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Jim Huggins
September 25th, 2009
10:24 am
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How many spaces go after a period?
I was listening to some old Grammar Girl podcasts on the way into work this morning ... and encountered a strange new fact.

When I learned how to type, back in the Stone Age, I was taught that you always used two spaces after the period at the end of each sentence. Consequently, that's burned into my brain. Apparently now, however, the rule has changed ... and only one space is required (in fact, preferred!).

This doesn't appear to be just one person's opinion ... Grammar Girl cites the Chicago Manual of Style, the AP Stylebook, and the MLA as all preferring one space after a period.

This is somewhat stunning to me ... of course, most of my typing these days is done in markup languages like LaTeX or HTML, so my perpetual use of two-spaces after periods would have no effect on how they're displayed.  Still, it's curious.

Ok, all you young folk out there ... when you learned to type, what rule did you learn?

Current Mood: curiouscurious

(5 comments | Leave a comment)

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Date:September 25th, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC)
I was taught two spaces. I will forever use two spaces, because I hate hate hate how crowded using only one looks.
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Date:September 25th, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
Pretty much the same here. I doubt that is a habit I would easily break.
Date:September 25th, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC)
Around 1998, I took the last typing class in my high school to use a typewriter. This may have something to do with the two-space rule being burned into my brain. I think I was writing my thesis when I looked into this topic as well and found the same results you did. Being cognizant of this, I will sometimes do a find-replace to convert from two to one. I love that I'm not the only one for whom this is an interesting topic!
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Date:September 25th, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC)
Despite learning on a computer, I also was taught the two-space rule. My understanding is that it was used in Ye Olde Printing days in order to differentiate between abbreviations and sentence endings, or something. To this day I still do it, even when typing in a situation like this where the extra space is stripped due to HTML standards.
Date:September 28th, 2009 10:02 pm (UTC)
I learned two spaces and will forever use two spaces in most all of my writing. I don't use two spaces in something like twitter because of the character restriction (140).

I guess the thing is to be consistent. That's the important thing.

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