Saturday, January 31, 2009

I'm embarrassed to learn that the age-old practice of putting two spaces after a period is antiquated and obsolete in the digital age, but I'm glad that I can now smugly inform other people of this.  You had to use two spaces back when you were using a typewriter.  Supposedly, typewriter fonts made it look like sentences all ran together if you only put one space after the period.  I don't know, let's see how some sentences look with just one space:

This is a sentence. It has words. So does this one. When I am in the mood for bran, I eat bran. It has the charm of wholesome food. It is in reality delicious. For the last time, listen. You can't pursuade me. My mind is made up. My hat is full of holes. The airport is under construction. Follow me to the pond. It is also full of holes.

Now let's see how that same paragraph looks with two spaces after every sentence:

This is a sentence.  It has words.  So does this one.  When I am in the mood for bran, I eat bran.  It has the charm of wholesome food.  It is in reality delicious.  For the last time, listen.  You can't pursuade me.  My mind is made up.  My hat is full of holes.  The airport is under construction.  Follow me to the pond.  It is also full of holes.

I guess it is easier to read with two spaces.  But now let's switch back to Georgia. Here's the paragraph with two spaces:

This is a sentence.  It has words.  So does this one.  When I am in the mood for bran, I eat bran.  It has the charm of wholesome food.  It is in reality delicious.  For the last time, listen.  You can't pursuade me.  My mind is made up.  My hat is full of holes.  The airport is under construction.  Follow me to the pond.  It is also full of holes.

It doesn't really look that bad, but here's how it would appear in a book, with one space:

This is a sentence. It has words. So does this one. When I am in the mood for bran, I eat bran. It has the charm of wholesome food. It is in reality delicious. For the last time, listen. You can't pursuade me. My mind is made up. My hat is full of holes. The airport is under construction. Follow me to the pond. It is also full of holes.

You see, that's how it's always been with books. One space. I think I actually knew that on some level, but for some reason it never quite registered that the rule about two spaces was in conflict with this reality.

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