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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Space-Space a No-No 

I took typing in the ninth grade (and by the way my teacher would later marry one of the other guys who leads singing in my church, whose eldest son purchased my bass guitar) and I was taught to always put two spaces after a period or a colon. Twenty years later (I still am having a very difficult time grasping the concept that I was in high school twenty years ago...) I'm learning that we don't do that anymore.

At least that what the folks at the University of Chicago Press, Get it Write, and have to say. The most common argument comes down to the difference between typewriting (which uses monospaced fonts) and typesetting (which uses proportional fonts). Why don't you be the judge? Which looks better?

<-one space?

or two?->

As for me, I'm finding that old habits die hard. So even though all of my double spaces are rendered as single when I blog, I still hit the space bar twice after every period and colon. This could improve the readability of my emails, which are often still viewed in a fixed-width format. However, when I'm turning in a paper for a grade, one of the last things that I do before spell check is Ctrl-H and replace all double spaces with a single.

Fortunately, the APA won't return my manuscripts based on spacing after punctuation.

(This article by Peter Bilak on Illegibility offers some interesting insight on the broader topic of typography as well.)

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