Time and (double) space

PublishingMojo's picture

I'm curious to see if others are observing the same anachronism that I am.
I used to take it for granted that people would type text with two word spaces after a period, because that's how you learned it on a typewriter. I patiently searched and replaced the double word spaces with single word spaces when importing text into a page layout program.
That was years ago. Now, the workforce is well-stocked with men and women who have never touched a typewriter, maybe never even seen one except in the movies. They don't know what monospaced letters are, or why such things existed. And yet . . . they type two word spaces after a period. It's as if they were reflexively waving their left hands at the end of every line to push a phantom carriage return (if you don't know what that is, click here).
Do any of you notice this? Can any of you (especially those under 35) tell me how this archaic habit survived into the 21st Century?

Sindre's picture

It must be a cultural thing. I've worked as a editor and newspaper designer here in Norway for ten years, editing journalists of all ages, and have never encountered double spaces after periods. But I've read several other Americans lamenting the same phenomenon, so it's obviously quite wide-spread over there.

paragraph's picture

I met quite sane people who did it for aesthetics, they preferred the wider gap. And I often encounter it around a word in italic as well, for the same reason. We won't be able to forget search & replace yet :(

Bendy's picture

Colleagues of mine often do double (and even triple) spaces. I guess they think it looks nice but I haven't actually asked why. I always search and replace. They also do odd things with slash and space like/ this.

cerulean's picture

The cycle of education is resistant to new information. If people know they're supposed to do something but don't know why, it will last forever.

bowerbird's picture

i honestly don't know, so i will ask: do you think there should be
a larger space at the end of a sentence than a normal word-space?

what would most typographers say?

if you believe the space _should_ be bigger, then i would say that
most people would agree with you, and because they have seen
that most of the programs they use (including word-processors)
do not make that space larger, they're merely doing it themselves.

-bowerbird

guifa's picture

I never typed seriously on a typewriter (only playing around as a kid on my dad's old one, but I already had a computer by that time) and I've always used two spaces. For me, it's just another unit of division. Book, chapter, section, subsection, paragraph, sentence. The double space helps me quickly (and unobtrusively) find each sentence in a paragraph, but isn't so much that it makes wide gaps. It also makes it clear when a period is used as an abbreviation mark or as an end-of-sentence mark. Disambiguation is rarely a bad thing, especially when it doesn't make the text look bad. (I've never understood why people think that two spaces = unprofessional looking).

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

Smab's picture

It's because of teachers who were told to do it that way telling their students that they should do it that way. My mom's one of the teachers that does this.
Either I've been overlooking this all along or most the people I know don't put two spaces after a sentence.

paragraph's picture

It's my understanding that in type there is only a single space after any punctuation, with the exception of list indices with fullstops which need more space, like EN.

PublishingMojo's picture

I recall hearing the terms "English spacing" and "French spacing," meaning respectively, double and single spaces after a period. This is consistent with Satyagraha's observation that preferences vary from one country (or language) to another. Is it only the US that has a disconnect between "typing," where everyone is taught to double-space, and "professional typesetting," which almost always requires a single space?

guifa's picture

Cerulean, I would ask why specifically one should use only a single space.

Academia is open to new ideas, but only if it actually shows a benefit. Working as a teacher now and being a child of the internet age, having sent my first e-mail in 1989 when I was 4, and programming from shortly thereafter, I'm not convinced of the benefit of computers in education (at least in foreign languages). I was forced to use it teaching as a grad student and I saw no benefit, if anything the opposite: it was all a money-grabbing ploy by the book companies that resulted in extra work for everyone with no extra benefit. *

For me the only benefit with one space was to crunch an extra letter or two per line in a newspaper or magazina, something that didn't have much importance most other print media. So, it's always seemed to me an economic decision instead of an aesthetic. That or an arbitrary rule. I'm sure every now and then I'll use a single space or a space and a half if it looks better given the font.

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

* This is not to say I can't have my mind changed. But what I think would work hasn't been developed and I don't yet feel like doing it myself.

nepenthe's picture

One good reason against using a longer sentence space is obviously to produce an even color in the textblock. But most young students, even today, are taught by their teachers to double the word space--as if the period and following capital letter weren't a sure enough sign.

