Suppose you’re writing something and come to a point where you need to use a period to make a full stop. Do you use two spaces after the period, or do you use one space? I’ve always been a two-spacer; however, some recent perusing of the 'net suggests to me that the two-space full stop has been rendered obsolete by modern technology. Plus, MS Word has a fit when I end a quoted passage with an ellipsis followed with the period and the closing quote, and then follow it with two spaces. I haven’t yet figured out why.
So, I’m wondering what the SDMB community member may have to say on this exciting & thrilling topic.
If you’re using an old-fashioned typewriter, two spaces. On a computer, just one. Word processing programs automatically set the sentence spacing correctly with one space. There’s no need for the second.
When I took typing class in 1974 we were taught to use two spaces after a full stop (period or colon). However, if you look at typeset material even from that era, it does not look like there is that much space. Today, with proportional fonts available to everybody, it is often not considered necessary to use two spaces.
I’m also a one-spacer, unless I’m typing in Courier. Same proportional-font explanation as given above.
It drives me nuts because everyone here at the law firm uses two spaces for correspondence. I mounted a campaign for a while when I first started here to try to explain why this was no longer necessary. My effort was met with a lot of, “Well, that’s how we’ve always done it, so…”
I still one-space any correspondence that I send out. Harumph.
I don’t know what word-processing programs you guys are using or what fonts, but none of the fonts I’ve tried automatically make one-space-after-a-period look “right.” They all look like there’s one space. It’s hard to read. So, I always put two spaces.
I was told to use two spaces when I started writing for an English-language MUD. It’s a text-based game… what you write is descriptions of what people see. Fixed font, left-justified only. Emphasizing the space after a period helps readability.
In Spanish you use one space only.
Anywhere except the MUD, I use one space but I also use that wonderful, wonderful tool known as double justification whenever I can. I’m a speed reader - I read a whole line at a time, not a letter or a word at a time. Double justification helps readability so much it’s unbelievable. And it’s the computerized version of what i was taught to do when handwriting, which probably helps explain why I find it easier to read a well-aligned paragraph where some words are split in two lines than a left-justified one. Apparently it’s less common for Anglos, everybody to whom I’ve had to explain the use of that button was English or American but I’ve never seen a text from a Frenchman, Italian or Hispanic that wasn’t double-justified.
Two spaces. I recently had a friend ask me about that – he said he’d been to a “writing class” and the instructor told the class to use only one space. I do a lot of editing for him, and I’ve preached that it’s TWO spaces. Why? More white space makes it easier to read. It distinguishes it as a new sentence. And, why the hell should anyone be bugged if two spaces are used? Same rationale as the paragraph – a whole bunch of text with no white space is harder to read. But then, I learned my grammar, punctuation, and syntax at a time when such things were considered important. I haven’t noticed that the font makes any difference.