One-spacers of the world unite

Since leaving my first career as a newspaper reporter, I have encountered the two-spaces-after-a-period mistake on pretty much a daily basis editing for print publications. In fact, I would estimate that 90 percent of the edits I make are of the two-spaces-after-a-period variety. If not for Word’s find and replace feature I would probably be working overtime manually correcting the spaces.

Often people don’t believe me when I tell they see my Xs on the extra spaces. But thanks to Slate technology reporter Farhad Manjoo I now have some ammunition:

“Every modern typographer agrees on the one-space rule. It’s one of the canonical rules of the profession, in the same way that waiters know that the salad fork goes to the left of the dinner fork and fashion designers know to put men’s shirt buttons on the right and women’s on the left. Every major style guide—including the Modern Language Association Style Manual and the Chicago Manual of Style—prescribes a single space after a period. (The Publications Manual of the American Psychological Association, used widely in the social sciences, allows for two spaces in draft manuscripts but recommends one space in published work.) Most ordinary people would know the one-space rule, too, if it weren’t for a quirk of history. In the middle of the last century, a now-outmoded technology—the manual typewriter—invaded the American workplace. To accommodate that machine’s shortcomings, everyone began to type wrong. And even though we no longer use typewriters, we all still type like we do. (Also see the persistence of the dreaded Caps Lock key.)”

Click HERE to read the rest of his article.

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