But the doublespace is not just a typewriter thing. I've seen it in a number of older books. Many of my philosophy books have a larger sentence space. But if you'll notice, most books set on composition machines seem to have a wider average word space then texts set on computers. Modern texts seem to have a word space of about 6- to 4-to-em spaces, while it is not uncommon to see 3-to-em and wider on the older books. I find that this gappy word spacing actually makes the wider sentence spaces seem less noticeable, since the ratio of normal to wide appears less than with the tighter spacing.

I suppose if you thought it were important to make the beginnings of a sentence visibly obvious when scanning the page--I can't think of a situation in which this would be important--then you might want to keep that second space. But if the document is something which lends itself to continuous reading, such as a novel, I'm not sure that one could defend it except by appeal to subjective preference.

charles ellertson's picture

Yes, it is a matter of custom, of audience. Like so many things, this custom isn't simply a "national" matter.

When I started setting type, the 4-5-7 rule was in effect for the value of the word spacing used to set justified copy. That's 4 to 7 units of space, using an 18-unit em. Anyway, we got a literary journal to set. My now-wife was in charge of design and production, and agreed to a simple test. I set an article using 4-5-7 spacing, and reset it, using 5-6-8 spacing. The design people at the press were asked which they preferred; all of them preferred the 4-5-7. Then the editorial people were asked which they preferred. They preferred the 5-6-8 spacing.

There are any number of such examples, but at most publishing houses, the aesthetic of the design & production people rules, for the simple reason that they are the ones who control paying for manufacturing -- or increasingly today, do the work. The larger audience doesn't get a voice.

FWIW

PublishingMojo's picture

I always thought that people (Americans, anyway) double-spaced after a period because monospaced alphabets have loose spacing generally. Monospaced type mostly disappeared* thanks to cheap plug-and-play laser printers, and I mistakenly assumed that loose sentence spacing would disappear along with it.

*For everyone except programmers.

guifa's picture

as if the period and following capital letter weren’t a sure enough sign.

I went to the store today and saw Dr. Roberts there. Mrs. Roberts was also there and we all talked.

paragraph's picture

Same here, Victor, that's the explanation I always believed. It could even have come from one of the early manuals or tutorials with PostScript fonts, from Aldus PageMaker documentation or Adobe Type. When we marked up manuscripts for setting here, we did not worry about this, as it was the domain of the typesetters. It was only after word-processors and desktop type & layout arrived, that a designer had to know this.

Matthew, you nailed it! However, the current local usage here is that most of these do not use the full stop anymore as long as the last letter of the word and the contraction coincide. So, its Dr Roberts and Mrs Roberts anyway, and no problem. And Times St and Hevetica Rd and Gotham Bld and Museo Ave and St Typophile Church on the summit of Mt Argument.

PublishingMojo's picture

Jan, I like the British (and Australian) convention of abbreviating titles (Mr, Dr, St, Rd, Mt) without periods, because it keeps paragraphs from becoming cluttered with unnecessary and confusing punctuation marks. But I think it has about as much chance of being adopted here in the US as the metric system does.

gillo's picture

I'm under 35 and I type two spaces after a period automatically without thinking about it. I read somewhere that you're not supposed to do that so now whenever I'm typing up something important I have to go back through and remove the extra spaces. I don't know where I picked up the habit (I suppose in the requisite "keyboarding" class I had to take in junior high) but now it's like a muscle memory thing and I can't stop. I'd have to painstakingly re-learn how to type in order to break the habit, I think.

charles ellertson's picture

Jan, I like the British (and Australian) convention of abbreviating titles (Mr, Dr, St, Rd, Mt) without periods, because it keeps paragraphs from becoming cluttered with unnecessary and confusing punctuation marks. . . .

So, how about initials -- like G. E. M. Anscombe? You drop the periods here, too? BTW, Chicago style (U.S. academic) requires a space between such initials. So if you have to set, say, W. A. Smith, P. A. Jones, etc., there is a hell of a gap between the initials.

