The Death of the DoubleSpace

Let us begin the wailing and lamentations for one of those niceties of modern life… the doublespace.

Long gone is the luxury of “white space” upon the printed (or, for that matter, scanned) page. A period used to be immutably followed by a double space. All typed (am I dating myself?) academic papers used to be double spaced in order to permit the instructor to insert appropriate notes into the writing.

Alas, such is no longer the case. In the name of conservation the DoubleSpace has gone the way of the dodo. What other features of everyday life, besides decency and good conversation have gone the way of all flesh?

Well, you did ask…
Decent penmanship (I believe you may have touched on this before)

Common courtesy on the road

Reading, as a form of serious entertainment

I am still in the habit of using double spaces in anything I type (including on the computer). It was drummed into me as an English student in high school, and my writing doesn’t look right to me if there’s no double spacing.

While we’re on that general subject, I personally miss:

Good spelling (“If you know what I mean, why does it matter if it isn’t spelled exactly right?” ~ quote from many of my co-workers)

Decent grammar

Common courtesy

Respect for one’s elders

(And no, I’m not extremely anal about spelling and grammar, but if a person is typing a report, it should be written clearly).

um… doublespace after a period was only a standard in monospaced fonts, that is, typewriters. It has never been a standard in proportional fonts.
FYI, college papers are generally still required to be double spaced in monospaced fonts, using the same standards as if they were done on a typewriter. Consult the Chicago Manual of Style for the details, only a few minor changes were made to incorporate the computer era (i.e. how to cite web pages) but the formats are the same.

I prefer a doublespace after the period, even with a proportional font. It just looks better to me.

Re spelling, I’m a pretty bad speller myself – for my generation. So I’m in a poor postion to complain about anyone else. If, however, I felt free to grumble, I’d grumble about people using “your” when they mean “you’re”.

Re the apostrophe… Please, people if you’re uncirtain about matters apostrophatic, keep in mind Hazel’s Apostrophe Hint: Leaving out a needed apostrophe does not look nearly as bad as putting one in when it is not needed.

I worked at a school newspaper where only one space was used after periods, I assume to save space. So now I can’t stand to see two spaces and feel compelled to change it. :slight_smile:

As for double spaced lines, all my papers in college required it. And that just ended for me in May.

No more doublespace after periods? :frowning:

I refuse to comply! I mean, how much extra paper would it really take? I may only be 18, but I was taught that a doublespace after the end of a sentence was most proper, and besides, it just feels right. Single spacing annoys me. So I’m resolved: I will not do away with my doublepace!

(Well, okay, I wouldn’t risk a grade or a job over it, but I will doublespace unless specifically and adequately compelled to do otherwise.)

Obviously, you haven’t tried using one around here. Feel free to knock yourself out. These boards were primarily responsible for me changing a life-long habit of double spacing after a (typed) period. I understand why, but decorum still makes me question this loss of yet another civilized trait. I mean, rhully, if we aren’t rich enough to waste paper, is life worth living as we know it?

I agree, Hazel. That drives me nuts, too. And vice versa. I was in a CompUSA the other day and saw a sign on the counter. It was obviously made in-house (hey, they’re a computer store. Somebody just typed it in and printed it) and it said something along the lines of “Make call’s from you’re computer using the internet.” (sic and sicker)

I was plunged into a deep despair, not only because someone actually wrote and displayed that, but also because no one else in the store was able to point out that they made two egregious errors. This is the future of literacy in America.

::looking suspiciously at a single space after a period::

I don’ lahk it. I don’ lahk it not one bit.
Actually, Mrs. Spritle told me why there were two spaces after a sentence ending period (as opposed to an abbreviation, like Dr.) and only one after a comma. If I recall correctly (and I probably don’t) it had something to do with typesetters printing the two and that sometimes the little tail on the comma was not easily discernable. Thus, the comma sometimes looked like a period. To provide the reader a quick visual clue, the period was followed by 2 spaces and the comma one to let the reader know that they were at the end of the sentence. (as if the following capitol letter wouldn’t give it away?) At any rate, since there are higher quality printers (computer and press) the characters come out looking as they should and the double space is not required. Now, why get rid of a time tested convention? Beats me.
[sub]This post was made with flagrant double spaces after each period. I can’t help it; my right thumb is programmed that way![/sub]

Hmmmm…I obviously did not receive the “no doublespace” memo.

Not that it matters in the least bit. I will always use two spaces after a typed period. Go ahead. Count 'em.

Why insist on one space at all?

