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How many spaces after a colon?

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maestrowork

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I agree with the other punctuation, but single space after a period doesn't make a writer look one bit more professional. Less so, to many of us.

Less so? That's a little harsh. A lot of writers use single space and that does not in any way make them less professional. Different from how people were taught in the typewriter days, sure, but less professional, especially since a lot of house styles call for single space?

(BTW, most online publishing uses single space because that's actually what HTML does. To insert double space you actually have to insert two &bsnp's into the document. By default, all white spaces turn into single space after being rendered by the browser. Read every single post on AW and you will find only single space after period, no matter what you do).
 
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Yup. A number of publishers specify one space only.

Guess they're not professionals then.
 

The Lonely One

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I've trained myself both ways. I had a desk editor at the paper that would always bitch at me and another guy who'd learned to double-space after periods. It was just the way we were used to, but AP or perhaps it was a house thing required single spaces. So I did that at the paper, but continue to this day to use double spaces in my fiction. It hasn't affected my acceptances yet (that I know of) and I've never seen a preference listed on submission guidelines. But if I did see it I'd adhere to it like anyone else who hopes to have a chance at publishing. It all seems a little silly to me.

I use single spaces on the forum also for some reason. Hmm. Maybe I just have a different brain for fiction.

But then there's the fact I use single spaces after colons and doubles after other hard punctuation. I'm consistent but that's how I've always done it. If it's either one way or the other perhaps I should relearn the way I space. I just never thought of a colon as "hard" punctuation.

Or perhaps I'll just write the way I always have and deal with the trivial shit when it's time to deal with it.
 

kaitie

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I absolutely love that this conversation is still going. And all because I was too lazy to google something. :tongue
 

kaitie

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Less so? That's a little harsh. A lot of writers use single space and that does not in any way make them less professional. Different from how people were taught in the typewriter days, sure, but less professional, especially since a lot of house styles call for single space?

(BTW, most online publishing uses single space because that's actually what HTML does. To insert double space you actually have to insert two &bsnp's into the document. By default, all white spaces turn into single space after being rendered by the browser. Read every single post on AW and you will find only single space after period, no matter what you do).

Just testing this.

Lookie. A period with two spaces.
Lookie. A period with one space.

Holy cow, he speaks the truth.
 

Medievalist

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Yes, but he has to FIND all that stuff to change it. If he doesn't know there's a quadruple space somewhere, he won't be able to change it and then the galley comes back and someone says, "Why the heck does it look so far apart?" That's why I say "consistent." If there are always four spaces after a colon, the typesetter can simply search and replace.

No, the editor tosses the wretched thing to some poor typesetter who already has to fix all the messed up curly quotes, the idiotic ellipses, the fractions that aren't kerned and then use expert numbers, and fix the ligatures . . . you spend a third of your time as a typesetter writing bleeping macros.
 

kaitie

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No, the editor tosses the wretched thing to some poor typesetter who already has to fix all the messed up curly quotes, the idiotic ellipses, the fractions that aren't kerned and then use expert numbers, and fix the ligatures . . . you spend a third of your time as a typesetter writing bleeping macros.

At the risk of sounding stupid...what?
 

dpaterso

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Nothing to angst over. Just write the darn novel, and let others worry about tidying it up so it's ready for printing further down the line -- that's what they get paid for.

-Derek
 

LexiCan

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I follow agent Rachelle Gardner on Twitter. Yesterday afternoon she posted that it is publishing industry standard to have only one space after periods (or any punctuation for that matter). I thought "what?...really?" I came over here this morning to get clarification on this point and found this thread. Glad I'm not the only one who didn't know this. I learned to type on a typewriter so I guess I have always done the standard two spaces following a period (as you can see by this post). Learn something new every day.
 

maestrowork

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so I guess I have always done the standard two spaces following a period (as you can see by this post). Learn something new every day.

As I explained, even though you posts have two spaces after a period, they still would only show up with one. If you don't trust me, highlight the posted text and see for yourself. So, all your extra spaces have been in vain. :)
 

kaitie

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I'm not really stressing over it. In fact I find it hilarious that this thread is still going because I thought it would be answered in one or two posts. It's interesting to see the divergent opinions.

Honestly I just like to know these things for future reference. I came across one in my manuscript and thought, "Huh...I don't remember that rule. I should find out." I'm just one of those crazy people who likes learning lol.
 

LexiCan

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As I explained, even though you posts have two spaces after a period, they still would only show up with one. If you don't trust me, highlight the posted text and see for yourself. So, all your extra spaces have been in vain. :)

Ah, I see. Thanks, Maestrowork, very interesting
 

Manuel Royal

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I'll continue to use two spaces after a period unless an editor specifically asks me not to.

It made sense when I learned to type in 1975 for the same reason it makes sense in the writing I do now: if you're using a standard typewriter, or using Courier font, each character takes up the same amount of horizontal space on the paper (or screen). Using two spaces makes it easier to visually separate one sentence from another.

(As far as I know, Courier is still the industry standard for manuscripts. Because all the characters have the same spacing, it makes it easy to estimate word-count.)
 

Albannach

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It's easier to do copy markup on Courier and if the sentences are double-spaced. Not everyone does paper markup these days, but I'm told most still do. If someone doesn't want double-spaced, I'm willing to do a search and replace. Honestly, a bit much to stress over. As long as you're consistent, in the days of computer it's a non-issue.
 
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