This is seriously going to mess up my whitespace codebase!!!!
Damn! The extra spaces I put in for comic effect got taken out! Guess that shows where The Reg falls in this debate!
Welcome to another rundown of the news you might have missed from the Windows mines deep beneath Microsoft's Redmond campus. Skype joins Zoom and Teams in the background-bothering game Skype users, rejoice! You lucky people get to take part in the custom backgrounds thing enjoyed by Zoom customers, and then Team users. An …
This US quirk of holding on to typewriter-era double spaces almost cost me a job when I applied for a secretarial position after I moved from Europe (where I grew up) to the USA.
The temp agency had me take a touch-typing test that consisted of copying a document of about 70 sentences.
The computer ruled that I had made 72 typos. Turns out that I had consistently typed a single space after each sentence, thus accounting for 70 of the 'errors'.
To this day I maintain that the source text contained 70 errors and that I simply corrected them. :-)
Neither. It's a TAB stop.
The number of picas per TAB stop depends on the document I'm working on. It also depends on the TAB stop within the document ... no two have to be alike.
Personally, I use the American pica because it's what my Linotype machine is set for ... and Tex agrees with it, making life easy. No doubt you Brits use the French version, just because it's not American.
For coding and other 7-bit ASCII, my TAB key inserts 4 spaces.
Like the author, when I learned to type it was what they taught. Like him I'll go on doing it because it's in my muscle memory. If you get hot under collar about it (and I've seen some amazingly angry rants on the subject, worse than Comic Sans) I'll tell you to worry about something that matters.
I won't tell you to get a sense of proportion, because Trin Tragula.
It doesn't matter - who uses Word anyway? I write all my letters in Excel. Plus use it for my shopping lists, notes and even once built a £20m invoicing system in it that connected to a massive database of all our purchasing contracts (Excel of course) that also linked up the management accountants clever stuff to work out how we could maximise our discounts by moving purchases around in time - plus printing quarterly invoices notn hideous spaghetti code because IT were too cheap to give me proper tools to do it... It took me 2 weeks, a pack of highlighter pens and a whiteboard to check all the formulae were correct. Mumble, mumble, I've used Excel for printing posters as well - double-spaced mumble, mumble...
One space after commas, 2 after full stops! Not that I really care, but I've hammered touch typing into my muscle memory and I can't stop it now after 35 years of repetition.
For decades, the global typographical standard has been to use a singe space after a period. To me, having grown up in Europe, two spaces looks like typographical stutter.
Thus, after moving to the US, back in my secretarial days I wrote a macro to auto-delete all double spaces that our tech sales reps insisted so diligently typed.
Later on as I migrated back into tech jobs, I was happy to see that browsers would not display consecutive spaces.
Unfortunately, it wasn't long before the editors discovered non-breaking spaces ( ). That really messed things up so I dusted off the old macro.
It become a war of sorts between the editor and myself until I was assigned a pair of F5 BIG-IP ADCs ten or fifteen years ago.
Imagine my glee when I implemented an iRule that automatically replaced all non-breaking and double spaces as soon as the editor submitted the text to the CMS. No matter how much they tried, they
discovered that it was not possible for them to get those double and non-breaking spaces to stick.
By the way, I never told anyone about that iRule...
Then, as noted below by another commenter, you did it WRONG! And, not only THAT, you INSISTED on impressing your WRONG opinion on everyone else!!
The standard is NOT a simple single space, the typographic standard is an EXTENDED single space
since all but typesetting programs pretty much don't handle the extended space, we, the users, put in double spaces.
Unless you programmed to replace the double with the extended single, you messed up, and your typesetting looked terrible *and* only managed to annoy people like me who were forced to (try) to read your poorly-set type.
The extended space or double space after a sentence actually makes it stand out more and easier to visually discern individual sentences. Web pages have always flummoxed my skimming because of this and I have found it quite annoying.
But then I also have a "-- \n" at the start of my email signature, which is no more than five lines long.
Here is an idea for Microsoft: GIVE US A CHOICE!
One of the reasons why I hate the new Microsoft is they take away choice. Need to install security updates individually? Screw you. Don't want driver updates to install automatically because your driver is stable? Screw you. Don't want network printers to install automatically? Screw you. Don't want Pacific time to be the default time zone for American versions of Windows 10? Screw you. Don't want unsolicited apps to install on your computer? Screw you. Don't want Edge to load when the computer loads? Screw you. Don't want telemetry? Screw you.