In some ways, things are worse with modern thinking: where the space can have a kern, you can really get things mucked up with some constructions. Kerning with three letters rather than pairs only might solve some of that, with the expense of a lot of kerning work.

William Berkson's picture

Bringhurst--the Elements of Typographic Style--and Felici--the Complete Manual of Typography--strongly reject double spaces after sentences. The Chicago Manual of Style rules against them as well--both in manuscripts and in final publication.

I agree. I think it only made sense: 1. In trying to make high contrast 'modern' typefaces in the 19th century, which were relatively unreadable, more readable in extended text. 2. When using monospaced typewriters, or monospaced fonts that imitate them.

Because of the big space around a period, and the following cap, one word space between sentences still gives plenty of space to distinguish it from a normal word space. You could argue for slightly more, I suppose, but I just can't see a full extra word space as defensible.

There is such unanimity on this, at least in English, and has such a force of logic behind it--you put unnecessarily big holes in the text--that I think to double word space after sentences at this point in time is a blunder to be avoided. It is defensible if imitating a typewriter, but otherwise I don't see how.

I think even color and compactness also argue for no spaces in intermediate initials--M.F.K. Fisher--as Bringhurst advocates. But Chicago Manual of Style disagrees.

In publishing whatever the money wants is more important that typographic nicety, but from a typographic point of view no double spacing really makes sense.

DTY's picture

I think even color and compactness also argue for no spaces in intermediate initials—M.F.K. Fisher—as Bringhurst advocates. But Chicago Manual of Style disagrees.

Being both an editor and a typesetter, I make a compromise on this (and on some similar issues, like ellipses). I use thin spaces or sixth spaces, depending on the typeface. I've found that it makes enough space that other editors won't object (or haven't so far, anyway), while keeping the gaps within reason.

paragraph's picture

I think even color and compactness also argue for no spaces in intermediate initials—M.F.K. Fisher—as Bringhurst advocates.

My favourite usage as well, as it also prevents really bad line breaks, such as H.
G. Wells wrote ...

Si_Daniels's picture

>2. When using monospaced typewriters, or monospaced fonts that imitate them.

I've not read the whole thread - but today there's a good chance the text you write in proportional fonts is going to end up in some "plain-text" format displayed in a fixed pitch font as it whizzes across the interwebs - most notably in email (or when cut and pasted into the Typophile's edit window). So maybe double spacing is good insurance for that.

nepenthe's picture

@guifa Abbreviations aren't usually a source of confusion in these cases. However, if the text were like this: "Just then I went to talk with the Dr. Roberts was waiting outside. So I had to make it quick ..." the reader would definitely be confused. Is ruining page colour worth it for such rare circumstances?

Nobody's mentioned it, so I think I will. I believe TeX allows you to adjust the sentence space to be a proportion of the regular word space. This allows for spaces to be, say, 1.5 the regular word space, which can look quite nice, depending on the typographic context. Ah, so many wonderful features in TeX ... if all you're setting is text.

I wonder if anyone's ever made a font that has two periods, one for names and one for abbreviations, to help avoid reader confusion? And while we're at it, let's distinguish commas from single brackets already—they have two different meanings!—But I digress :)

guifa's picture

Nepenthe, that's my point. To my the page colour isn't "ruined" at all and results in better diferentiation. As well, the difference between a hyphen, n-, and m-dash can create the same difference when 99% of the time people would understand a text using only hyphens.

TeX is surprisingly nice for typography, especially XeTeX which supports a large range of OpenType features. Sad that most people just default to computer modern.

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

nina's picture

“plain-text” format displayed in a fixed pitch font"

Seconded. I've seen the double space used quite a bit on usenet and in e-mail, and especially by mostly very young people who prefer to type in lowercase only.
In that context, the double space really helps in that you can actually see where a sentence begins.

charles ellertson's picture

@ Jan,

preventing such bad breaks is the typesetters responsibility, not the font makers.

@ All of you,

There seems to be a profound difference in thinking between many people who make type, and people who use type, or just read. Theory & practice, I suppose, but the world is better when the two are close to each other.

