[Grammar] RE: Correct Number of Spaces Following a Period (help?)

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RE: Correct Number of Spaces Following a Period (help?)

Hi folks,

I would be very grateful if someone might be able, please, to confirm what would be the correct the number of spaces between a period and the first letter of the next sentence. For example, when tying a document/essay/letter in 'Word', I was always taught that you should leave a total of 'two' spaces. This was also true whilst learning English at school (pre-computer era):

"It was a terrible month.**November was always like this."​

But, I have also seen - in many various instances - such gaps between sentences amounting to only one single space:

"It was a terrible month.*November was always like this."


Thanks very much indeed for any kind assistance offered.

Paul (UK)

EDIT: Spaces now highlighted with '
*' (thanks emsr).
 
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emsr2d2

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Re: Correct Number of Spaces Following a Period (help?)

Way back (I'm not saying how long) when I took "Typing" as a subject at school, the norm was to leave two spaces after every full stop (period). That is rarely the style used these days. There might be some editors or publishers who insist on it but the standard spacing after a full stop is just one space (the same as after a comma, question mark, exclamation mark, closing bracket etc.)

You might notice that your browser (or this forum, I'm not sure which) automatically removed one of the two spaces you tried to put after a full stop in your first example sentence. You've ended up with two identical sentences, both with just one space after the full stop.
 

GoesStation

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Re: Correct Number of Spaces Following a Period (help?)

Never put two spaces after a period. It was conventional to do so in the old days of fixed-font typewriters. Modern word processors automatically adjust the spacing so that sentences are easy to read with a single space between them.
 
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Re: Correct Number of Spaces Following a Period (help?)

Way back (I'm not saying how long) when I took "Typing" as a subject at school, the norm was to leave two spaces after every full stop (period). That is rarely the style used these days. There might be some editors or publishers who insist on it but the standard spacing after a full stop is just one space (the same as after a comma, question mark, exclamation mark, closing bracket etc.)

You might notice that your browser (or this forum, I'm not sure which) automatically removed one of the two spaces you tried to put after a full stop in your first example sentence. You've ended up with two identical sentences, both with just one space after the full stop.

Hi emsr,

Thanks for pointing out the fact that the two spaces between the period and next sentence had been adjusted by my browser. I had amended it accordingly.

Yes, I was also taught: "two spaces after a period." I am going back to the late 1970s now and so I am not sure when this legend changed?

Again, reading books by different publishers produces different results; although mostly having just a single space (so as to preserve real estate I would have guessed?).

Cheers,

Paul
 
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Re: Correct Number of Spaces Following a Period (help?)

Never put two spaces after a period. It was conventional to do so in the old days of fixed-font typewriters. Modern word processors automatically adjust the spacing so that sentences are easy to read with a single space between them.

GoesStation,

Cheers for the 'Space Invaders' link.

Without having to worry about checking to see if I have consistently made one (or two) space between sentences (and punctuation marks) actually makes my life a lot easier now, thanks.

Paul
 
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GoesStation

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Re: Correct Number of Spaces Following a Period (help?)

The first thing that publishers do with every submitted manuscript is to replace every instance of multiple spaces with a single space.
 
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Re: Correct Number of Spaces Following a Period (help?)

The first thing that publishers do with every submitted manuscript is to replace every instance of multiple spaces with a single space.

Thanks GS,

And so, do you think that the grammatical-world in general now operates in agreement that such double-spacing is now obsolete?

Paul
 

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Re: Correct Number of Spaces Following a Period (help?)

And so, do you think that the grammatical-world in general now operates in agreement that such double-spacing is now obsolete?
The typesetting world does. Grammar is a different matter.
 

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Re: Correct Number of Spaces Following a Period (help?)

In fact, I'd hazard a guess that a large fraction of the world of people who care about English grammar continues to put two spaces after each period. There's a large contingent of people I'd describe as blind rule-followers in that population, people who learn a rule and will follow it till their last breath.
 

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Re: Correct Number of Spaces Following a Period (help?)

I know i learned to use two, and still normally do when writing documents.

The US Government Printing Office, which sets the standards for the entire government mandates only one. If you think about the number of things the government prints, the savings in paper must be enormous.
 

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Re: Correct Number of Spaces Following a Period (help?)

