Number of spaces after a fullstop.

Discussion in 'Community' started by TMA, Apr 19, 2005.

  1. TMA macrumors 6502a

    TMA

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    England
    #1
    Does anyone else put two spaces after a fullstop or at the end of a sentence? I was once taught to do this and it's stuck, I personally think it looks neater. But is it technically 'correct'? Are there any rules of English Language for typing rather than pen and paper?
     
  2. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #2
    I don't believe you need to do that anymore. It was common practice on a typewriter, which has no ability to control spacing for letters, but on a computer I've been told that it can handle that on it's own.

    And yes there are rules. MLA format works for many Literature types, and there are several other formats that other fields/industries have developed.
     
  3. TMA thread starter macrumors 6502a

    TMA

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    #3
    Just noticed...

    After posting on this forum the two spaces seem to get automatically turned into a single space. How odd!
     
  4. grapes911 Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

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    #4
    I know MLA allows either. Its up to the typer.
     
  5. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

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    #5
    mactastic is spot on – it's a hangover from the days of the typewriter, where the monospaced characters made it difficult to see where sentences started. The fonts you use on your Mac are properly proportioned so this isn't a problem. Typographically, using two spaces is a big no-no – but try telling that to my clients who send me copy filled with the bloody things. :mad:
     
  6. TMA thread starter macrumors 6502a

    TMA

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    #6
    When I write something on paper I was always taught in school to leave a slightly bigger space at the end of a sentence compared to the space between words. The only way to recreate that on screen is to use 2 spaces. And I do think it looks a lot better. I write all my emails at work and professional documents (e.g CV's) like this.
     
  7. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #7
    There is no one official body that determines correct English language usage, but I've worked in a variety of environments as an editor and most style guides seems to agree on one space.
     
  8. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    #8
    Single space is the most widely accepted style these days.

    AP, Chicago, MLA, Websters....
     
  9. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

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    Jan 6, 2004
    #9
    ive always used two spaces myself, but each formatting style has different rules, i mainly use MLA or Chicago style depending on the subject

    i just prefer the way in which the sentence and paragraph layout looks when i type this way, but im quirky like that...
     
  10. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #10
    Looks like we got ourselves a good, old fashioned grammer debate goin' here.

    I would like to add that there's absolutely no good reason no to split infinitives.
     
  11. TMA thread starter macrumors 6502a

    TMA

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    #11
    I'm not familiar with 'MLA' or 'Chicago' styles, could someone explain to me what they are? Is there anything similar in the UK that might be a useful example?
     
  12. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

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    #12
    Typewriters may have been monospaced, but simply using a computer instead doesn't automatically resolve the problem. If you know that text will come out in a monospaced font, you can make it easier to read by putting two spaces between sentences.

    Sometimes extra whitespace is removed by the software you use, such as in forum posts or HTML, unless you use tags like code or pre to preserve them. The software used to produce your end-product (whether it's a printed document, an e-mail, a book, or the credits scrolling by during a movie) have the last say about formatting.

    The letter of the law (which isn't a law anyway) doesn't matter as much as the principle behind it. The easier you make it to read what you write, the more people will read it. So the same rule applies to your choice of font.
     
  13. TMA thread starter macrumors 6502a

    TMA

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    #13
    hehe are you sure you don't mean 'grammar' ? ;)

    I don't see this getting into a debate, it's just a preference surely?
     
  14. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

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    #14

    here is a good page that i use whenever i need to do some formatting for my papers, maybe it will help
     
  15. feakbeak macrumors 6502a

    feakbeak

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    Michigan
    #15
    Most web forms eliminate extra spaces. It is actually done natively because HTML ignores white space, if you want to intentationally add a non-breaking space in HTML you have to use a   character.

    Personally, I almost always use two spaces at the end of a sentence. I was taught that way in high school and right or wrong, I've grown accustomed to it and believe it looks better. Even if I were to change my mind now, I don't think I could stop doing it - old habits die hard.

    Edit: Did a quick search. There are a bunch of HTML space characters. I had only seen   before.

      - thin space
    &sp; - medium space
      - thick space
    &quad; - huge space
     
  16. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #16
    Yeah, I noticed that after I typed it, but didn't feel like changing it. I am an awful speller.

    Oh, and unless you're producing a newspaper, you should always use the serial comma!

    C'mon debate...
     
  17. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #17
    WTF is a "serial comma" when it's at home? :confused:

    And shouldn't that be "C'mon <comma> debate"? ;)
     
  18. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #18
    MLA = Modern Language Association. They're a body that puts out best practices in literature, basically, but they're one of the more influential bodies for how academic texts are formatted. Most academic fields have organizations that govern how information is reported by scholars. For instance, in my field, there is the American Psychological Association, which has a style guide similar to MLA's, but for psychological treatises, encompassing issues that don't arise outside of psychology so commonly. I don't know what the UK equivalent would be, but you might start here:

    http://www.oup.co.uk/isbn/0-19-860564-1
     
  19. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #19
    Fowler's Modern English Usage used to be the linguistic bible once, but it's not been reprinted for a while now.
     
  20. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #20
    Last comma in a series. I like hunchbacks, sidecars, and Vernon.
     
  21. TMA thread starter macrumors 6502a

    TMA

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    #21
    I somehow got an A grade for GCSE English even though I'm piss poor at spelling and grammar. I guess it shows how standards slip.

    What the flip is a serial comma? Are you going to force me to google?
     
  22. TMA thread starter macrumors 6502a

    TMA

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    #22
    It's definitely wrong to put a comma before an 'and'.
     
  23. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #23
    My Technical Communications instructor when I was an undergrad claimed that engineers are the worlds' biggest fans of the serial comma, and in comparison, that relatively few others use it. I don't know if it's true or not.

    When I *was* producing a newspaper, I drummed it into myself that this was the wrong way of doing things, and got into the habit of perpetually typing them and then deleting them...hmmm...maybe I should go back to my roots. :)
     
  24. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #24
    Apparently some fairly influential people on both sides of the pond (Oxford and Harvard) disagree with you.

    http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-oxf1.htm
     
  25. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #25
    It's good for more techincal/academic documents, as well as clarity in general. While not using a serial comma is fairly clear in sentences that have single item lists, in more complex lists the serial comma is really useful.
     

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