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Thread: Spaces after sentences...

  1. #26
    crazy mean SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    I double-space after a full stop what ever the font is that I'm using. But when I was an editor, all those years ago before I had my children, I would replace two spaces with one before sending a mss off to the designer.

    Having said all of that, I don't think that this is one of those issues that an editor will reject you over. Using a fancy font, printing on pretty flowery paper, and decorating your work with slices of fruit, yes--but two spaces after a stop? No.

  2. #27
    Writing well is the best revenge. Marlys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaDuck View Post
    From what I understand, our standard punctuation is based on AP-style writing aka how they write in newspapers.
    That might be the standard for journalism, but the book-publishing industry tends to use The Chicago Manual of Style.

  3. #28
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    Spaces

    With print manuscripts, at least, the whole issue of spaces after a sentence is pure nonsense. It doesn't matter in the least if you put seventeen spaces after a period. Your manuscript is not going to be published, and each and every publisher out there has a set format for anything that actually is published. If you put one space after a period, the typesetter follows house style in published piece. If you put two, or seventeen, spaces after a period, the typesetter still follows in-house format for the published piece.

    Until very recently, two spaces after a period was the rule for everything put on paper, proportional font or not. Those two spaces are there to ease reading, the same reason you leave extra space after a period when writign in longhand, and to give editors just a touch more room to insert proofreaders' marks. Now, of course this was done in typewriter days, but typewriters were never why it was done.

    Whether a font is proportional or non-proportional, two spaces after a period is still useful.

    But it really doesn't matter. Any editor who even notices the number of spaces after a period needs lessons in concentration, and any agent who insists on only one space is, frankly, an idiot.

  4. #29
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    Having worked in graphic design, printing and straight digital typesetting, the reason for the single/double space change was the advent of digital technology. And specifically when you set a page or column of copy to be justified.

    Double spaces in justified text will make a real pigs-ear of set type. So it's easier start with a single space standard.

    Ultimately it comes down to the same process for the traditional printer (with his two cases of letters) or the digital type-setter. You lay in the text straight, then you have to work your way through, line by line (sometimes word by word) and kern (adjust) the spaces manually to end up with a pleasing aesthetic that is also easy on the eye.

    I have never yet seen an agent or publisher that makes a stipulation on spacing after the "." so I wouldn't worry overly about it. It makes very little difference to you the writer, and when you send ditigal files to be set at the printer, changing your two-to-one spacing is the least of the work to be done.

    BUT, if an agent/publisher specifically asks, most word-processing packages give you a macro-option to change that. Of course, if you're working on a type-writer, you're screwed and have to retype the entire thing.

    Seriously though, bit of a none-issue for us writers. MAJOR issue for the typesetter.
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  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesaritchie View Post
    With print manuscripts, at least, the whole issue of spaces after a sentence is pure nonsense. It doesn't matter in the least if you put seventeen spaces after a period. Your manuscript is not going to be published, and each and every publisher out there has a set format for anything that actually is published. If you put one space after a period, the typesetter follows house style in published piece. If you put two, or seventeen, spaces after a period, the typesetter still follows in-house format for the published piece.

    Until very recently, two spaces after a period was the rule for everything put on paper, proportional font or not. Those two spaces are there to ease reading, the same reason you leave extra space after a period when writign in longhand, and to give editors just a touch more room to insert proofreaders' marks. Now, of course this was done in typewriter days, but typewriters were never why it was done.

    Whether a font is proportional or non-proportional, two spaces after a period is still useful.

    But it really doesn't matter. Any editor who even notices the number of spaces after a period needs lessons in concentration, and any agent who insists on only one space is, frankly, an idiot.
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  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey View Post
    So, I was just on another writing forum, and they were talking about how much "classier" it was to only put one space after each sentence. They even implied that having two spaces after each sentence made you seem amateurish.

    Personally, every time I've seen guidlines go into specifics, they wanted two spaces after each sentence. It's what my publisher wants, and it's what I've seen agents use.

    So where are these guys getting this idea? I've never even heard of it. Do a lot of people believe this?
    I'm amazed to find out that anyone would still be wanting two spaces after sentences - as far as I knew that went out with the days of the typewriter.

    I've been using only one since the early 90's. And I can't recall ever having looked at guidelines that ask for two.
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  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow_Ferret View Post
    I learned two spaced after a period in typing class. That was with real typewriters.
    Same here. Back when boys took 'shop' and girls took 'home ec' in high school, I used an elective on a typing class to meet girls. Made a lot of money typing term papers over the following few years.
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  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by RickN View Post
    Same here. Back when boys took 'shop' and girls took 'home ec' in high school, I used an elective on a typing class to meet girls. Made a lot of money typing term papers over the following few years.
    Right. I took typing and home ec. because, well, that's where the girls were. Who the hell wanted to hang out with guys?
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  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marlys View Post
    That might be the standard for journalism, but the book-publishing industry tends to use The Chicago Manual of Style.
    I grabbed my manual and looked it up. Chicago manual, 15th edition, 2003:

    6.13 Use of the period. A period marks the end of a declarative or an imperative sentence. It is followed by a single space (see 2.12, 6.11)

    6.11 Spaces between sentences. In typeset matter, one space, not two, follows any mark of punctuation that ends a sentence, whether a period, a colon, a question mark, an exclamation point, or closing quotation marks.

    2.12 repeats this info and add stuff on vertical spacing and extra lines between paragraphs.

