Somewhere in the PPC Journal...Richard Nelson said...



#2

Ok, this has been driving me batty (or battier if you like) for a while.

I remember changing the way I type based upon a statement that Richard Nelson made in the PPC Journal.

He said that you should learn to type only ONE space after a period at the end of a sentence for several reasons: saving space, better flow of the text across the page, better results from a typographical perspective, etc. He asked the obvious question: How can I unlearn the double-space after a period? His answer: practice!

My problem is I cannot find where he said this. Unfortunately, I cannot remember if it was an editorial, an "ed. note" in response to a user letter in the feedback area of the journal...I can't even remember what YEAR it was in.

So, is there anyone out there having a sleepless night who enjoys reading through their back issues of the beloved PPC Journal who can help me find this?

Richard himself does not remember it. :-)

Help!


#3

Gene, this could start world war 3.

I learned

  1. 2 spaces after a period at the end of a sentence
  2. 2 spaces after a colon
  3. 1 space after a comma
  4. 1 space after a semi-colon
I think the forum software reduces two spaces to one so, regarding typing posts here, it's a moot point. But I always use punctuation based upon what I learned in high school.

#4

Oh, I learned it that way as well. I **changed** how I typed after reading Richard's statements in the PPC Journal. It appears many places suggest a single space after a period, such as:

http://webword.com/reports/period.html

"The only reason that two spaces were used after a period during the 'typewriter' age was because original typewriters had monospaced fonts -- the extra space was needed for the eye to pick up on the beginning of a new sentence. That need is negated w/proportional space type, hence [it is] the typographic standard."


But, I'm not interested in debating the standard.

I just want to find where Richard said it! :-)


#5

Quote:
http://webword.com/reports/period.html

"The only reason that two spaces were used after a period during the 'typewriter' age was because original typewriters had monospaced fonts -- the extra space was needed for the eye to pick up on the beginning of a new sentence. That need is negated w/proportional space type, hence [it is] the typographic standard."


I'll bite. I do not agree at all. The original monospaced typewriters made it easier to see the end of a sentence because the periods were so big. I sometimes have to re-read things now because they didn't make sense, and it turns out that I ran things together because the second space was missing. There were typewriters that did do proportional spacing long before we had computers-- they were just more expensive. My mom used one when she was a secretary in the early 1970's. A lower-case "i" took two units of space as I recall, whereas a capital "M" took five units. If you backspaced to type over something with the white-out tape, you had to know how many units to go back. Still, two spaces between sentences was correct. I think what has happened now is that we have people writing software who are too young to have taken the standard two years of typing in high school.

Another one I've been seeing recently is only half a blank line between paragraphs in block style, intead of a whole blank line. Someone probably thought that typewriters had to do either single or double spacing, which is not true. We could go one and a half, but it makes it confusing to look at, especially if one paragraph ends near the right margin. Use an entire blank line.

I will also put in a pitch for a comma before the "and" in a sequence. For example, "we went out to eat with the Smiths, Mark and Kathy" has a different meaning from "We went out to eat with the Smiths, Mark, and Kathy." The first one incorrectly implies that the Smiths' names are Mark and Kathy, whereas the second one says we went out with Bob and Ann Smith, and also with Mark and Kathy whose last names were different and they were engaged to be married. The lack of the comma changes the meaning and makes the statement incorrecct.

There also needs to be a second period after an abreviation at the end of a sentence, so you have one for the abreviation and one to end the sentence. A single period is extra bad if there's only one space after the sentence and the next sentence starts with an acronym or with a proper noun (like someone's name) which would be capitalized regardless and you lose the separation between sentences.

Edited: 17 Apr 2010, 7:14 p.m.


#6

I agree with Don and Garth - two spaces after the period at the end of the sentence.

I also agree 100% with Garth on putting the comma before the "and" in a list of three or more names or items.

#7

Totally agreed about the comma before the "and" -- the comma indicates a pause that is, in fact, there when people say things like "one, two, and three" out loud.

But this two spaces after a period thing makes me feel like I just wandered into a typographic Twilight Zone. I have seen old college textbooks -- the kind that was written by a professor using a typewriter strictly for circulation within the school -- and some followed this two-spaces convention. I found it visually jarring and almost as annoying as people who insist on some non-standard spelling.

I can't find a single book that has more space between sentences than between words, and that includes books that were typeset before the digital age. Why would you want that extra space anyway? Between the extra space that's already caused by the period, and the emphasis from the following capital letter, sentence boundaries stand out just fine already. Well, except in Windows browsers where the standard font has a one-pixel period that is almost invisible on today's high-resolution laptop screens, but that's another matter...


#8

Quote:
I can't find a single book that has more space between sentences than between words, and that includes books that were typeset before the digital age.

That's because most books use flush left AND RIGHT margins, at least in my bookcase. And the typesetting software obviously tries to put an equal amount of white space between all sentence elements.

Quote:
Why would you want that extra space anyway?

I want that extra space so that I don't have to guess where the sentence (and thought) ends. A sentence is a thought, or statement, and we should have a little extra space between sentences for the same reason we should have a blank line between paragraphs. It makes the text more understandable and readable. I'd say that was the original reason for two spaces after a sentence; I doubt it had anything to do with typewriters.

Quote:
Between the extra space that's already caused by the period, and the emphasis from the following capital letter, sentence boundaries stand out just fine already.

I don't agree. And a period takes up very little space, almost inconsequential. Especially in an early HP-33s calculator! : )

Leave it to Gene to start world war 3. And, in the end, people who want one space will do it that way, same with people who want two spaces, and we'll all manage to get by.


#9

Meh, one vs. two spaces isn't enough to start World War III. Just a few border incidents at worst. Windows vs. Mac, RPN vs. AOS, vi vs. EMACS, universal health insurance vs. not, those have way more potential. :-)

#10

It possibly isn't so much the forum software at HTML which reduces multiple whitespace characters into a single space.

- Pauli


#11

That is correct; the forum does actually preserve whitespace, but web browsers treat all runs of whitespace as equivalent to a single space; this behavior is actually required by the HTML specification.

If you really must use double spaces, your only option is to use
the [pre] and [/pre] tags, but that has the drawback of not allowing
the browser to flow the text so as to fill the available width.
Also, it's ugly. :-)
#12

Can't help but looking, call Richard!!

Geoff


#13

No, you don't understand.

I already **have** spoken to Richard, but he doesn't remember now. However, I am 100% certain it is in the PPC Journal.

Perhaps I should offer a reward to anyone here who finds the reference? :-)


#14

Gene, have you tried searching the journals on CD that Jake offers? Just a wild guess.

Brian


#15

Quote:
Gene, have you tried searching the journals on CD that Jake offers? Just a wild guess.

Since there is no way to search through the issues on the CD, it would only be a manual process. However, it still might be quicker than physically thumbing through the paper issues...

Jake


#16

Yes, I have now gone through the PDF set for the years Richard was editor TWICE.

I was hoping either someone might remember (ha) or someone might go through a year looking for such a thing. You know, another set of eyes. :-)


#17

Gene,

If you have some OCR software (Adobe Acrobat works well) you can take the PDF's, OCR them and then do a search on the revised document. I've been OCRing many of the manuals on my website and I know that Dave did this for the many of the manuals on the latest HP Museum DVD.

-Katie


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