Friday, October 15, 2010

Am I the only other person who stil does this??

 I would have never known I had this problem had I not read the paragraph (below) in a blog this week:


"Apparently, I am behind the times. I was taught to, and have till this moment, always follow periods and colons with a double space. I was just researching this online, however, and have found that it is now proper and acceptable to have only one space after any kind of punctuation mark, that to do anything else is old fashioned. I'm going to have a hard time putting this into practice as I've spent years typing and have always pushed the space bar twice after a period!"

So I promptly emailed my darling daughter in law Karen, who Dennis endearingly calls "the editing nazi" (she has a degree in this sort of thing) and asked her if this were true. Here's some excerpts from what she wrote back:


"Yep. This is accurate!.... From what I understand, the double spacing is left over from the days of the typewriter (and possibly early days of the computer). In fact, I only remember being taught maybe once in elementary to do double spaces, but by the time I was in middle school, no one was teaching that anymore.... I was surprised by the number of essays I would edit electronically that still had double spaces after periods. ..... I'm not sure how it all works, but what I do know is that double spacing, especially in scholastic and magazine writing really dates you."

So then I broke the news to my dear Dennis, who spends his work days approving reports for the medical board. He said,   
"No that's wrong.  I tell my investigators that I want 2 spaces after every period."  

So I said,  "Den we have been doing it wrong for years. You are telling them wrong. It's all changed. Honey, we are outdated."  


He then said he thought this generation was just lazy, squishing all their sentences close together. But he still loves Karen.


So my question to you is this:
Is this news to you,or not? 
Did you already know this?  


I'm going to try to change, but I can't promise. 
I may just settle on old fashioned.


36 comments:

Logan and Amy said...

The truth is what we make it. Long live the double space.

Logan

darlene said...

You've already accepted "old thing", so why not "old-fashioned", too? Ha!
I've had a similar experience with commas. I was taught to use a lot more commas in school than is considered correct today. Hey, I like my commas! Sentences flow better with well-placed commas.

Grandma Honey said...

Logan~ Den and I were on the computer together checking something and we both saw your comment and laughed! I miss the days when you were here entertaining me. We were at Food Max today and I was telling Den some of the things you use to do when you would go shopping with me.

Darlene~ You are probably right! I'm not sure I can change anyway.

And I never knew anything was wrong with commas. I probably use too many parenthesis too!

Tyler said...

The only time I remember being told to use a double-space was in one class of my senior year of high school. When I heard the teacher say that we had to use two spaces for this particular assignment, I wanted to protest. But then she explained that it was for her ease of reading alone. Never, NEVER have I ever been told to use two spaces in any other setting that I can remember.

And, sometimes I get emails and things that I have to proofread before sending them out to mass groups of people, and sometimes I end up going through and taking out the extra spaces between sentences. In those moments I can't help but think, "Poor soul. S/he's been taught wrong."

grandmapeg said...

I've never heard of this! I still use double spaces after periods. I must be old fashion too. I agree with Dennis that this generation is lazy in squishing sentences together. I guess this means I'm out of date. It would be hard for me to stop doing this so I will continue my double spaces! Thanks for sharing this information. I always enjoy learning new things from you!

cristie said...

Yes, I know this, but it just doesn't look quite right to me. xox

Karen Mortensen said...

This is news to me. I am still going to use to spaces after a period. It just seems better that way. So, go ahead and be old-fashion. (I loved Logan's comment. He is so funny.)

Scrapally said...

I guess I am old fashioned. I always do two spaces and no one has ever told me you can only do one now. I too love my commas and parenthesis...and three dots at the end of some of my sentences...

darlene said...

For the record, I think your writing is perfect! I never once have stopped between your sentences and thought, "Hey, she doubled-spaced there! That bothers me!" I recently asked my high school English teacher, who I've kept in touch with all these years, about the correct use of commas these days, and he said not to worry about it... just to put commas where they make the sentences read the best. That, from my very strict-but-now-retired teacher from the "old days". So, don't worry about it. I love how you write!

