Pet peeve redemption! Double space be gone!

For years, I’ve been pestering people to stop using two spaces after a period when typing . My pleas fell on deaf ears and to my horror I found that people actually didn’t care! They claimed something they called ‘priorities’.

The use of double spaces is a throwback to the days before computers, before even IBM Selectric typewriters, when two spaces were visually necessary as there was no kerning – every keystroke, be it an “i” or an “M” or a “;” took up the same horizontal space. We needed that double space so our eyes could sort it all out.

Even then though, they  were never employed in typography. Fonts controlled  word and letter spaces, making text much easier to read.

So when IBM Selectrics and then computers entered the scene with fonts for all, the old double space was retired. Or it was supposed to be, except a few hundred million people didn’t get the message.

Today, Slate explains it all, and I am redeemed (I hope) amongst those friends who’d taken to covering their ears upon any mention of ‘spaces’. I shall immediately make them aware that I was, ahem, right.

10 responses to “Pet peeve redemption! Double space be gone!

  1. Finally an important issue…the single vs double space conundrum. Is there a right answer? Personally I still need the extra space for these poor eyes. Maybe it’s a pre baby boomer phenomonon…something to ponder…single vs double spaces after periods. Will I ever be able to get to sleep tonight.

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  2. You mean I have something in common with the kids…oh happy days!

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  3. I learned how to type on one of those old, black Underwood typewriters in high school in 1962. I’m still very fast at it and pretty darn accurate. If I had to change now, my head would probably explode. Period.

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    • Can’t believe you’ve still got one. I owned a Remington – the tall one. I loved that machine! No idea where it is now.

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      • The Underwood was in typing class. I never owned one personally, although maybe if I did it might be worth something now on eBay. I just meant I can type (on a computer keyboard) pretty fast and that having to think about spacing between sentences would probably throw off my game. I’d be forever backspacing to get rid of that extra space. You know, old dog, new tricks….

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        • I have found that since the introduction of Windows and thus the mouse (yes I iz old) my keyboard skills have slowed down. I used to be fast as lightning (wanna race texas?) but moving my right hand off hte keyboard to use the mouse and then coming back – skill set has degraded.

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  4. Attending high school in the 1980s, I was probably among the last group to take typing as a course. Sadly, to this day, I cannot finish a sentence without double spacing after the period. That is strange, I suppose, considering that HTML tends to remove those extra spaces by default. I had never even considered it until now.

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    • HTML does do that, but word processing programs mostly don’t. I did a lot of editing in my last job and until I discovered I could do a global action (like change all those doubles to singles), I used to go thru other people’s copy deleting the damn spaces. A very serious waste of time since no one cared but me.

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