As for not using a space between initials: Quick, how many of you kern the period after a W, T, V, etc.? Most everybody. And a number of fonts I've seen have the period kerned so tightly the advance after the period places the next character closer to a "W+period" sequence than to a plain "W". Now, how many of you also kern a period going *into* W, V, T, etc? Not as many, but some.

All right, with such kerning, set "T.T.", "T.W." "W.W." etc. and watch things overlap.

* * *

I too tried using the thin space between initials, and about the 5th book, got some "P.E.--use equal space" with the space between initials and a word space circled. Just because editors don't agree with you doesn't mean they don't have a good eye.

Likely these were on looser lines, which are sometimes unavoidable (like when "strengthen" is trying to be the last word on the first line of a paragraph). But occasionally, you wind up using a word space smaller than a thin space in a justified setting, and the the thin-spaced initials again stick out.

kentlew's picture

Charles, it is for the reasons similar to those you cite that when kerning the period, comma, and quotes with diagonal capitals, I always cue off sequences such as V.’ and A’. to be sure that things aren't kerned so tightly as to create bad collisions.

In text faces, it is easy to err in the direction of too tight kerning.

-- Kent.

nepenthe's picture

I imagine that a reader who is neither a typographer nor a type designer would either notice or care if word and sentence spaces are are easy to distinguish, at least not while reading. Just like many people don't notice whether there's space around a dash or not, or whether letters are perfectly spaced, and other subtle things like that. It seems to me that even collisions in combinations like "T.T" and "T.V" are more of a concern for typographers than readers. Would I care if I saw such a collision? Of course! Would many others? Probably not. So I guess it is up to the preference of who ever is paying the bill or whoever controls the typesetting choices. I can definitely see the advantage from a functional, as opposed to aesthetic, perspective of using a wider word space. But I've never heard anyone who wasn't involved in type-related fields ever mention that they wish typeset materials would return to the wider space, or that the continuous word spacing poses a challenge to their reading.

I'm finding this really interesting. I had always just dogmatically assumed a preference for consistent spaces for everything but abbreviations, where I prefer thin spaces. But I typeset using mostly my own fonts, which are kerned to accommodate this usage. It seems that there is a stronger argument for using wider sentence spaces than I thought! Although I do think a ratio of 1.5:1 would be greatly preferable to 2:1.

William Berkson's picture

>by mostly very young people who prefer to type in lowercase only.

Typing in lower case only is a sign of callow youth that thinks it's discovered a better way, and are going to teach their elders. They generally wise up after some time.

The most serious effort at no caps was the Bayer, whose desire to do away with caps was a part of the movement in Germany to reject Blackletter, without simply imitating the rest of Europe. The idea was to use only all sans, no caps. (German capitalizes all nouns as well as beginnings of sentences.) It flopped also, though the Bauhaus effort to establish sans as useful in text has won out as an option.

Lowercase-only is a much worse practice than double spacing after sentences, because it slows the reader down by removing an expected symbol of the beginning of a new sentence.

It's interesting that TeX enables you to adjust space after sentences. I assume you have to tell the computer that a sentence has ended, as I don't know how you could distinguish an initial or abbreviation from a sentence end otherwise.

You can also play with this in InDesign using an additional thin space after sentences. I just can't see a double space as an improvement, except for monospaced fonts--and honestly I don't even see a double space as helping there either, because the period takes such a huge "M" space in a monospaced font anyway.

Charles, I think over kerning of punctuation, such as is done in Minion, is a bad idea. It seems that Slimbach, who is great otherwise, has thought better of it in more recent fonts, though I don't have them myself, to check in detail.

Speaking of thin spaces, do you have an opinion on what thin space is most useful? I read thin spaces as 1/4, 1/5, and 1/6 em. What is best?

charles ellertson's picture

Bill (as I take a break from placing 95 pictures with long captions in a 700+ page book), I don't think there is any answer. If you ask an old Linotype operator, he'd tell you that a thin space is an unexpanded spaceband -- about 2 points if you are using thin spacebands. Of course, the Linotype linecaster wasn't on the em-system; a Monotype operator would give a different answer.