They’ll take my doublespace when they pry it from my cold, dead hand.

Doublespace or Bust!

One of the rules for good typesetting - as opposed to typewriting - is to place a little extra space after a full stop (i.e., a period that ends a sentence). This is done even with proportional fonts and text justification - the space after a period is ever-so-slightly larger than the normal interword spacing (or after an abbreviation). The extra space indicates to the reader (even if subconciously) that, yes, this is indeed the end of the sentence. (This is sort of like indenting the first line of a paragraph).

Doublespace away!

I found out about the demise of the double space while going over some medical transcription with the other secretaries (I occasionally help with this at my weekend job). I was told that my double spacing was actually causing some formatting problems, so I used the find and replace function to fix it. I have been doing this ever since, because I am so programmed with the double space that it is difficult for me not to use it.

And in my full-time job as a legal secretary, the double space is still used after the period at the end of a sentence.

as a little sidenote… Back in high school one of my science teachers was giving us instructions on the format of the paper she expected. She said it should be double spaced and blahblahblah… Well the day the paper (or maybe just the rough-draft, don’t remember) was due, I was glancing over my friend’s paper and noticed he didn’t double-space. I mentioned it to him and he said “Yeah I did”, so I naturally responded “No you didn’t”, and then he pointed out the spaces between the words. It seems that he thought double-spacing meant, instead of hitting return twice at the end of a line (or now just letting the computer do it), you should hit spacebar twice at the end of every word. I thought this was hilarious. He and the teacher disagreed, but for different reasons.

as an de-hijacking note, I still use two spaces after every period as you may verify above (except with the ellipsis, but that’s just my little bastard punctuation)

Hasn’t anyone noticed that even when you type a message for this board using double spacing, it is posted with single spacing between periods? I always type using a double space in between sentences (and did so in typing this post), however for some reason the board converts it into single spacing. Take out your ruler and check it. I even tried triple or quadruple spacing and the board still shows it single spaced.

It has always bugged me because I am a double-spacer and always will be. I learned to type this way and don’t want to unlearn.

As for the OP, I am also saddened by the poor penmanship that is coming out of today’s students. Part of my job includes reading job applications and I am frequently appalled by the sloppiness of most of them. Take a little pride in your penmanship for cripes sake!!

When I really want to I can write pretty well, but for the most part when I write it’s notes to myself (ie: in class, or various rough stages of other projects), or a timed essay test. In both instances, speed is the key, the faster you can write the more you can write. With notes I am the only person who needs to be able to read them so its fine, unfortunately with essay tests you have to rely on some grad student who usually doesn’t speak very good english to begin with, and I’ve occassionally gotten tests back with comments about my handwriting. This really doesn’t bother me though, as anything outside of essay tests that is actually of importance is going to be typed anyway. Also I might mention that I have a slight anti-penmanship bias as it was the only B grade I received from grades 1-12.

And damn, now that you mention the auto-single-space thing I feel stupid for saying “as you can see I use two spaces.” Oh well, please forgive

You can blame the HTML spec for that. As you’ve observed, any number of spaces gets displayed as a single space.

That’s not the board’s fault, it’s a feature of HTML. All whitespace in HTML is converted to a single space - even carriage returns/linefeeds. The boards are smart enough to convert carriage returns/linefeeds into the appropriate HTML tags to create vertical whitespace, but alas, there’s no easy way to do the same with horizontal whitespace.

FWIW, I have no penmanship skills whatsoever (assuming by “penmanship” you’re referring primarily to cursive writing). I have no ability to write in cursive any more. I hated it when I was taught it in 3rd grade and I hate it to this day. Printing is much easier to read. I started typing papers as early as 7th grade (when I got my first printer) to avoid having to write in cursive. My teachers liked it better, I liked it better, and the world was a better place. Since I was a self-taught typist, I never learned the two-spaces-after-a-full-stop rule, but no teacher in middle school, high school or college ever mentioned it to me (and most of what I typed was in a monospaced font, too). Go figure.

I read somewhere that the French only use a single space after a full stop. Anyone know if there’s any truth to that rumor? If there is, I’ll add it to my list of the things the French do that are cool. See, I keep a mental list of the things the French do/did that are cool 'cause it’s a much shorter list than the things they do that suck.

And don’t get me started on the Canadians…

“How 'bout them Canadians, eh? Those fuckers.” - a comedian I saw recently.

This is a test There should be one space between the ! marks

! !
1234567890

There should be two spaces between the *'s
*  *
1234567890
(hopefully this works)