A hot tip from the (grammar) five-oh

30 Jul

grammarpolice.jpgA brief public service announcement for you computer savvy readers: you should not be inserting two spaces after a period anymore. Just use one.

You can trust me on this one, or check out various sources around the web for proof. Fact is, while putting two spaces after a sentence isn’t wrong per se, it is undeniably outdated and superfluous. The reasoning for the change (like you care) is that two spaces were necessary with monospaced characters created by a typewriter (i.e. an “m” took up the same space as an “i”), but since everything is proportional now, the two-space look is unnecessary and visually distracting.

I apologize for this boring post, but somebody had to break the news. Get in the now, team. And spread the word.


3 Responses to “A hot tip from the (grammar) five-oh”

  1. Numero 6 July 31, 2007 at 1:19 pm #

    This is rediculous and utterly insane. How can they just go and change rules of grammer, or keyboarding for that matter? I had a hard enough time with the changing of the rule where you don’t need a comma after the second to last nouns in a list. (i.e. the old way—-“we went to the twins game and had hot dogs, chips, and beer.” the new way—-“we went to the twins game and had hot dogs, chips and beer.”) I just got over that about 2 weeks ago and it was just because I got lazy during a text message and decided that I would carry it over to my computer habits as well.

    What’s next? All of a sudden we aren’t going to have the letter “x” anymore because all of the sounds it makes can be used with other letters. (x-ray = ecks-ray or xylophone = zylophone) Just because someone made a technological advancement does not give them the credit to change rules that have been around of decades or even centuries. I guess if that is the case, we should just start telling everyone who owns a handheld can-opener that they are wrong and dumb because they don’t have an electric one that hangs from the bottom of a cabinet. Sheesh!

  2. Trevor August 1, 2007 at 3:49 am #

    In which I totally geek out:

    Thanks for spreading the word on the two-space/one-space issue, B. I had to have this argument with a professor in grad school who insisted that all manuscripts had to have two spaces after a period. I was working on a magazine at the time. Doing layout. I explained the technological reasons and why the change and all the rest. She insisted. What was so amazing was her age. Normally, I’d expect resistance from someone older, but this prof was in her mid-30’s. Weird.

    Numero6, I’m not sure if you’re kidding, but the serial comma is still very much around so if you like using that last comma, keep on keepin’ on. The rule hasn’t changed. Journalists don’t use it, as in your second example, except where it will prevent confusion. For journalists, this is also driven by technology and could stand to be updated. They chose not to use it to avoid having to set one more comma and take up space that a letter or other, more useful punctuation could fill. Most educational and literary writing uses the serial comma because they’re not worried about column inches. And, likely, they recognize the reason behind the rule is no longer an issue.

    Whichever you choose, you’re not likely to get slammed for it, though, so long as sense is preserved. To me, it’s easier just to always use it rather than decide whether it’s necessary.

    Anybody wants to give me shit for not using an electric can opener and uses the serial comma or the two-space rule as justification? I’m going to Ell Emm Ay Oh at them.

  3. Numero 6 August 1, 2007 at 10:03 am #

    Thank you, Trevor. (notice the comma, followed by two spaces) You make me feel new again.

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