Saturday, January 15, 2011

Period-Space-Space

How many spaces do you put at the end of a sentence?  Two, right?  Because that's what you were taught in typing class*, lo these many years ago.  Every single person I've asked so far (4) has said they put 2 spaces.  Well, there was an article in Slate by Farhad Manjoo who tells us that we're wrong and boy is he annoyed with us.  Typesetting rules dictate only one space.  It sends him into fits of rage when he sees the double space after the period.  So to him I say, "Suck it up ya big baby."  I've seen the documentary Helvetica, which means that I know exactly how ridiculous typesetters and people who care about fonts are.  Some of them will go so far as to equate the Vietnam War and the invasion of Iraq with certain typeface.  You will not believe the outrage they have towards this.  I thought it was pretty funny that people would care so much about a non-issue.  But here's the thing - as I was reading the article I found myself getting all panicky about the thought of not doing a double space.  Typing is one of my better skills and the double space has been such a solid rule to live by that I don't think I could give it up even if I wanted to. And suddenly I'M one of those people who cares.  And for the last 2 days I've been relishing that double space.  Like it's my declaration to the typeface regime that I WILL NOT BOW TO YOUR ELITIST SINGLE SPACE!  Unless, of course, someone wants to publish me, in which case I will simply ask, "Am I bowing low enough?"

*True story:  I took typing - using an actual typewriter, because I'm 80 - during summer school from a young male teacher who wore MC Hammer pants and a Dodger shirt every single day.  It was 1990.  I have no doubt that I daydreamed of Donny Wahlberg.

15 comments:

Mariah said...

I do one space. But I was raised in NZ, and we do all sorts of things backwards. I don't really mind either way, and think I could transition easily if I had to. I often push the space bar with both of my thumbs by accident, and so double space happens mid sentence for me.

Stephanie said...

I, too, learned to type on an actual typewriter and I used the double space until I majored in Journalism. They told me that it messed up the formatting of the columns and I believed them. I physically can't do a double space now. Seriously. Can't be done.

thefoxkids said...

so I too am in the learned to type on a very noisy electric typewriter when the whole class was doing our drills it sounded like what I imagined a firing range to sound like..
and yes i'm a double space after a period person.. I am not sure I could go back either..

Andrea said...

Andrew's aunt is a professor at BYU. She was telling us how the double space isn't to be used anymore. I can't break that habit. I have it so bad I even put a double space after a period in a text message!

Camille said...

Never trust a guy with the last name Manjoo.

Rach said...

I'm a double spacer. I had it drilled into me for so long it would be far too painful to stop. And, since all I do is blog and comment on other blogs, I can't see how my stubborn ways will ever be a problem.

Amanda said...

Seriously?? What on earth? I will always use a double space because it is like your reward for finishing you sentence. It is so satisfying when you are typing something that is getting you upset, to type that final period and then hit that return key 2 times. Once would just not do. Do you remember that fun little bar at the top of old school typewriters that you would actually have to push over so you could start the next line? Remember that the typewriter didn't actually do the automatic margin and sometimes you would get all crazy and type too much and not leave enough of a margin? Oh the good ole' days. Remember when white out was obsolete? Does it actually serve a purpose anymore?

Amanda said...

I just read my post and realize that it's too late for me to be posting comments to a blog. I apologize, but apparently I got a little worked up about the double space.

colleeeen said...

AAARGH! This article messed up my head. I tried single-spacing my latest post and it just felt so wrong. I'm in a tailspin, a TAILSPIN I tell you!

Chris said...

Double space all the way! Except when I text so that I can conserve characters (since I don't have unlimited texts on my plan).

Patti said...

I'm older than all of you and I've adapted to the single space years ago. Come on, you can do it.
P.S. I still have dreams (nightmares) that I've forgotten my typing paper and it's time to go to class.

Nicole said...

It's a hard habit to break. Although, I've had spacing confusion since 1994 when I took a typing class (on a typewriter - 2 spaces) at the same time I took a computer class (1 space)

I err toward one space. Two spaces on my iPhone means period space.

Laura said...

I never even knew there was an issue with this! I'm a double spacer, for sure...and I agree with Andrea...I even use double spacing in text messages. I can't help it!

Empress of Venus said...

I'm distressed, because on my Blackberry I only do one space. But typing on a computer I do two. I have the duality dichotomy of interplanetary conflict.

I follow Donnie on Twitter, and he's still "that way".

Bronwyn James said...

I agree that one-spacing a document is hoity-toity (is it possible to mis-spell that? Did I?), and I'm a one-spacer all the way. And I try not to look down on people who two-space, but then Ambassador Tunis got after Chris for not double-spacing and I decided to go ahead and be judgy about it. I'm pretty sure he has more important things to be particular about.