I know i learned to use two, and still normally do when writing documents.
It's easier to read text with a single space after each sentence-closing punctuation mark, so I encourage you to overcome the habit. Plus, you can save up all the spaces you conserve each year and donate them to charity. :)

A few years ago I learned that the method for adjusting outside rear-view mirrors that I'd been taught when I learned to drive was less effective than a simple, better one. (I was taught to set the mirrors so I could see the side of the car with my head straight up. When you think about it, you really don't need to see the side of the car when you're facing forward; it's right over there.) I learned the bad way from my father, who learned to drive in the US Army. I got to thinking that in, say, 1950, a huge percentage of licensed drivers in the US had learned from the US Army driving course or from people who learned from that course. It occurred to me that the Army might have taught this method. So far I've resisted the impulse to read the manual the Army used and learn whether my theory is correct.

This digression was meant to point out that received wisdom is not necessarily wise.
 

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Re: Correct Number of Spaces Following a Period (help?)

I would think that the extra space helps to delineate the end of a sentence better than a single one does.

Funny, cause I saw a Youtube video on a car enthusiast site a couple years ago and learned the proper way to use the mirrors, too! Everybody I know does it wrong. People put "blind spot" mirrors on their cars simply cause they don't know how to adjust them properly. It's even a feature some manufacturers build into their cars!
 

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Re: Correct Number of Spaces Following a Period (help?)

I would think that the extra space helps to delineate the end of a sentence better than a single one does.
That's why we add one when using a fixed-space font. Word processors automatically adjust spacing, following very old established typesetting practice, to optimise readability.
 
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Re: Correct Number of Spaces Following a Period (help?)

In fact, I'd hazard a guess that a large fraction of the world of people who care about English grammar continues to put two spaces after each period. There's a large contingent of people I'd describe as blind rule-followers in that population, people who learn a rule and will follow it till their last breath.

Hi GS,

But do you yourself continue to place two spaces, or have you chosen to change with the times (adapting to the modern way of thinking - call it what you will).

Paul
 
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Re: Correct Number of Spaces Following a Period (help?)

I know i learned to use two, and still normally do when writing documents.

The US Government Printing Office, which sets the standards for the entire government mandates only one. If you think about the number of things the government prints, the savings in paper must be enormous.

Hi Dave,

I always thought that the U.S. had one of the worst carbon-footprint/tree-destroying records?!

I think, if I was writing a job resume, or similar, then I would revert back to two spaces (may I call it a 'double-space'?).

Thanks,

Paul
 
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Re: Correct Number of Spaces Following a Period (help?)

It's easier to read text with a single space after each sentence-closing punctuation mark, so I encourage you to overcome the habit. Plus, you can save up all the spaces you conserve each year and donate them to charity. :)

A few years ago I learned that the method for adjusting outside rear-view mirrors that I'd been taught when I learned to drive was less effective than a simple, better one.

Hi GS,

There is a (rental) storage lock-up unit company (typically for people stuck in the middle of their house moving process) called: 'Space Savers'. Perhaps they might be interested!?

Regarding the rear-view mirror, my driving instructor used to set it high so that you had to move your head and look up so as to be able to utilize it. The reason?: well, he said that in the driving exam, many students only glance - to the left - with their eyes when they look across of it. In exam conditions, the examiner obviously can not see/follow the students eyes!, and so the candidate fails on the grounds on not using his/her rear-view mirror (despite the fact they may have done so 3/4 times per minute). Hence, moving ones head is far more noticeable (for the examiner).

Cheers,

Paul
 
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GoesStation

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Re: Correct Number of Spaces Following a Period (help?)

Hi GS,

But do you yourself continue to place two spaces, or have you chosen to change with the times (adapting to the modern way of thinking - call it what you will).

I quit using two spaces when I began using a modern word processor.
 

GoesStation

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Re: Correct Number of Spaces Following a Period (help?)

I think, if I was writing a job resume, or similar, then I would revert back to two spaces (may I call it a 'double-space'?).
No. Double-spacing is the practice of leaving a blank line between every two lines in a manuscript.
 
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Re: Correct Number of Spaces Following a Period (help?)

That's why we add one when using a fixed-space font. Word processors automatically adjust spacing, following very old established typesetting practice, to optimise readability.

Hi GS,

So , please, what should my 'Office Word' be showing me if my 'spacing' is incorrect, please? I mean, the little-red-squiggle does not appear when using a one or two spaces (after a period). Or is this something the user must configure him/herself in the 'settings' panel, please?

Cheers,

Paul
 
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Re: Correct Number of Spaces Following a Period (help?)

By the way, I should be receiving my GCSE English results of June last in the next coming week!
 
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