All of those things, except the first, require you to take unclear steps to change. And yet, all of them should be default. The new Microsoft thinks they know better than us. And that is simply not true. Taking away the default double-space is Microsoft way of saying "We know better than you, deal with it." This attitude has started in Windows 8 and has only gotten worse.
There are greater things to be concerned about with word processors than whether to accept one or two spaces after a sentence. In my experience, word processors tend to be rubbish at typesetting in general, and their use results in badly laid out documents, inconsistently applied style rules, illegibly long line lengths, and so on. If you are concerned about the amount of horizontal space after a sentence, how about the amount of vertical space before and after a section heading?
I had typesetting rules down to a fine art using Wordstar on DRDOS. Inserting the correct markup was a matter of muscle memory. When trying the same using Microsoft Word on W95, I kept on getting into a right mess. Sanity was eventually restored through the discovery of LaTeX on Linux. Thankfully, my present employer prefers LaTeX for engineering documents. The sales and marketing bods can use Word if they want to.
Double spacing, on old monospace typewriters, made it easier to tell where one sentence ends and the next begins.
Today, with proportional fonts and justification, surely there is no need (and smarter programs might detect dot-space and leave a slightly larger gap?).
That said, given that it's going to be pretty much equal who double spaces and who single spaces, shouldn't this be a configurable option rather than an edict handed down from on high?
> Double spacing, on old monospace typewriters, made it easier to tell where one sentence ends and the next begins.
More a case of when your only typeface is Courier, steps are needed to compensate,
I always liked TeX's approach: input is one space, but it detects end of sentences and puts in a slightly wider space (and then adjusts that for justification). These days with proportional typefaces a double space is too wide; this is helped by majuscule glyphs being bigger.
So the AI that's adjusting the spacing will grok the content and determine whether it's the end of a sentence or an abbreviation?
I'm playing devil's advocate here - not least because these dots are rarely used. But the software could treat two spaces after a full stop as an end of sentence marker and adjust the kerning accordingly. Contrast this with an algorithm that expands the spacing following a full stop unless it's a single letter (J. R. R. Tolkien) or on a list of (hopefully) user-definable abbreviations. And the user has now go to realise this is happening, locate the list of abbreviations and add every abbreviation they want to use (and never use the abbreviation at the end of a sentence.) All because...?
Yeah, I am so old I still end up using the "Enter" key as a "Line Feed Carriage Return" Ding Dong key, espacially when writing, uhm, inspired. Later when editing sober, I have to edit out all that stuff.
Well, in my day, we had knights, and we liked it!
Today, with proportional fonts and justification, surely there is no need (and smarter programs might detect dot-space and leave a slightly larger gap?).Agreed. Any reasonable word processor would put additional kerning after the end of a sentence. Whether MS Word does so I can't tell.
Decent type-setting software (such as TeX) did it for you...and couldn't care less how many spaces (or tabs) you put there.
There are two tests for the correct spacing:
- when reading a page of text, does it slow the reader down using either format or is there no difference?
- is anyone ever going to read your document? Or am I just bitter and twisted from writing too much documentation that is only ever used when the "quick IM/phone call/text" results in no answer for a few hours?
You set your spacing preference yourself in the same Word Proofing settings that have been around for decades. I just checked and see my options for spacing are "don't check, one space, two spaces". My preference is "don't check".
I presume all the IT professionals here know how to do this. Assuming they aren't the ones who've set up Office/Word with the wrong language & proofing defaults.
...but I do care about being told to use one space because that's someone else's preference
Indeed. That with weird spelling if you write something in English (NO, en_US is NOT default in the rest of the world). Disaster strikes if you manage to write something that is regarded offensive in Clorox country (but only there), write something in another language than English, or even more disastrous, are too intelligent for your own good and have a multi language text, which is asking for the Clippy congregation from Hell. And then we're not even touching on the subject of date formats (day before or after month, are you even asking?), temperatures (since you're the ONLY country still using it, YOU are the exception), time formats (yes, AM and PM do matter, NO, not everybody is in YOUR tz, yes write times like everybody else please, because it's bloody annoying making/ getting meeting requests), the fact that oz seems to have something to do with ketchup, but not Australia, or even what kind of voltage your box runs on to begin with. And please don't get me wrong, everybody is privileged to their own quirks, but declaring your manners default is... very annoying. I suppose that's why MS document formats are still not ISO compliant. (Yes, I know they bought their own private standard one they
plug market position present as "industry standard" now) </rant>
What the USA defines as correct, is not necessarily so.
