Sunday, January 16, 2011

I will not type that way again. I will not type that way again. I will not...

Well, I learned something today...and I would've lost money betting on this had someone challenged me to a wager on it.

Years ago in my early teenage years, I took a typing class in summer school. My buddy and I got this idea that if we took a typing class, it would be a class full of girls (it was) and that there we be a lot of returns for the investment of our time (there were--unfortunately, they were all carriage returns). In any case, skunked though we were, I really did learn how to type and it's come in handy now that the predominance of our communication these days is done via a keyboard. I should say, my typing training has come in handy until what I just learned today. There. Right there. I did it again.

It turns out, the typing rules I learned back in the (mumble)-ties are no longer valid. And even more surprising, they were not valid BEFORE the typewriter either. The rule of which I speak is the "two spaces after a period" rule.

This article in SLATE lays out the very well-supported case that I have been wrong about the two space rule, EXCEPT when I was typing on an actual typewriter. So I am now correcting my excessive spacing practice and apologize to all for the years of causing the reader to skip a beat in getting to the first word of my next sentence. And that means that everyone who has been hanging onto this practice--it's time to move on. No one should have need to use a typewriter any more except for eccentric authors or about 20% of government workers still responsible for filling out unnecessary forms in triplicate.

9 comments:

Hortensio said...

But, but ... Don't wanna change my whole typing pattern! I have a rhythm of two taps after every sentence stop. Grr.

Worse still was I was taught that while growing up with computers.

The Conservative Wahoo said...

A GOOD Conservative would stay with the tried and true two space rule. Like that.

Mudge said...

And I would have stayed with it IF it only changed because of the informality of writing with word processors. But the fact that the typesetting authorities that pre-dated the typewriter only called for one space was enough for me to revert to the original standard.

Plus, think of all the extra time it gives us. We're not getting any younger you know.

CR UVa said...

I don't see any reason to change. More than likely, most people who have learned to type are very familiar with the two space rule. Trying to force a change on that seems like an easy way to produce mistakes. How would a typed document look with some sentences followed by two spaces and others by one? And I doubt most people would think to use control-f (or command-f for Apple users such as myself) to find any instances of double spacing, considering how often they forget to use spell check (or edit to begin with), use the reply-all option in email when it is entirely inappropriate, or any of a number of other bad habits most computer users pick up.

One space may be fine, but I see nothing wrong with two spaces, and quite frankly, I can't imagine how anyone could be so OCD as to be that picky.

Doc Milnamo said...

I received a 1 point deduction in my grade on a recent research paper. It was for using 2 spaces after a "full stop".

Ken Adams said...

So, some dead white men from Europe decided something over a hundred years ago, and we're stuck with it? I thought that the current fashion was to ignore anything produced by by such, as they were hopelessly misogynistic racist theists.

Les said...

Gotta be a joke somewhere in there about what comes after a period...

"The Hammer" said...

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? I've done quite a bit of research in this area and haven't come up with anything concrete. Any thoughts?

Mudge said...

Hammer - that all depends on how many spaces they leave between themselves while dancing...one or two. But we really don't have time to devote to such trivial matters here. The substantive issue is do we hold longingly to what we learned during a momentary aberration in typography or do we revert to the founding typesetters' intentions? Punctuation and Constitutions should not be reinterpreted each time the winds shift. This is a matter of the very foundation of our existences. Period. space.

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