Monthly Archives: February 2012

One Space, Dag Blast It!

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A little rant, not so much on writing as on punctuation.

 

Just as writers know that the rule against starting sentences with prepositions is archaic, shouldn’t we also realize that the use of two spaces after a punctuation point is also outdated?

I’m amazed that the two-spaces axiom still arises in various writing discussions. You can find them on Chicago Manual of Style discussions. You find them on the A Way with Words podcasts. Terry Gross has even discussed it with tech writer Farhad Manjoo on NPR’s Fresh Air.

Here is what Manjoo said: “Two spaces is wrong.” The reason it used to be two spaces is because of the old days of manual typesetting. In it, a particular type of font made the space and width between and of characters the same. That led to easier readability. Today, however, we can easily read the space between words.

“The two-space rule is really a holdover from typewriters. The reason you and every one else was taught it in school was their teachers learned to type on typewriters, but we no longer use typewriters.”

Therefore, stop it. If you remain reluctant to give up the old-school and erroneous method of abusing space, read what Manjoo wrote here on Slate.