Will the next update expect me the use the "serial comma"? I am not going to. I was taught that was wrong and see no need to change,
Before I got into IT, I learned to type. I did Secretarial Studies in evening classes and have a Scottish Higher and an RSA2. I was taught to tap the space bar twice after a full stop to try and help legibility. I know there were other reasons too but legibility still applies. It makes sentences more discrete so that people can see where one finishes and another starts. This can make it easier to understand. We have enough problems with people not reading blocks of text without actively discouraging them!
I was taught how to type in grade school, over 40 years ago. In later schooling I was the head assistant to the entire Secretarial Studies department, and the most advanced IT student of the entire school.
Double space. End of story. Microsoft can go fsck itself if it believes that proper form is do to otherwise.
For those of us who have been taught to do this correctly, this travesty is almost on a par.
My twopence is that it should be set as an obscure configurable option that people can tick if they were taught to type properly so we can get back to more important matters during the coronavirus apocalypse.
This post has been deleted by its author
"For those of us who have been taught to do this correctly"
Read: "For those of us who were brainwashed into believing the correct way is ..."
The Holy Double-Space v.s. The Unbelievers, coming soon to a cinema near you (if we can ever kick this virus and put the actors back to work, that is.)
Edit: THDSvsTU: The Sequel ... Leading and the Descenders vs the Ascenders, as written by the Late Lord Kerning.
"It makes sentences more discrete so that people can see where one finishes and another starts. This can make it easier to understand"
Only if your program is too stoopid (Word is... mostly) to detect the end of the sentence or does not bother about putting in a slightly larger whitespace after a full stop. Two whitespaces are w-a-a-y too big in any font, they mess up the grey value of the final page, looks like somebody did a drive by with a shotgun.
(so yes: the spacing after the period, at the end of a sentence _only_, should be wider. Use a proper program to typeset the text.
"Use a prefe proper program to typeset the text"
And therein lies the problem: IMHO what both Microsoft and other single-space proponents are suggesting is to consciously modify their active typing technique to match what you can (perceive) your output device is doing.
Using a word processor that auto-adds end of sentence spaces? Single space key.
Using a monotype font? Double space.
Using email? Double space.
Using well programmed proportional font? Single space only if your program is actively acknowledging the auto extra end of sentence space.
This is madness. First figure out what default your program follows, then figure out how said program interprets the font of your choosing, then examine the results and modify as necessary.
Just double space the damn thing. That's been the standard since the typewriter keyboard was invented.
You're arguing the case for no writing aids at all. No spell checkers. No grammar checkers. No syntax checkers. Nothing, no matter how useful they are, so just turn them all off or configure them the way you like. It's not a nanny, it's a voices off prompter, which you can tell to go away if you want to, or train it to your own writing style - you could tell it that toidi is a correct spelling in your world if you want to. I know, I know...it's Microsoft so nothing is good and all is evil in hell. I don't know why I bother arguing (Yes I do - it's fun when I'm bored.) Oh, and there's another one- Should the period go inside or outside the closing bracket? Is it (blah blah.) or (blah blah). It matters. It does, it does! I promise you it does!
"But the entire sentence is being quoted, including the punctuation."
Which makes sense if there's a question mark or A SHOUTY EXCLAMATION MARK!!! Because these are punctuation that relate directly to what is being quoted.
To demonstrate, here is a random quote from the beginning of J G Ballard's "The Drowned World":
“Good morning, Robert,” he greeted Kerans [...]
So, quite literally, the quote was "Good morning (brief pause) Robert (brief pause)"? No, that second comma belongs to the structure of the sentence, not the quote. It should be outside of the speech marks where it belongs.
Commas are more about readability (making the intended meaning clear), not about pauses in speech when you are reading it out. So there are conventions. In dialogue there is always a comma before the name or title of the person being directly addressed. Commas are not a breathing guide either.
"Shall we point out the lack of a space preceding your ellipses?"
Feel free to, but do now that there is a difference between "medial ellipses" indicating missing words, which usually has spaces around them (and sometimes in square brackets to highlight the omission) and "terminal ellipses" indicating a trailing off thought which is usually not preceded by a space.
However there are many schools of thought on this, including one that says that each dot should have a space between them . . . like that, so there isn't really any right or wrong method (unless you fancy doing it vertically, perhaps), just different styles that are used in different places.