    I've been double-spacing after periods for mumble-mumble years, so this would be a tough habit to break.
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  10. #35
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    Ditto. I'm rebelling.
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  11. #36
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    The place where I can see that it makes a difference is in submitting short stories electronically. If an editor pleads to have it come in a certain way in order to make their lives easier--why not?

    I've never worried over it in print submissions. Like JAR said, that doesn't matter.
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  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow_Ferret View Post
    TP goes under if you have a rambunction cat, dog or child. Harder to unravel.

    I learned two spaced after a period in typing class. That was with real typewriters. Doubtful you'd have taken a typing class on a typewriter considering how young you are, peaches.
    Then you'd be wrong, wouldn't you?

  13. #38
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    I find THREE threads on this topic in the "Grammar for Grasshoppers" forum, the oldest from me:
    http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...ad.php?t=77074
    http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...ad.php?t=71562
    http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...ad.php?t=65054

    With plain old word processors and text editors it's easy enough to change ". " to ". " or vice versa, though if you have any tables or things that need to be specifically formatted with spaces (which would invariablly be in a monospaced font), then that could mess you up. If it's text to be renedered/displayed through HTML (or many other text formatting systems), it's going to display as the "correct" amount of spacing no matter how many spaces you put after the period.
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  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by benbradley View Post
    With plain old word processors and text editors it's easy enough to change ". " to ". " or vice versa, though ...
    See there, it did it! What I wrote was change ".<space><space>" to ".<space>" or vice versa. You CAN'T put several spaces after a period on this BBS software and have it show up as anything but ONE space after the period!
    I'm typing lots of spaces after this period:. testing

    ETA: Strangely enough, when I EDIT this message, the spaces show up.
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  15. #40
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    My editor at Putnam said one space but also said it was no biggy as they automatically change it.
    So now I put one.
    I think it's important to obsess over points like this as it's so much more satisfying than agonizing over word choice and sentence structure.
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  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by scarletpeaches View Post
    Then you'd be wrong, wouldn't you?
    I don't know. You mean you were taught typing on a typewriter, but not taught it properly? i.e. with two spaces after every period?

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  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by wordmonkey View Post
    Having worked in graphic design, printing and straight digital typesetting, the reason for the single/double space change was the advent of digital technology. And specifically when you set a page or column of copy to be justified.

    Double spaces in justified text will make a real pigs-ear of set type. So it's easier start with a single space standard.

    Ultimately it comes down to the same process for the traditional printer (with his two cases of letters) or the digital type-setter. You lay in the text straight, then you have to work your way through, line by line (sometimes word by word) and kern (adjust) the spaces manually to end up with a pleasing aesthetic that is also easy on the eye.

    I have never yet seen an agent or publisher that makes a stipulation on spacing after the "." so I wouldn't worry overly about it. It makes very little difference to you the writer, and when you send ditigal files to be set at the printer, changing your two-to-one spacing is the least of the work to be done.

    BUT, if an agent/publisher specifically asks, most word-processing packages give you a macro-option to change that. Of course, if you're working on a type-writer, you're screwed and have to retype the entire thing.

    Seriously though, bit of a none-issue for us writers. MAJOR issue for the typesetter.
    Exactly. Being on the formatting end, the two spaces after the sentence really screws with my uniformed formatting of manuscripts. That's why I request writers that submit to use only one space.

    So depending on which end you're on, makes it matter the most.
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  18. #43
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    Learned typing on a manual typewriter at school, was told to put 2 spaces. Gradually switched to 1 space once I started using computers.

    I've read reams of submission guidelines and have never, ever seen a request for a specific number of spaces at the end of a sentence.

    I've submitted numerous printed and electronic manuscripts with 1 space and have never, ever been told it was wrong.

    I've submitted and had published over 300 newspaper columns with 1 space and have never, ever been told to put 2 spaces.
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  19. #44
    practical experience, FTW OmenSpirits.com's Avatar
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    No one's saying it's wrong. The single space format is easier to format for pdf conversion. I ask for it for that reason. Would I reject it because of it?

    No.

    Just helps me out in the layout stage.
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  20. #45
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    I would like to suggest that having great content in the manuscript is quite a bit more important to ANY publisher than worrying about whether there should be one space or two after the period.

  21. #46
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    I do two spaces after a period because that's how I learned back in the seventies and it's easier to just let my reflexes do what they've always done than worry about it. If I send out a manuscript I send it out as written unless someone wants one space. Then I change it. Otherwise I don't worry about it. It's easily changed and I'd much rather put my attention to what I'm writing rather than how I'm typing it.
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  22. #47
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    Even among those I know who learned to type on a typewriter (as I did), I've never heard of this 'two spaces after a full stop' nonsense. It only came up after I joined AW.

    Calling it a 'period', though...makes me think your novels must all be menstruating.

  23. #48
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    Just to clarify my previous post and my use of the word "wrong"; I was merely recounting my experience, that no one I've ever submitted to has told me they felt my use of a single space was wrong.
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  24. #49
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    I got interest from an agent for the first three chapters of a novel I wrote. I used Courier font with double spacing in Word and one space after the full stops. (I don't feel comfortable using the word "period" - I hear Stephen King's harpies chanting "plug it up, plug it up, plug it up!")

    Unfortunately the rest of it didn't make it, I suspect mostly due to the fact that it was crap rather than anything to do with my spacing.

  25. #50
    ... with the High Command Dave.C.Robinson's Avatar
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    Obsessing over spacing is giving in to rejectomancy. Don't bother. Type the way you feel most comfortable and send it in the same way unless someone expresses a different preference. Then do a global search and replace.

    (Dave who uses two spaces because that's how they taught me back in the seventies and I don't care enough to change.)
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