Yesterday I was on a rant about the use of capitals and commas. I considered adding spaces to the list.
I am certain you have heard people say that “Nothing says over 40 like two spaces after a period!”. I am of the vintage that had university courses in typing. My parents gave me a portable typewriter when I first went away to university. I loved typing. I wasn’t fast, didn’t use all my fingers correctly but couldn’t wait to hit the carriage return arm and get onto the next line.
In those days, typewriters gave equal space to every letter. The letter “i” got the same space as the letter “m”. It was called monospacing. So, to highlight where the next sentence begins (you would have thought the period and capital may have done that), we were taught to leave 2 spaces following every period. Today, word processors use proportional spacing which means each letter only gets as much space as it needs. And this, my friends, eliminates the need for 2 spaces following a period. Every sentence in a paragraph is sufficiently set apart from the one proceeding it.
However, if you are over 40, it is a difficult habit to change. Several months back, I made a concerted effort to become a single-spacer and, turn the clock back. Yes, I am over 40. I was told it would be difficult. It was just the opposite. Maybe I am young at heart. Maybe I learn quickly. Or, maybe I was ashamed to be so noticeably old. Whatever the reason, within a few days it was second nature.
These spaces are not like capitals and commas. There is really no right or wrong. I even know 30 year olds that double space following a period. However, I do think it is preferable to single space. I am a minimalist. I carefully craft what I write and continually edit to, among other things, reduce the number of words needed. If I am that particular with words, then why wouldn’t I be the same with spaces?
So, today I am noticeably younger with a new lease on life. I am like an old bicycle frame outfitted with a new “gruppo”. The same but better.
I too am over 40 and was a journalism major my first trip through college. Never thought about or noticed word processors doing thing. I just kept doing it. Guess I need to get with the times. Thanks for the post and the follow. I think I will learn much from your blog.
Thanks Mark. We are never too old to get better.
I learnt to touch type in high school and we were taught to put two spaces after a full-stop. And I’m under 40, but only just!
Hmmm ,,, I learned my 23 year old daughter does the same. Maybe I taught her. 😢