Saturday, January 15, 2011

Give me a [space], Vasili. One [space] Only...

"...when he sits down to type, Julian Assange reverts to an antiquated habit that would not have been out of place in the secretarial pools of the 1950s: He uses two spaces after every period. Which—for the record—is totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong."

Jesu! How I have labored to make people understand this silly little thing...I do not understand, either, how it remains with our wholly digital generation who never had to use a typewriter. As the article notes, their teachers were taught to do so and, rather than teach them WHY it was done, the new teachers just keep passing it on like the plague.

Save your children from the horrid disease and maybe we can end it in our lifetime.

5 comments:

Expatriate Owl said...

Actually, Mr. J., my high school typing teacher (yes, I took typing in high school) did teach us why! It is easier to read when there are two spaces after each sentence-ending period.

The periods which do not end sentences (such as the one above, after the "J" in Mr. J.'s name) do not get followed by two spaces.

Today, this would be called visual ergonomics.

And, by the way, Mr. J. also taught us to put THREE spaces between the 2-letter state abbreviation and the zip code. I suppose that this is also totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong by the new typing police rules.

So now, 3 spaces between state and zip code, and 2 spaces after each terminal period, are totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong.

Mr J., wherever he now is (his name does not come up on the Social Security Death Index, so he presumably is still among the living), is surely not taking the news very well.

D.W. said...

During the semester of typing I took in junior high, I was also taught to use two spaces at the end of a sentence. I still type that way today. Why is it considered wrong to do so? I ask only out of an interest in being correct when it comes to my correspondence.

Keads said...

I completed a Masters Degree several years ago. Two spaces after the period was required for any papers I submitted. Many writers references still confirm that.

LauraB said...

Apologies - I meant to include the link that explains why...
http://www.slate.com/id/2281146/

I'll have to update the post. Short story is that it dates back to the use of typewriters that were monospace. Modern tech no longer requires that for readability.

Keads said...

Ah, thanks for the link! I agree on the monospace fonts. Makes sense, but APA and other writers guides still crank out the double space!