With modern computer fonts, back from the days when I was using TeX, I've used 155 units (1,000 unit em) for a thin space. I've been edging downward; sometimes using as little as 100 units. For me, a thin space should be recognizably smaller that the smallest wordspace that could occur with a justified setting. Obviously, with condensed fonts you need a correspondingly smaller value for a useful thinspace.

What I put in Unicode 2009 depends on the font and it's nominal wordspace. I'm having to adjust -- TeX wordspaces are not characters, and you can program whatever you want for other spaces more or less "on the fly." InDesign requires both to be "in the font."

My starting point is a thinspace (2009) about 150 units, with a hairspace (200A) about 55 units.

BTW, we never used "French spacing" with TeX, but there is a way to signal when to use it in the file. Offhand, I can't remember just how.

smellingoranges's picture

This is one of my biggest pet peeves. The main reason it is still happening is because teachers are still teaching it despite the fact that many manuals of style have changed to the 1 space rule. If you don't believe me (or my sources in graphic design training), check with the "goddesses of all things editorial" The Chicago Manual of Style.

For those of you who asked why one space is better or necessary really surprise me. Perhaps you aren't designers or typesetters, but this was something I was taught back in Design 101. Two spaces after a period is only necessary and required on a typewriter or a font like Courier (which you hopefully aren't using). It does not look better with 2 spaces. Books are not professionally set with two spaces, even when typewriters were the big dogs, since books were laid out and printed on a press. Pull down any book on your shelf—you won't find two spaces between sentences. We don't need the extra space to tell us when a new sentence has started. Now, with the creation of fonts and computers, the extra space is actually distracting. If you are a designer, especially a layout designer, you should know and vehemently follow this. It isn't a matter of whether or not people are actually going to notice or care. The premise of graphic design in the first place is to do something so beautiful that the design disappears and the content takes precedence. Design should never be distracting.

bowerbird's picture

ok, i'll ask again: do book designers commonly use
a "sentence-space" that is larger than a word-space?

i believe they should.

further, i agree with the poster above who said that
a sentence-space should be about 1.5 times bigger.
(actually, i think 1.25 is probably even big enough.
yes, 2 times bigger is _far_ too big. but it's better
to go even that far than not to have any difference.)

i only use one space at the end of a sentence _when_
i'm sending the text to a typesetting program, since
i _expect_ that program will create that larger space
_automatically_. but when i am dealing with an app
which doesn't do it automatically, i use two spaces...

"even color" is good, but when it misleads a reader to
poorer recognition of the presence of a new sentence,
it's not doing its job. it's not the only value out there.
any kind of a break -- e.g., paragraph indent -- is the
correct place to introduce an extra bit of whitespace...

-bowerbird

p.s. oh yeah, and i really dislike apps, like browsers,
which not only fail to auto-create a sentence-space,
but also actually throw away the extra space i used...

guifa's picture

For those of you who asked why one space is better or necessary really surprise me. Perhaps you aren’t designers or typesetters, but this was something I was taught back in Design 101

I, like most people, was taught a lot of things as an undergraduate, and then learned better in grad school and in the real world. The saying as you know is you need to know the rules to break them (to an extent, of course :) ).

But since you quote the Chicago Manual of Style, I'll kindly note that the Modern Language Association whose format I almost universally have to use, allows either style.

1.5 is probably best, though in quick correspondence or draft copies, I find 2 spaces to be preferable to 1 (plus, if you want to go back and mass change when prepping a final document, it's easier to go 2->1.5 instead of 1->1.5)

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

nepenthe's picture

@charles I think it's \frenchspacing and \nofrenchspacing, but I don't remember exactly either.

I think that to distinguish abbreviations, you would place a non-breaking space between letters rather than a regular word space. E.g. "V.~T. Smitherington".

kentlew's picture

> ok, i’ll ask again: do book designers commonly use
a “sentence-space” that is larger than a word-space?

No.

Don McCahill's picture

> It’s interesting that TeX enables you to adjust space after sentences. I assume you have to tell the computer that a sentence has ended, as I don’t know how you could distinguish an initial or abbreviation from a sentence end otherwise.

