Re: Spaces after periods 'n such

Subject: Re: Spaces after periods 'n such
From: Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 2010 15:02:38 -0700

On 10/29/2010 1:54 PM, Chris Morton wrote:
> There is no argument, Lauren. This has nothing to do with style guides. It's
> the way it is, period. Show me *one* style guide, other than your own, that
> states anything other than that the use of two spaces after punctuation is
> an anachronism, pure and simple.

Why? Some of my clients do not use style guides, some others write their
own, and yet others will use a published style guide. I would not be as
bold as you and tell my clients that all of their documents are wrong
because of the spacing they prefer after a sentence. Whomever is paying
me can tell me how many spaces to use. I have my preferences for
documents that I *own* as I said, but, also as I said, I defer to the
prevailing authority.

> There is no debate. It is not a matter of personal preference.

You are debating. The fact that you keep arguing your point highlights
the controversy as I said before. This discussion is redundant to
previous discussions in the archives. Some people do have preferences,
while others follow rigid rules. It is the differences in preferences
and the opinions about rules that give rise to these controversial
debates. Regardless of preferences, however, we all seem to agree that
the client's rules or controlling style guide would prevail.

My argument, that you argue is not an argument, is that writers can
follow their preferences, unless an authority, like a client or a style
guide, dictates otherwise. This argument is supported by the Modern
Language Association when it states, "As a practical matter, however,
there is nothing wrong with using two spaces after concluding
punctuation marks unless an instructor or editor requests that you do
otherwise." Now, MLA may be too academic
for technical writing, but not all writing is technical writing and some
of us are stuck in our old ways, habits, and muscle memories.

James Felici has a funny take on this never-ending controversial debate
in one of his articles, He
begins a discussion of the history of post-sentence spacing with, "It's
the debate that refuses to die: Do you set one word space or two after a
period?" His summary is quite delightful.

> The Cocktail-Party Summary
> Here are the salient points to remember, which you can wheel out
> against the next type pedant you find yourself stuck beside at a
> design conference.
> • Doubling the word space after a sentence-ending period does not come
> from the use of typewriters. It was an existing practice that found
> practical application there.
> • If you're using a typewriter, keep on doubling that space.
> • If you're using a monospaced typeface, do the same, and for the same
> reasons.
> • Modern spacing aesthetics aside, the main reason not to use two word
> spaces (or an em space) between sentences is that people will think
> you're doing it out of ignorance. It will be perceived as a mistake.
> You may know better, but you'll have a hard time convincing everyone else.

I would not try to convince anyone of the "right" spacing, but I shared
my preference and I discussed that this worn-out debate is still
controversial. The debate will not likely end until there are no more
people who learned to type on manual typewriters.



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Re: Spaces after periods 'n such: From: David Neeley
Re: Spaces after periods 'n such: From: Brian Bertrand
Re: Spaces after periods 'n such: From: Chris Morton
Re: Spaces after periods 'n such: From: Lauren
Re: Spaces after periods 'n such: From: Chris Morton

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