PDA

View Full Version : One or two spaces after a period ... QUESTION!



Kirsji
04-12-2011, 04:08 PM
When typing a paper, do you put one or two spaces after a period?

I was taught years ago that you put one space after a comma, two after a period. However, my eldest son, as much as I love him (even though I am sure he is oh-so-wrong! :)) told me times have changed, rules have changed, and it is only ONE space after a period.

He did stop short of calling me old-fashioned, though, lucky for him!

So ... tell me I am right so I can enjoy the rest of my day!

hockeymom
04-12-2011, 04:18 PM
Sorry to say, but I think he's right. My DH has informed me of the same rule, and although I'm adapting, it still drives me a bit crazy. Also, don't forget the "new" comma rule (and this one I have a REALLY hard time with) where you don't put a comma before the last item in a list (for example: it drives me crazy, insane and nutty). In school I was the grammar queen (well, if we'd had one!) but now I question myself all the time. I'm right there with ya on feeling old fashioned, but I'm afraid we have to adapt... :)

Laina
04-12-2011, 04:49 PM
I'm an editor, and it's one space. Sorry!

archibael
04-12-2011, 04:54 PM
I researched this years ago and the folks here are right-- it's an old typesetting convention to do two spaces, but since typesetting is kinda obsolete, it's become one space now.

(Which doesn't stop me. It's not a habit I care enough about to change.)

hockeymom: when I was in elementary school, I was told the last comma was optional. My option has always been to include it. :)

Kirsji
04-12-2011, 04:54 PM
Well, darn! Here I was, feeling all smug!

The way I was told to remember it was "one space for a slight pause - comma, two spaces for a longer pause - period."
And then they went and changed it on me! Must be the times we live in; we have to talk faster and we don't have time to wait for that double-pause at the end of a typed sentence.

I just learned about that new comma rule a few months ago and, yes, it drives me crazy, insane and nutty! It just doesn't look quite right to me! It always looks like there should be another comma at the end and one extra "and" ...
It drives me crazy, insane and nutty, and a wee bit barmy!

Hockeymom, you are an American living on the east coast of Canada!
I am a Canadian living in the southwestern USA!
Have you gotten used to the "-our" and "-ise" spellings? You know, neighb-OUR and real-ISE?
What about (aboowt) eh?
I still say "eh" all the time even though I've been in the US for 17 years! :)

Kirsji
04-12-2011, 04:58 PM
Well then, if I cannot have a good day by being correct, I shall have a good day by eating a handful of chocolate chips!

Thanks for all the help!

Off to tell Ares he is right ... once again! Grrrrr ... :)

farrarwilliams
04-12-2011, 05:22 PM
My understanding is that the old way is still acceptable under a number of formats, including MLA, so it's not "wrong" per se, but it's clearly on the way out. For a kid learning to type now, I would absolutely teach it with one space. I'm not especially interested in retraining my fingers to do it the new way, especially when there's very little reason to and many online formats actually "fix" it for you.

Laina
04-12-2011, 06:27 PM
Sorry to say, but I think he's right. My DH has informed me of the same rule, and although I'm adapting, it still drives me a bit crazy. Also, don't forget the "new" comma rule (and this one I have a REALLY hard time with) where you don't put a comma before the last item in a list (for example: it drives me crazy, insane and nutty). In school I was the grammar queen (well, if we'd had one!) but now I question myself all the time. I'm right there with ya on feeling old fashioned, but I'm afraid we have to adapt... :)

I think the serial comma (the comma before the word "and") is a valid option (and even a recommended option if not using it would create confusion) for most styles, as long as you are consistent. I definitely use the serial comma.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
04-12-2011, 06:29 PM
I just cannot bring myself to leave a comma off before the last item of a list. Elementary school teachers and Strunk and White pounded it into my brain and the other way just seems wrong, wrong, and wrong. :)

CatInTheSun
04-12-2011, 06:32 PM
I think the serial comma (the comma before the word "and") is a valid option (and even a recommended option if not using it would create confusion) for most styles, as long as you are consistent. I definitely use the serial comma.