"Who would ever think The Gimp was a graphics program"
Probably everybody looking for a graphics program. Nobody else would even know it existed. The name of any given thing is pretty much unimportant, other than as a handle when discussing a specific thing within it's own context. Do people (other than silly little boys) have an issue with the birds called "tits" or "boobys"?
Oh, if only I was a silly little boy, instead of the silly middle aged man of indeterminate age.
RE:"The name of any given thing is pretty much unimportant"
I disagree; you're saying that any word or name could be used for a FOSS project. Ok, lets have The WTF text editor, The Sexist operating system, The Little Fucker graphics program ... Actually that last one may fit judging by the language used by some Gimp users. Not all, I grant you, but...
Names do matter.
The 2 space 'rule' for typewriters came about because there was no way to properly space sentences on a typewriter. So 2 spaces became the rule as the actual spacing used in books is about 1.5 spaces back then and now. This was the rule in the US since at least the mid 50s. It may have been different earlier and in other places.
So what is defined in Scotland is, in your mind, automagically correct?
That's a trifle parochial, isn't it?
Frankly, I never saw a real difference between one space, wide spaces and double spacing when reading any given document. My brain doesn't even register the whitespace, unless it is egregiously wide. Do the people you cite who supposedly find it easier to read double spaces go into a tizzy when confronted with tight and loose lines in fully justified text?
You were taught it was wrong, but the teacher was wrong!
The serial comma (assuming you are referring to the Oxford comma) is necessary to delineate list items clearly.
Fred's favorite musical artists are The Rolling Stones, Simon and Garfunkel, and Hall and Oates.
Fred's favorite artists are clear:
The Rolling Stones
Simon and Garfunkel
Hall and Oates
Fred's favorite musical artists are The Rolling Stones, Simon and Garfunkel and Hall and Oates.
Fred's favorite artists are:
The Rolling Stones
Garfunkel and Hall and Oates
or is it
The Rolling Stones
Simon and Garfunkel and Hall
The Rolling Stones
Simon and Garfunkel and Hall and Oates
Or, of course, the answer we know to be the actual one, the one answer that is unambiguous with the Oxford comma. If you were not familiar with any of the artists in the list, you would not know which of the four lists were the real one. You could grok out that all three of the wrong answers require a band to call itself something clumsy, like "Garfunkel and Hall and Oates," rather than the preferred list form, but you don't really know that such a clumsy usage is not actually how the artists in question refer to themselves without having prior knowledge.
Of course, not all examples are as ambiguous as this one, but the Oxford comma always works, while the dropped comma relies on the reader to grok out that the last item is not a compound item containing the word 'and'. The comma makes it very clear and precise regardless of context, and clarity should be the purpose of language.
The serial comma (assuming you are referring to the Oxford comma)...
I am well aware that the OUP is very keen on it but my, Oxford educated, English teacher was not.
Certainly this was a while ago (1975 and after) and errors have been made into standards in cases ranging from Chaucer to Shakespeare but I have now reached the age where I can be critical of "modern" things and feel that if I limit this to such petty matters as this, I will do no harm...
Serial/Oxford comma debate:
Without serial comma:
"I went for dinner with my parents, Dick and Jane."
Did you go with your parents, and Dick, and Jane, or are your parents called Dick and Jane?
With serial comma:
They are my parents:
"I went for dinner with my parents, Dick and Jane."
They are some other friends:
"I went for dinner with my parents, Dick, and Jane."
You are aware that the "serial comma", also known as the "Oxford comma", is the more traditional British usage? It's one of a handful of instances ('-ize' at the end of words being another) where British English chose to 'modernize' itself and American English stayed with the older usage. The OED to this day supports both the comma and '-ize'.
As for your legibility argument: again, are you aware that when you post a comment online, HTML will remove any extra spaces you type in? Look here: how many spaces do you see directly after the colon? (Hint, I stopped counting after 20.) So you've been happily reading, and posting, text without the extra spaces for as long as you've been online.
Are you aware that you're quite wrong? I would have been gentler, but you chose to put yourself out there by seeking to correct someone else, and being in error as follows:
Oxford comma is not 'traditional' nor 'more traditional' (whatever that is supposed to mean). It's an innovation, and was assumed by many readers to be "an American thing", outside academics who were familiar with it from dealing with OUP.
