't specifically say one space or two, the author just decides?

Medievalist
05-16-2010, 12:22 AM
Oh, I haven't picked a camp yet between one space or two. I'm gonna go with whichever one has the best BBQ and night time entertainment ;)

Two spaces comes with kalua pork, Memphis ribs, craft beer, bourbon, rye, and the best Margaritas outside of Santa Monica, CA (the home of the best Margaritas, ever).

Medievalist
05-16-2010, 12:24 AM
Dialog, poetry, prose, it doesn't matter.

What matters is the punctuation mark.

Be consistent. Use the same number of spaces after all periods, questions marks, exclamation points, and, dog help us, interbangs, keeping in mind that all right-thinking booze-loving folk use two spaces after terminal punctuation.

Medievalist
05-16-2010, 12:25 AM
And on a somewhat lighter note, I read this as Elvis and Men and formed a very different mental image which was highly amusing.

You didn't know Elvis was a Wood elf from Rivendell?

jvc
05-16-2010, 12:36 AM
Two spaces comes with kalua pork, Memphis ribs, craft beer, bourbon, rye, and the best Margaritas outside of Santa Monica, CA (the home of the best Margaritas, ever).
I'm sold, I'll be there in half an hour :D

Rochester
05-16-2010, 01:08 AM
Dialog, poetry, prose, it doesn't matter.

What matters is the punctuation mark.

Be consistent. Use the same number of spaces after all periods, questions marks, exclamation points, and, dog help us, interbangs, keeping in mind that all right-thinking booze-loving folk use two spaces after terminal punctuation.



Doesn't that mean you have to use one space at all times? Because I'm told I "have" to use one space between the end of dialogue and a he said.

And if I have to use only one space their, and I'm looking to be consistent, doesn't that mean I can only use one space most of the time? Which is against the Shunn thingy.

Jamesaritchie
05-16-2010, 01:59 AM
Since the typewriter began, most spaces have been for ease of editing, and the digital age hasn't changed this a bit. It isn't about camps, or about rules, or about grammar, it's purely and simply about ease of editing.

When you have to insert proofreaders' marks all over the page, room makes it easy. This is one reason why many editor dislike Times New Roman, even though we all accept it, just as we accepted Elite during the typewriter era. Times is small, cramped, and much more difficult to edit by hand, but word processors, which were not designed for professional writers, came defaulted to Times for many years, just as most typewriters for the average user came with Elite instead of Pica. Writers all over hell and gone assumed that since word processors were defaulted to Times, that was the correct font to use.

And it works. But Courier is far, far easier to edit by hand, just as Pica was., because it's one heck of a lot easier to insert proofreaders' marks into Courier. Two spaces, or any extra space, simply leaves a more open page, and one that's much easier to edit using proofreaders' marks.

What many seem to forget is that manuscripts do not get published, so talking about grammar, or one space versus two, or fonts, or typewriter holdover, or much of anything else, is simply irrelevant.

dpaterso
05-16-2010, 05:19 AM
Let's say I write a short story and use two spaces after periods. Do I use two spaces after periods that are in dialogue too? Or do those only warrant the one?
Yes, two spaces after period. They're sentences too.

(Sorry if this has already been answered. I can't tell -- too much thick fog.)

-Derek

Rochester
05-18-2010, 11:17 AM
I actually went crazy and called a few english departments at various highschools and colleges throughout the United States and Europe...

Yes, I have problems.

Anyway, it seems schools by and large teach one space now... as of about a year ago. Fuckin ay.

dpaterso
05-18-2010, 11:21 AM
There ya go. Makes it easy for you.

-Derek

Terie
05-18-2010, 12:37 PM
If you aren't going to take the word of a batch of industry professionals, why bother to ask? You got answers from published authors, experienced submitting writers, editors, and other publishing professionals from all levels of the industry. I would've thought that would be good enough.

dpaterso
05-18-2010, 12:58 PM
Since the question's been asked and answered, let's close this one and get some writing done instead. :)

-Derek