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Sentences sentenced to head-on collisions

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Sentences sentenced to head-on collisions

Postby sluggo » Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:11 pm

I've brought this up before but as an observation that I'd like to turn into a suggestion:

I'd like to be able to double-space after a sentence.

I kind of resent having everything closed up and standardized to one space, such as the one that won't show up here>. The site is pretty good about allowing breadth of expression with emoticons, font sizes and colours-- this would be another facet of the same thing.

As it is the sentence collisions impel a greater use of ellipses to separate thoughts where a verbal fermata is intended.

Or new paragraphs.

I can't read some of my own posts without stopping and starting over at a sentence when it dawns on me that there was supposed to be a stop there.

I know this is unfortunately common in today's techoshphere (to our general detriment I believe) but if an exception could be made, it seems most appropriate that it be made on a site where words matter.
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Postby skinem » Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:46 pm

Yeah, I'd like to be able to see that as well. By habit (and training) I hi the space bar twice at the end of a sentence.

However, I'm not sure that any of the forums I haunt double-space after a sentence...in fact, I'm sure none of them do.

Not being very techy, I wouldn't know but that it may not be possible. I'm guessing most of these forum sites use some sort of template...they all seem to and perhaps that's not an option with it.

I've often thought that web designers really ought to consult more with fairly literate people rather than barely literate people before publishing a site...
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Postby skinem » Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:46 pm

skinem wrote:Yeah, I'd like to be able to see that as well. By habit (and training) I hit the space bar twice at the end of a sentence.

However, I'm not sure that any of the forums I haunt double-space after a sentence...in fact, I'm sure none of them do.

Not being very techy, I wouldn't know but that it may not be possible. I'm guessing most of these forum sites use some sort of template...they all seem to and perhaps that's not an option with it.

I've often thought that web designers really ought to consult more with fairly literate people rather than barely literate people before publishing a site...
Last edited by skinem on Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby sluggo » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:20 pm

Skinem, you've just quoted Skinem verbatim. While I employ this tactic every day for the obvious attendant prestige, the self-critique may be read as narcissistic :lol:

Glad to hear I'm not a lone in this. I originally brought this up waaaay back here.
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Postby skinem » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:37 pm

Ha! Well, if anyone deserves to be quoted...

Would you believe me if I told you I felt so strongly about it that I posted twice? No? Did I not just say I wasn't techy? Looks like I hit the "quote" button instead of the "edit" button to fix something.

Reckon I'll see if the red X works...that's just embarrassin'.

Edited to add--DOH! Looks like there's a time-limit on the "delete" X button thing...there isn't one there any more.

Great...now my narcissistic quotation of myself with attendant misspelling and grammatical errors will be there for all electronic eternity.

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Postby Slava » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:48 pm

skinem wrote:Reckon I'll see if the red X works...that's just embarrassin'.

Edited to add--DOH! Looks like there's a time-limit on the "delete" X button thing...there isn't one there any more.
Once someone has responded, you can't delete your message. You could, I imagine, simply delete all the text and post a blank message, but that would look odd, too.

As to the double-space after a period, I'd never noticed that they get stripped out when we post the message. I always put in two spaces, but never paid attention to the end result.
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Postby beck123 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:54 pm

The taboo on double spacing isn't accidental. I attended a seminar recently on "improving presentations," and one of the first thing the young, techy instructor pointed out, abosultely incorrectly, was that the use of the single space returns us to proper, early usage. He said, as though it were Gospel, that early manuscripts used the double space for "visual clarity." I was too polite to point out to him that early manuscripts used no punctuation whatsoever and no spaces at all between words or sentences. Many of them were actually palimpsests, demonstrating for certain their lack of desire for "visual clarity."

Oh, well. We are up against it.
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Postby saparris » Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:29 pm

I'd like to be able to double-space after a sentence.


I learned the following when studying typography, and I think I'm right. Feel free to check out other sources, though.

Early manuscripts had no double spacing after periods. They were MANUSCRIPTS, so the amount of spacing after a period or other mark of punctuation was up to the writer.

With the advent of typesetting and typewriters, other conventions emerged. The double space after a period in a typescript was no more than a means of emphasizing the end of a sentence (in case the key for the period didn't strike the ribbon clearly, for instance.)

When the typescript was set by a typographer, the double space always became a single space. Look at your books, which are typeset, and you will not find a double space after a period.

The same holds for underlining, which is a typographical signal to the typesetter to italicize the underlined word or words. The same also holds true for dashes: two dashes on a typewriter equals an em dash in typography.