Actually, it is the other way around. You use a special character after an abbreviation to indicate that it is not a full stop.

will powers's picture

<< a Monotype operator would give a different answer. >>

Indeed, Charles, there was a way to get very thin spacing on a Monotype. Late-model machines employed a feature called "unit adding." With this one could add space to the right side of the last letter in a word and delete the word space following. This could give very thin space between words.

There was also the possibility to subtract units from the body of some sorts and thus achieve, for instance, a kerned Wa combination right off the caster. In large display that was a huge bonus because the hand comp would not have to fiddle with the saw to make the kern.

Exactly how unit adding worked in concert with the Monotype's justifying system I do not know. I never learned the unit adding technique because my time as a Mono keyboarder was pretty short. Good keyboard operators could make great looking lines of type with these and some other tricks. I hope someone is teaching these tricks to the hardy band of young folks who are learning Monotypes today.

powers

nina's picture

William: I mentioned the "lowercase generation" because I find it kind of funny/cute to observe how young hipsters, who refute traditional stuff! even capitalization!, sometimes refer back to something as quaint as the typewriter habit of double spaces, like a last faint attempt to make their sentences readable… (See, our very own lowercase bird does this too.)

bowerbird's picture

kentlew said:
> No.

ok, good. thanks.

now let me be a bit more specific.

although bringhurst doesn't see any need for sentence-space
that's larger than the normal word-space, the _default_ in tex
is for an enlarged sentence-space, is it not?

and, to prevent this from happening incorrectly mid-sentence,
the exception to this is when the word which is terminated with
a period is capitalized, the assumption being it's an abbreviation?

indeed, the mere fact that the term "sentence-space" _exists_
means typographers differentiate it from "word-space", not?

the /frenchspacing declaration turns the tex default _off_, not?
which implies a sentence-space is expected _in_english_, not?

so i guess the more specific form of the question would be "what
_percentage_ of book-designers use an enlarged sentence-space?"

note that by "enlarged", i emphatically do _not_ mean twice as large.

and a follow-up question would be, "has this percentage changed
in the last 100 years or so?" i ask this because i'm accustomed to
working with public-domain texts, and i'm quite certain that these
older books did indeed typically use an enlarged sentence-space.

***

altaira said:
> William: I mentioned the “lowercase generation”

i find it amusing you think that "we" constitute a "generation"...
i haven't known anyone else who sticks to lowercase exclusively.

> because I find it kind of funny/cute to observe how young hipsters

i also find it amusing you think i am "young" and a "hipster"...
i'm probably older than you are, and probably... well i probably
_am_ hipper than you, but i'm not sure how you would gauge it.

> who refute traditional stuff! even capitalization!

i reject quite a bit of "traditional stuff", because it's _stupid_.

but i decline to use capital letters purely as an artistic statement.
(well, the fact that capital letters are _ugly_ plays a part as well.)

there are times when it would be handy to use some uppercase.
i look at those times as accepting a constraint voluntarily, which
is a good thing for an artist to do. (or anyone else, for that matter.)

> sometimes refer back to something as quaint
> as the typewriter habit of double spaces

as other people have pointed out, we see a use for an enlarged
sentence-space -- and it's worth noting that we've specified that
we don't need that sentence-space to be _twice_ as large as the
word-space -- so it's not accurate to describe it as being "quaint".

besides, if you grant that it's needed in the _typewriter_ situation,
then it's worth noting that many of our current situations haven't
morphed completely out of that situation, like monospaced e-mail.
(i haven't used monospace in my e-mail for the last 25 years myself,
but some people -- including even here, i bet -- use it to this day.)

> like a last faint attempt to make their sentences readable…
> (See, our very own lowercase bird does this too.)

it _does_ make my sentences more readable, since i'm missing the
capital-letter at the start of a new sentence, which is the biggest tip.

but i think the enlarged sentence-space makes text more readable
even if one uses the standard casing, by marking sentence-endings.

still, you wouldn't know i use two spaces unless i had told you, since
the browser regards the second space as something nonsignificant...
(unless you have a weird habit of doing "view source" on these pages.)

-bowerbird

paragraph's picture

If you cannot keep it brief, go away. And if you think that what you are doing is readable (to people other than yourself), you are totally wrong.