I think you have to distinguish between accepted conventions for writing (with options) and for publishing (with style sheets). If ti is being published, the extra comma is generally NOT allowed since it takes up an additional space. Each journal/pub has it's own style sheet. Fortunately, each also has their own editors who will happily gut your work to fit their style sheet! :D

I'm a 2 spacer myself. I leave it to the proof editors to fix it up! :p

dbmamaz
04-12-2011, 07:16 PM
Ok, so who wants to help me w my gerund-marked-as-an-adjective question lol . . i know, i need to post it at the MCT forum . .. but i'm too busy eating a bag full of starburst jelly beans by myself to stave off stress . . . when i should be making dinner . . . .

hockeymom
04-12-2011, 07:46 PM
Hockeymom, you are an American living on the east coast of Canada!
I am a Canadian living in the southwestern USA!
Have you gotten used to the "-our" and "-ise" spellings? You know, neighb-OUR and real-ISE?
What about (aboowt) eh?
I still say "eh" all the time even though I've been in the US for 17 years! :)

Honestly, I don't even notice the spellings, and very few people I come in contact with say "eh" very much. I do think it's a bit more refined than the American "huh" which I'm all too guilty of uttering, but the Albertan "hey" comes out easier if I'm trying to "fit in". We do have a friend that I can barely understand--he's from northern NB and his accent is so thick I catch only maybe a third of what he says. DS still doesn't always understand people when they refer to him as a "wee lad" or use other quaint language we don't use at home. DH is adapting quite well since he's around people all day at work, and has taken to calling anyone he doesn't know "buddy" (as in, "Buddy in the Jeep just cut me off!"). I think that one's a NB thing, not sure.

I'll bet your "eh's" and "aboots" get you called out as a Canadian pretty quickly! What area are you from?

Kirsji
04-12-2011, 08:29 PM
I'm from the Eastern Townships in Quebec, about 1oo miles from Montreal.

I am guilty of uttering not only the "eh" but also the French "ahn". I've learned to tone down the "aboot" unless I'm tired, then it all goes to heck! LOL
If I'm really tired or sick, my slight French accent comes back with a vengeance! People sure do a double-take then, eh!

Township talk: "So there I was, eh, in the woods. And from behind a tree, I see this buck. Damn thing was a 10-pointer, eh. So, I raised my gun and tried to sight it, but the bloody thing got spooked and turned, eh. Ahn! I lost that one! Gimme another Labatt, eh!"

Imagine this said in a sort of drawn out way. Not too fast ... it should take you about 45 seconds to say the whole thing.

When I moved to AZ, I was in awe at how quickly people spoke! My ears just could not keep up with them!

dbmamaz
04-12-2011, 09:05 PM
My husband is from Gatineau and swore no one in Canada said 'eh', but i heard his SIL say it, so he was just oblivious. I'm not sure about the 'ahn' but he does occasionally sputter at me in french, I can only assume he's swearing at me.

lilypoo
04-12-2011, 10:42 PM
I am a two-spacer as well but when I went back to school a few years ago to finish my degree, my creative writing instructor was all over my case about two spaces! It's such a habit now though I have a lot of trouble breaking it. Look at this post! LOL

mamakaty
04-12-2011, 11:14 PM
I always do two spaces at the end of a sentence. My high school typing teacher drilled that into me, and I don't see myself changing anytime soon, lol. :)

Katy

Crispa
04-12-2011, 11:24 PM
Used to be two spaces after a period; now it's one space. I'm still getting used to that! (Find-and-replace is a wonderful thing.)

For the comma deal: Most book publishers follow the Chicago Manual of Style, which prefers the serial comma (the comma before the "and"). Most periodicals (newspapers, magazines, websites) follow Associated Press style, which prefers NO serial comma. And most students learn which professors like what, and the wise ones follow suit. :)

laundrycrisis
04-13-2011, 12:42 AM
"They" have changed it but I am stubborn, think it is a stupid change, and I will continue to use two spaces after the period, because it is visually easier to process the finished product that way. I will just wait until I am a very old lady and the way I like it comes back into style ;)

hockeymom
04-13-2011, 06:15 AM
I'm from the Eastern Townships in Quebec, about 1oo miles from Montreal.

I am guilty of uttering not only the "eh" but also the French "ahn". I've learned to tone down the "aboot" unless I'm tired, then it all goes to heck! LOL
If I'm really tired or sick, my slight French accent comes back with a vengeance! People sure do a double-take then, eh!

Township talk: "So there I was, eh, in the woods. And from behind a tree, I see this buck. Damn thing was a 10-pointer, eh. So, I raised my gun and tried to sight it, but the bloody thing got spooked and turned, eh. Ahn! I lost that one! Gimme another Labatt, eh!"

Imagine this said in a sort of drawn out way. Not too fast ... it should take you about 45 seconds to say the whole thing.

When I moved to AZ, I was in awe at how quickly people spoke! My ears just could not keep up with them!

LOL.

I had a neighbor back home from the Eastern Townships. She loved growing up there and missed it, though she was getting used to city life. It sounds beautiful, from her descriptions.


My husband is from Gatineau and swore no one in Canada said 'eh', but i heard his SIL say it, so he was just oblivious.