When we write using a word processing prrgram (or on a forum such as this one), we are not typing; we are typesetting. Admittedly, our choices are limited here, but they are not limited in Word or other programs that enable us to input text. We can bold, italicize, change fonts, change colors, etc. (In fact, the manual to Microsoft Word--when they used to give you one--made the point about double spacing after periods somewhere in the text.)

And that is why we don't double space after periods anymore. We're no longer typing.
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Postby sluggo » Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:16 pm

saparris wrote:
I'd like to be able to double-space after a sentence.


With the advent of typesetting and typewriters, other conventions emerged. The double space after a period in a typescript was no more than a means of emphasizing the end of a sentence...


Of course, for we needed the anomaly of the extra space to give us that cue to pause (sorry, the occasional period not striking hard enough seems quite the stretch). Certainly I have an easier time reading this text before it's posted (with the double spaces as I write it) than after it goes up and gets squnched.

But I have to disagree about typesetting customs. I just checked a couple of books and newspapers at random and what I saw is double spaces throughout. The only exception is where the newspaper column-justifies to keep a straight border, in which case spaces are negotiable, but where the column is left ragged --again there's a double space. And when I actually worked on typesetting a paper I don't remember ever squeezing to a single space-- on the contrary, we proofread to make sure it was doubled, and if it wasn't we made it so.

I believe this single-space jazz is a computer anomaly, else it would not stand out to the eye as it does. Some cyberlord decided for whatever reason to render software such as the one we use here to ignore consecutive spaces, and I think it's to our detriment. Maybe it was a keystroke-saving device from the days when every byte had to be counted?

Note also that word processing programs don't force a single space, but let the writer write.
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Postby saparris » Tue Mar 02, 2010 4:07 pm

FYI, here are several articles re single vs.double spacing. Certainly, there's nothing wrong with double spacing, but most printed matter now has single spacing after periods. Go back and look at your books, and I think you're see a preponderance of single spacing. These spaces might be slightly different because of the use of variable-width fonts instead of fixed-width fonts, since v-w fonts depend on the sized of the each letter.

Double spacing at the end of sentences
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_spa ... _sentences

Use One Space Between Sentences
http://desktoppub.about.com/cs/typespac ... spaces.htm

How Many Spaces After A Period?

http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/sp ... tence.aspx

Double-space after a full stop - yes or no?
http://www.a3webtech.com/index.php/doub ... -stop.html
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Postby Audiendus » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:27 pm

I think the problem lies with this particular font (which I don't much like anyway). It tends to make a single space after a period look like less than a single space, particularly when it is followed by a wide initial letter. Like sluggo, I would prefer to be able to double-space.

This problem does not arise with the fonts commonly used in typeset books. There, the single spaces after periods do not give the impression of squeezing.
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Postby Slava » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:29 pm

So, what it boils down to is that those of us who learned to type on a typewriter are out of luck. We have no choice in the matter in most instances. I still do it automatically anyway, even knowing that it's going to be removed. Perverse, I believe is the adjective.

Sigh.

Sorry, Sluggo, we lose.
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Postby sluggo » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:31 pm

Interesting links there, worthy of later perusal, though a cursory look shows they're split on the appropriateness of single vs. double.

Clearly fonts and their pitches and proportionality factor in, but the bottom line is I didn't even think of bringing this up as a result of counting spaces and finding a discrepancy; I brought it up reactively, because I've always found as I read these posts, one sentence crashes into the next and requires a stop-and-review to locate the full stops, and this slows down the reading process. Maybe it's a feature of the fonts this site uses? Whatever. If the end result is fixed, I don't really care what the site does with the two spaces I put in automatically.

It's not a principle issue, but a practical one. The present system is simply not working. We have no paper resource here, and server capacities no longer require this scale of a budget, so it really doesn't cost anything to simply make posts legible. Again, it would seem on a language board to be a given.

edit: Two posts appeared while writing this and I think Audiendus makes a worthy point (pun intended).

I also think whoever decreed that double spaces "look like holes in the page" is injecting their own subjectivity that would not find universal concurrence. I've never noticed such a thing, although I can find them if I consciously go hunting for them. Maybe it's a matter of different strokes for different brains.
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Postby Slava » Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:07 pm

If you want to change the font, that is possible. You have to be willing to make it a universal change, though. I don't see a way to do it by individual site.

If you use Firefox, PM me and I can tell you how.
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Postby sluggo » Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:37 pm

I've given up on Firefox (again) but the onus should not be on the end-user anyway-- if the site is using an illegible font, it should be the site that makes the change, otherwise we're addressing symptoms instead of the disease.
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