Ammy said...

It's news to me! In fact, just the other day I was teaching Hannah the spacing after her periods to put two fingers for spacing and one for each word...that is how I learned it (but in, like 3rd grade, not Kindergarten). I learned to put two spaces when learning to type on a typewriter, and I still do it. It is just a habit. And typing this comment, I noticed that I can't break that habit.

Anna said...

I knew about single spacing after periods, but I still double space because, like Tyler's teacher, I find it easier to read.

Richard said...

I was taught 2 spaces after a period and 1 after a comma were sacrosanct. About 5 years ago I learned differently the hard way. I had hired an ad agency to produce some print media for us and it came back with single spaces after the periods. When I subtly, but proudly, pointed out their error I received multiple paragraphs back in quotes from some bible of English punctuation that clearly demonstrated that I was out of step. I responded that I did not acknowledge invoices that were not double spaced after periods and quietly accepted the copy to reflect the new (to me) standard. We all had a good laugh over it...

Richard said...

Logan is a hypocrite. He single spaced his entry.

Richard said...

Can't wait until we talk about the appropriate use of semicolons; they are really interesting.

Richard said...

While we're at it, let's have a discussion about to, too, and two for Karen's (the school teachers) sake:)

Richard said...

Please tell Karen that I did not date much in high school so I am grateful to be dated now regardless of the reason...also, you need to approve my posts more quickly.

Karen Mortensen said...

Richard- don't forget about there, their and they're.

Robin said...

Who in the world has the authority to alter the sacred double space and where did that authority come from? How absurd. What next? Paragraphs that don't have to be indented... Must have all started with some LAZY tester.

grandmapeg said...

This whole thing has bothered me since reading your post this morning so I asked my daughter-in-law and another relative about what they were taught in high school and college and sure enough they were taught only to use one space after a period. I then started reading some emails that I've received from different companies over the last few days and noticed they all use a single space. I then just read your post again and noticed that you started doing it too. I didn't notice it this morning. Anyway, I guess I really am outdated! Thanks again for bringing me into the modern world!!

the Rich girl said...

Hm. My Chicago Manual of Style is at work. I've been checking my other texts to see if I could find out any more about the double-spacing-after-periods issue. You've got me curious to know more about when this was changed and the exact reasons why.

My guess is that the Modern Language Association is behind the change--at least putting the change into their handbooks. Every couple years MLA (and other style guides) are updated to reflect changes in how they say writing should be done.

I believe, but I'm not entirely sure, that MLA is based on the Chicago Manual of Style (which many professional agencies base their own in-house style guides on).

Also, I would argue that the double space was deemed unnecessary because of the extra space. In a world where every character you write (or don't write) matters, the extra space just had to go.

In any case, I prefer the single space--probably because the double space really isn't used anymore, anywhere. (Minus the internet, where anyone has access and can do as they please.) But if you check professional publications, you'll see that the double space has gone the way of the buffalo.

Also, I just want to say that I love the debate this has sparked up.

Richard said...

So, maybe it's a consequence of the Y2k phenomenon?

Sue said...

When I learned to type in junior high, we were taught to double space after periods.

Then, about ten years or so ago, I found out that the single space was now correct.

I prefer it...and I like the way it looks, too.

=)

grandmapeg said...

Okay, I promise this is the last comment I will make for this post. Karen is very good at what she does! And while reading the newspaper after I had written my second comment, I noticed the single space after the period in all of the articles, and then it dawned on me that the double spacing had to be eliminated to save room. Then I just got back on to read more of the comments and was very impressed to see Karen's comment about the research she had just done. I can see why she is a valuable asset to your family. She is a definite keeper for Tyler and your family!!! Thanks Karen for your input. That was very interesting.

Susan Rozier said...

