Saturday, 4 April 2015
A to Z Challenge: Double-spacing after every sentence
A couple of years later I took a typing class at junior high. Alas, I was the slowest kid in class, clocking in at a very slow thirty words a minute. I barely passed that class because of my (lack of) speed.
Yet I continued to keep typing. I loved typing because it make me feel like a real writer. So I typed lots and lots.
Pretty soon, I got up to a decent speed. Then someone introduced me to computers. I was hooked.
With the ability to make on-the-go corrections, I was able to get my speed up to a respectable 100 wpm, a speed I can still maintain to this day when I'm in the Zone.
One of the earliest skills I learned was to double-space between sentences. This was a practice left over from the early typesetting days and is called English-spacing. In typesetting, the em-space was often used between sentences to make it easier to read the text. On a proportionately-spaced typewriter, this was indicated by two spaces.
Since I practiced typing for years and year, you can bet that practice of double-spacing after every sentence was well-ingrained. Single-spacing was used after typesetting for stylistic purposes. It was called French spacing. After all, anything odd or out-of-the-ordinary must be French, right?
Computer really changed the art of typing (or 'keyboarding' as it was later called). Suddenly one did not need to have to know how to set tabs on a machine, and carriage returns at the end of every line became a thing of the past. Word processors enabled formatting of all sorts, and one did not have to apply formatting as one went. Finished typing a document? You could go back and make changes of all kinds. Including replacing all those double-spaces with singles.
Mignon Fogarty, the Grammar Girl offers this easy suggestion: "On a typewriter, double-space. On a computer, single-space." So, what happens when you have one of these?
I have seen editors who insist that double-spacing is a No-No. (Fortunately, a search'n'replace can get rid of them.) But as much as I would love to please them, I can't seem to get rid of this double-spacing habit.
Her Grace is grateful for Ctrl-H.