Snow days and punctuation question

[14 Jan 2011 | By | 10 Comment(s) | 2,341 views ]

Snow Day at FernbankWe’ve had school closed all week for snow. ALL WEEK! Even here in Atlanta that never happens (we close the schools for pretty much any level of snow, but it’s usually gone by the next day). So I’ve had husband (work was closed too) AND 5 year old home all week. Which means my usual calm work from home days were totally turned upside down. But we did have fun sledding and being lazy. Today we walked to Fernbank for some museum of natural history fun!

Now for punctuation: What the heck is this? You’re NOT supposed to use 2 spaces after the period at the end of the sentence? Who came up with that? I’ve always done it that way (I’m doing it that way right now, but of course, html will strip out the extra spaces, so you’ll never know.)
Seriously, do they not teach double spacing at the end of a sentence anymore?

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10 Comment(s) »

  • futuregirl [] :

    (getting out my cane and waving it at the whippersnappers) I still put two spaces after sentences. In fact, since I programmed my own blog app, I automatically take any two spaces I type in a blog post and turn them into two non-breaking spaces to FORCE html to display two spaces after my sentences. That’s how much I believe in two spaces. Otherwise things look really really cramped to me. Of course, if you’re using a monospaced font (who does? no one.) then two spaces are TOO BIG, but, like I said, no one uses a mono-spaced font anyway.

    Oh! And I agree with the article about violating quotations with injected commas and other punctuation. Until now I’ve felt bullied into doing it. But no more. From now on I will keep my quotations pure. Punctuation Anarchy!

  • Dot [] (author) :

    Thank god, Alice, glad to know it’s not just me!

    I’ve just never even heard of not using too spaces. that just looks cramped!

  • adrienne [] :


  • josh pincus is crying [] :

    Try dealing with laying out copy from a Word doc. Writers make me crazy with that “extra space” crap. Keep that up and I’ll keep making the logo smaller.

  • Dot [] (author) :

    Hey josh, ever heard of Search and Replace :) ?

  • Crankydragon [] :

    I stopped double spacing after closing punctuation years ago. All those extra spaces break up the text too much and are distracting to me.

  • Angela (Cottage Magpie) [] :

    Hi there! I’m a lurker, but this one got me to delurk! Ha!

    The extra space after a period is there for readability, the question isn’t one of whether the space is needed (it is) but how that space is created.

    Before the days of typewriters, text was done by hand, either literally (pen and ink) or through a typesetting process. The extra space in those cases was created by the person setting the text.

    But with the invention of the typewriter, which uses a mono-spaced font, the space had to be created by hitting the space bar twice. Since the machine put all the letters (including punctuation) the exact same space apart, the extra space had to be added in by the typist.

    Now, with computers, the fonts (or at least all good fonts) are all kerned for all the pairs, so that that the extra space at the end of the sentence is created automatically. It’s not literally an extra *space* as in a space bar space, but there’s a little extra room in the kerning between a period and the subsequent capital letter.

    So that’s why the extra space bar space isn’t used anymore.

    And, P.S., as someone else mentioned, a hard extra space does create a real headache for anyone trying to use your text in any kind of publishing program.

    ~Angela :-)

  • dot [] (author) :

    Angela, thanks for the explanation! That makes a lot of sense! (Of course, I added two spaces automatically between each of my sentences…I’m afraid my brain can’t be retrained :)! )

  • Licia [] :

    I’m so with you, dot! It’s had habit to break and I wouldn’t even try except that using a double space on many websites results in bizarre wrapping of the text. This website goes into the history of the double space and why it is obsolete. However, it’s a habit I’m having a hard time breaking. Now I know not to try to drum it into my kids though.

  • Sorcyress [] :

    They indeed no longer teach the double space in schools anymore –I never learned it, and I am 21 (and was taught typing when I was seven or eight or nine.)

    Also, I am in Atlanta until Monday! There is no more snow, which I find disappointing as I like snow. But on the plus side, people can actually achieve work and school and things. (It is amusing as a Boston girl to hear the travails of my southern friends.)