When my oldest daughter was in college she asked that I type one of her class papers for her. She got points off because I double spaced after periods. So I knew about it. However, using my agency to rebel in areas that I deem preferable MY WAY, I continue to double space.

Interesting, since I am a stickler for periods and commas being INSIDE the quotation marks. Your and you're. There, their, they're. Use to and used to. Too, to, and two. The list goes on!

And my pet peeve, finished and done. I think Karen's quoted reference books must have changed this former rule because so many people misused it, it then became accepted. Case in point: When you're finished with ATM transactions/computer programs, etc., you have to choose DONE to exit. It rankles me every time, and I silently voice, "Finished." When someone asks me if I'm done, I say, "Yes, I'm finished." This all began when computer programmers who didn't know any better designed things this way and incorrect usage became accepted.

But if I don't get "with it" on the double space issue, I probably shouldn't be so aware of the mistakes of others.

We don't need no stinkin' rule books! (When they support something I don't agree with.) Or, (When they support something with which I don't agree.)

Love, Susan

P.S. I've re-read this post numerous times, have checked and re-checked, and I certainly hope it is devoid of errors!!!

Anonymous said...

I've been lurking on your blog for a while, but never commented. However, I wanted to now because I'm a big stickler for correct punctuation. I also thought I'd throw in an age monkey-wrench, just for fun. I'm 29 and was always taught to use two spaces following a period. I've never been told otherwise and plan to continue to do so. I think it looks neater and makes for easier reading; it allows sentences to stick out as a unit.

Kathy's Red Door Welcome said...

I've always done two spaces after a period, but I noticed my (editor) daughter is always correcting me.

C Dawn's bucket said...

Funny you should bring this up. I just learned this past week about the new preference for only one space after a period. As you can see I haven't adapted. *smile*

Cynthia

Rebecca said...

HA! I am shocked! I am a very precise person AND I always, always do two spaces after a period. I just do not know what this world is coming to! How will I think I am going to stick with two spaces. My fingers would not know how to type one space only!

Rebecca said...

I just checked with "Desktop Pubisher" who says this:"Items (term papers, E-Mails, reports, book manuscripts, magazine articles, business proposals, etc.,) printed in monospaced characters require two spaces and have a lot of other stylistic rules designed to enhance readability. Proportional spaced characters don't benefit from most of those rules."
They basically said people are going to the one space rule more and more but the two space rule is still excepted. Thank goodness!!!!

Amy Nielson said...

I was taught in college to only use 1 space after a period. That was over 10 years ago. I was first taught to put 2 spaces after a period so it was a hard habit to break, but now it is natural to me.

Grandma Honey said...

Thank you so much for all your thought provoking comments. Please comment again if you have any further thoughts on this, or if you learn something else. The jury is still out in my head over what to do. As you can see, I have not yet learned to quit double spacing after periods. I'm not sure I want to do...but then again, I want to progress and not stay set in my ways.

Richard said...

Jill, get over it. Older brother says convert to single space. Conversation over.

Anonymous said...

Wow Jill, you had 32 comments on whether to space or double space after periods, I wonder how many com.ments you would get if you discussed how to solve world hunger.
Dad

Anonymous said...

I love the critiquing! This English fanatic would like to inform some of you of the following 'discrepancies'.

used to..not use to
supposed to...not suppose to
can't help thinking...not can't help but think

Grandma Honey said...

Dear Anonymous,
I do all of those things incorrectly! Please tell me who you are; I love the way your mind works. I like precise people.
(Did I use that semi colon in the right way?)

Grandma Honey said...

My friend Sonja Kland wrote the following in an email to me and said I could quote her here:


"You are right that the computer, texting, etc., have brought about the common usage of one space between sentences. HOWEVER, depending on where you work and what type of documents you are typing, it is still important to type two spaces between sentences. I did some research online to verify what I thought was the case.

P.S. In my opinion, laziness and/or not knowing the rules in the first place also helped to bring this about."