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Guest Dabeagle

Commas!

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I learned to type on a typewriter, so I also learned to double-space after a period. It took me YEARS to break that habit.

It's just so satisfying to double-tap that space bar after a sentence. It feels like...closure. "That thought is complete. So sayeth the thumb. POW POW."

You can change, you can change, you can change!

Took me about 10 years of arguing with copy editors in the 1980s, but I eventually broke myself of the habit of double-spacing after every sentence. And I learned to type at the age of 12 in 1966, so this was decades of that habit. I still do a global search-and-replace to get rid of any errant two-space combos, but there's generally very few in any of my finished manuscripts these days. It really does look better with proportional fonts.

I'd agree that two spaces would work for a monospaced font like Courier, particularly if this were being handed in as a legal paper or a thesis, where they may have specific requirements for formatting. One exception to this would be film scripts, where they specifically warn against using double-spaces in formatting.

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You can change, you can change, you can change!

I wrote most of L&L in Microsoft Notepad on a Windows '98 PC. This was back when you couldn't choose your font, and it was monospaced, so I was still doing the old typewriter double-tap. When I got a job and was able to buy MS Word, I had to drop the double-space habit. This was also when I started college, and professors would check for paper-lengthening tricks like double-spacing after periods, setting your font size to 12.5, upping your margins, etc.

I no longer double-tap, but I still feel that kinship Cole mentioned to those that do. Haha.

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You learned to use two spaces after a period when you typed? Geez, you people act so old! :biggrin:

Fortunately most web editors throw away (i.e., ignore) those extraneous spaces. When I took keyboarding in the sixth grade we learned to put one space after every punctuation mark, including periods, colons, semicolons — and even after commas, the subject of this topic. The two spaces bit goes way back to the manual typesetting days when the period slugs would wear out and became less visible until replaced. The result was to use two space type blanks following a period so readers would be certain that the sentence had ended — even when the period became almost invisible on the page. Yes, sentences with an almost invisible period looked like the final word was followed by three spaces. Or, more correctly, two and a half spaces, since the period type blank was only half as wide as the space type blank.

I learned this when my class went to the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose when I was in the eighth grade. They had an exhibit on typesetting from manual, hot metal, phototypesetting, and to digital where it's all done by computers and computer-managed printing presses. The tourguide told us this was called "direct to page" and I think that is very cool.

Colin :icon_geek:

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We never had typewriters in Australia until the war (okay, I'm joking), but seriously, the only double tapping I would do would be a couple of really cute celebrities. If either of them agreed that would probably send me into a coma.

er, sorry...we're talking about commas, I forgot.

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We never had typewriters in Australia until the war (okay, I'm joking), but seriously, the only double tapping I would do would be a couple of really cute celebrities.

Ah, in America, the Double Tap means something different -- particularly with Zombies:

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An interesting, short article, on adding in certain bits of punctuation.

A paragraph near the end of the article reads:

"An ellipsis consists of three periods with spaces between them. If one appears at the end of sentence, it should be followed by a fourth period. Word automatically adds spaces between the dots when you type three in a row."

What I highlighted is incorrect. Word automatically converts three consecutive periods to a single ellipsis character (at least it does in version 2010 and later, maybe with earlier versions as well). If you want . . . instead of ... you need to do some meddling with Word. Here's an article that tells you how to do it, and avoid breaking the . . . in the middle when there's a line break:

Getting the Proper Type of Ellipses, http://word.tips.net/T000448_Getting_the_Proper_Type_of_Ellipses.html.

For me, I'm going to stick with the single ellipsis character, thank you anyway. It's supported as a standard HTML character when used on a web page.

Colin :icon_geek:

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The thing is, I learned to type way, way, way before word processors were even someone's dream. I learned to insert two spaces after a period, and it's automatic. It's ingrained in my very DNA at this point. If it offends a graphic or any other sort of artist, no matter how closely related, I'd advise him not to read what I write.

C

Oh, the time I spent trying to unlearn typing two spaces after a period. It had been so ingrained in me from high school typing classes that forcing myself to stop doing it was quite the chore.

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Oh, the time I spent trying to unlearn typing two spaces after a period. It had been so ingrained in me from high school typing classes that forcing myself to stop doing it was quite the chore.

Guaranteed, I've been typing longer than you. I learned at the age of 12 in 7th grade. I figure that and masturbating were pretty much the most useful things I learned in the entire school year. (And maybe the only useful things.)

I think it took me more than 20 years to lose the double-space-after-period thing, but it still creeps back in from time to time. I fear my old typing teacher (whose name I can't remember, but I do remember her ugly, powder-white face and her Anita Bryant hairstyle) sneaking up and rapping my knuckles with a ruler, which she used to do whenever she caught our fingertips getting off the home row. I still have memories of her barking "F D S A space! J K L SEMI space!" over and over again. Stupid c@nt.

The other habit, I have no interest in breaking.

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Yes! Personal taste rules the day!

I've never seen a rule for comma usage yet that always works. Never.

I've seen great authors, esteemed authors, whose comma usage varies all over the map, with inconsistency the norm.

Accordingly, when I edit, I now rarely change the comma usage of the writers who've had the misfortune of asking for my help. I only do so when a comma interferes rather than helps with the understanding of the passage. And that's rare.

The comma can be infuriating. Nasty little bugger.

C

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