Sindre's picture

How do all you double-spacers cope with the fortunate "limitation" of html that renders two or more spaces as one? Do you use &nbsp? CSS-hacks?

kentlew's picture

> the _default_ in tex is for an enlarged sentence-space, is it not?

> “what _percentage_ of book-designers use an enlarged sentence-space?”

Assuming that the former is true, then the answer to the latter would probably be approximately the percentage of book-designers (or more properly, "compositors" -- who may or may not be the designers) who use some version of TeX.

Which I believe is pretty small (no offense to TeX users, Steve Peters, or Charles E intended). Perhaps someone will refute this.

> indeed, the mere fact that the term “sentence-space” _exists_ means typographers differentiate it from “word-space”, not?

This is the first time I'm encountering the term used as any kind of regular expression.

> has this percentage changed in the last 100 years or so?”

Trends, tastes, and fashions in overall spacing have fluctuated over the decades. There were definitely periods when wider spacing was more the norm.

kentlew's picture

[deleted accidental double post]

nepenthe's picture

I'm so used to reading all lowercase online—on websites and in emails—that I'm now getting used to it myself. However, I think most people don't do it as an artistic statement, but out of laziness: no need to hit the shift key and the letter key at the same time (phew!).

But other than with TeX, which almost no one uses anymore, there is no straightforward way to automate this kind of spacing that I know of. I guess rather than use a space and a thin space, one could use an en space for sentences. But you'd still have to check each one in the document on replace, and I don't think I'd do that by choice if I were typesetting a long document.

bowerbird's picture

paragraph said:
> If you cannot keep it brief, go away

thanks for the advice, but i think i'll stay.

feel free to ignore my posts if they are too lengthy for you.
i'm aware that twitter has shortened many attention-spans.

***

satyagraha said:
> How do all you double-spacers cope with
> the fortunate “limitation” of html that renders
> two or more spaces as one?

we live with it. if we got upset about the flaws in our tools
-- especially the minor flaws, and this is a minor flaw --
we would all end up sour and bitter, like some people here.

> Do you use &nbsp? CSS-hacks?

no and no, more trouble than they're worth...

-bowerbird

p.s. my tools used to require two spaces to get an enlarged
sentence-space, but it was too much work for the author...
so now the tool enlarges the sentence-space automatically,
provided, of course, the reader has requested that option...
that way an author can just collapse all double-spaces to
a single-space, which makes text-preparation much easier.

nepenthe's picture

How did you accomplish the longer sentence space automatically, bb?

bowerbird's picture

i'm not looking for a "right" answer, since typography is often
"in the eye of the beholder". i'm merely trying to ascertain the
"general practice".

so the default behavior of a well-regarded system is informative,
which is why i brought up tex. there's a reason that's its default.

and if a newer system -- which i'd assume would be indesign? --
has changed that default, then that is instructive to me as well...

and when you experts here tell me what you do, in your work,
it's meaningful to me too, so thank you for all of the responses.

in many ways, i have a distinct luxury, in that i'm not obligated to
make any decisions that would make end-users unhappy. rather,
i can make it a _setting_ which they toggle to their _preference_...

indeed, if there is a striking difference of opinion on any issue,
it's _best_ for me to leave it up to the user to decide how it goes.

and it's pretty clear to me that that's the case with this matter...

and that was pretty clear to me before this thread. this is one of
those issues with a long history of controversy associated with it.
(all the way back to "the mac is not a typewriter" by robin williams.)

heck, it's even got a wikipedia entry associated with it:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-spaced_sentences

***

nepenthe said:
> How did you accomplish the longer sentence space automatically, bb?

well, the answer -- i move the position of the pen a little to the right --
is obvious, so i assume you're _really_ asking some other question, but
since there are many it _could_ be, i'll just ask you to be more specific...

-bowerbird

mili's picture

I don't come across the double space too often here in Finland. Some (older) clients use it, but I always clean them up. I believe it's the old habit of typewriting time in their case.
It's generally considered correct to have only one space after full stop, and I don't recall seeing double space in Finnish books.

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