Gatineau is lovely! Ottawa is a fun city and we were always amazed that it's literally surrounded by wilderness. We heard wolves once while hiking up in Gatineau, not 20 minutes outside the city. I'll have to agree with your husband that most people don't say "eh" the way Americans assume they do; then again, people have been surprised that I'm an American because I don't have an "accent". I wonder if I'm supposed to talk like a southern belle? :)

lakshmi
04-13-2011, 06:30 AM
This thread makes me laugh! And it shows our age doesn't it? Not even sure when I switched, but it has been one space for me for awhile! Thanks to the person who talked about typesetting. I thought it had something to do with typewriters. (oops I just double spaced after the period) where each letter or character took up the same amount of space.

dbmamaz
04-13-2011, 10:55 AM
I was suprised how FLAT it is around Gatineau. I guess I've lived most of my life around the Blue Ridge or the Poconos. We did go up to . . . idk, somewhere north, I think, with hills and lakes and 'cabins' at one point, tho, and that was pretty. I've only visited twice. And of course, his family is all french-speaking, but his SIL grew up bilingual and most of the family knows english now.

Jeni
04-13-2011, 11:48 AM
"They" have changed it but I am stubborn, think it is a stupid change, and I will continue to use two spaces after the period, because it is visually easier to process the finished product that way. I will just wait until I am a very old lady and the way I like it comes back into style ;)

Uh, yeah. I am in total agreement. This information blindsided me. I had no idea that changed. I don't think I could ever not type two spaces, it's just the way it is. It looks dumb the other way.

hockeymom
04-13-2011, 12:04 PM
I was suprised how FLAT it is around Gatineau. I guess I've lived most of my life around the Blue Ridge or the Poconos. We did go up to . . . idk, somewhere north, I think, with hills and lakes and 'cabins' at one point, tho, and that was pretty. I've only visited twice. And of course, his family is all french-speaking, but his SIL grew up bilingual and most of the family knows english now.

Flat? The town is just a few minutes outside the park, which is incredibly hilly and can be quite rugged. ?? I love that area, really all of Ontario, so varied and lush. Here, all we have is trees. Blah.

Back to punctuation...:)

lakshmi
04-14-2011, 02:06 AM
and a great big ole sideline from periods to Canadian slang! & Geography!! Who knew I could learn so much on one thread?:)

jess
04-15-2011, 02:53 PM
You all have seen http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/012652.html, right?

Serial commas FTW.

(I think that falls into the "recommended option if not using it would create confusion" category.)

archibael
04-16-2011, 07:14 PM
Love love LOVE this.

ClassicalLearning
04-17-2011, 04:51 PM
AAHHH!! I just got done teaching my son 2 spaces between sentences and now I find out it's one! I seriously don't think I'll ever be able to retrain my thumbs to hit the space bar just once at the end of a sentence but I really hate the fact that I've just taught him the wrong way of doing it.

The series commas wasn't a problem, he had already learned the correct usage.

How dare they change the rules, totally inconsiderate of all us old-timers. Now that I feel so old I'm going to go hunt up my grammar book and see if it's new enough to have the new rules. Grammar was never my best subject, I always seem to miss some comma rule.

Fiddler
04-17-2011, 11:17 PM
Personally, I find it easier to read quickly when there are two spaces after a period. I think that the slightly bigger separation is a cue to my brain, and I miss it when it's not there. I had to retrain my fingers to type only one space on Twitter, where every character counts!

Oh, and there is a Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Oxford-Comma/48254769340) for people in favor of the Oxford (serial) comma. :)

Satori
04-21-2011, 12:22 AM
Ah, interesting thread! I definitely know that on when keyboarding, you only use one space. So that's what I've been used to ever since I got a computer.

But I do distinctly remember being taught in typing class to use 2 spaces after a period. Interesting to know that's been changed, even for typing on a typewriter, to just one space.

Dutchbabiesx2
04-21-2011, 02:27 AM
ok, when did this rule change? If I apply for a job and have 2 paces between my sentences will it give away my age? My thumb will not be re-trained for a single hit all the time!! arg.
And I am in agreement that I like to read the double space, it separates the sentences for my brain and I think if you are used to it then you can process the information better. The kindle will have to have an 'old fashioned reader' button and put in double spaces!

edit- Hubby states that the double space is some stupid American thing, he being from The Netherlands and having never learned the double space after a period . . . .Will have to use this at the next dinner party as a topic of discussion!

Kylie
04-21-2011, 03:20 AM
Well I'd have to say that I do not remember ever being taught a double space here in Oz, but then it might just be my old timer brain playing tricks on me :-)

dbmamaz
04-21-2011, 10:59 AM
Interesting to know that's been changed, even for typing on a typewriter, to just one space.
Who uses a typewriter any more? I thought EVERYONE worked with computers and printers these days.