Musings from the Desk

There is a controversy brewing. I can feel it the same way you feel a thunderstorm brewing on a hot August day long before you feel the first drop of rain. Okay, maybe I am the only person who finds this controversial. But there seems to be some discussion in certain quarters over whether you should leave one space or two after a period. (I know, it was a slap in the face for me, too.)

Apparently, some people find it old-fashioned to leave the traditional two spaces after a period. And I have noticed some magazines are asking writers to submit their manuscripts with just one lonely space after each period.

I am old enough that when I learned to type I was taught on a manual typewriter. (If I had all those manual typewriters from my old high school now I could probably sell them for a small fortune on e-bay, but I digress.) So I had it drilled into me to hit that space bar - HARD - twice with my thumb before my finger dared land on that period key. I'm not even sure I can retrain myself to only hit it once. It is so automatic. And besides, I like the satisfying bump, bump of my thumb hitting the space bar at the end of each sentence.

Truthfully, I just can't see the sense in this one. And once again I feel I am being left behind in this world gone mad for technology. I thought the two tiny spaces following a period were safe, but I guess nothing is sacred anymore.


Anonymous said...

Two or three days ago, I would have totally agreed with you. But then my wife came home with some research that utterly changed my mind. I was going to explain why, but my comments were getting so long that now I'm turning it into a blog post over at my place. But the short version: our word processing software isn't based on typewriters, so typewriter rules should never have applied in the first place. I know--it was news to me, too!

So, hard as it will be to retrain myself (that habitual, muscle-memory double bump you describe? It lives in my thumbs, too), I'm letting go of the old rules and switching to one space from now on.

(Oh, and FYI: I've had to go back and delete the extra spaces between sentences in THIS COMMENT! Seriously. This is going to be a very hard habit to break!)

firstlinefiction said...

Thanks for this Sam. I'll be sure to read your post - to hear the other side. lol.