American English makes exclusive use of -ze, even where it does not belong per the academic rule for its use. The 'modernization' was actually a 'fad' and is, in fact, the use of -ise over -ize (to look more 'French'). Incorrect is the use of zed in some -ise words, and any -yse words, full treatment of that topic being beyond the scope of a quick correction (and handled in detail online in several locations).
The OED is merely *one* dictionary of English, albeit my preferred tome, and it actually discusses both topic but does not prescribe -ize or 'Oxford comma'. It can't, after all, since they are, at this point, merely questions of style and there *no* language authority for English (for better or worse).
Legibility studies say it actually makes no difference, at all. We're basically in agreement, there.
I wasn't even aware this was a thing until recently. I was taught to always use 2 spaces after a full stop, and about 2 months ago I submitted a document to a fellow contractor for his feedback and he went off on a rant about single spaces being the way to go. He was the only one in the team, everyone else defaulted to 2 as well.
Surely though this should be an either/or option in Word? There's no way anyone is going to break the habit of years of bashing away on keyboards just because Microsoft say so.
It would be handy if Word would allow you to set the number of spaces of the full stop - but then enforce it automatically. I can see their logic in asking 'is this a mistake' but once you've told it, it can silent correct either way.
Of course, this is the old tabs vs spaces argument for millennials :)
I very nearly failed a piss-easy basic Word course I was forced to do. Because I used minimal effort for my coursework - naturally. Asked to bang out a letter, I did exactly that because I could write the address after tabbing across each line to the right side of the screen quicker than I could take my hand off the keyboard to highlight it all and hit the right justify button. The legacy of learning on a massive old typewriter - back in the day. But then it got even sillier as I think I was marked down for doing the old skool Dear Sir / Yours Sincerely thing, rather than something more modern - as if that's anything to do with my competence in using word processors. Excel is all the word processor anyone needs anyway...
I did get a free copy of Lotus Smart Suite with my IBM 386, back in the early 90s. So I suppose Word can never be my least favourite word processor.
Steve the Amber Nectar said "I was taught that it should be "Dear Sir / Yours faithfully" or "Dear Mr. Smith / Yours sincerely", and never vice versa. Is that considered anachronistic now as well?"
Just the mere fact you're writing a letter is anachronistic so go all the way! :-)
With emails, it's 'Hi' or, if being 'formal', 'Hi First name'.
The only emails I get that address me with any true formality are from the various Nigerian princes, politicians etc that are attempting to defraud me.
There is never a good reason to "hit the right-justify button".
The correct longhand way to do it is to define a paragraph style with the right-justified attribute, then apply that style to the text you want to appear that way.
The quick and dirty way, if you can't be bothered with that, is <Ctrl-R>, which takes a fraction of the time of taking your hands off the keyboard to move a mouse to find a button on a toolbar.
Either way, the button is just wrong.
I can never be arsed with paragraph styles. But then that's because the only time I've ever done any serious amounts of writing that wasn't emails was at university for essays (when I did use styles). Well I suppose there was the time I first started to write letters to family and friends - before everyone got email, but that was done in longhand with a fountain pen.
If I seriously needed to use word processors, I'd probably make the effort to learn to use the tools properly.
It already does, and most of the settings that people here bitch about have always been easily configurable in Word's quite detailed proofing settings section. Options for spacing are "don't check, one space, two spaces".
Oxford comma also configurable. Chances are if your language settings are not English(US) then you will get what you are used to.
While it's not word's decision to make, let's try it.
do we really need capitalization to tell words apart? even proper nouns are clear enough that it's not needed. punctuation makes a clear separation in sentence parts, so we have no need of capitalization to start them. the only problem i can see is distinguishing acronyms that someone has made use the same letters as an actual word from that word would be tricky, but since most of those acronyms involve tortured word choice, that might actually be a benefit.
Yeah, it looks weird to me too. I'm not going to do it again, but maybe we could do without capitalization.
Why not type the German Style? Capitalize all Nouns like God told you to? Makes your Sentences look nice and removes the special Treatment of God, Monday, my dog Boomer, the Catholic church, and New York.
Seriously, it's all just a convention and we should keep it simple. Don't sweat the details, that's why you type in LaTeX.
CamelCase doesn't replace spaces, it augments them. You still need spaces to, y'know, indicate the gaps between words. Putting such random punctuation in the middle of a word may be annoying, but it's not nearly the worst offence. (That would be reserved for those cupid stunts who insist that their company's or product's name should be written in all lower case, including the initial letter. Bonus points if they try to compensate by using a different font whenever they write it themselves. Aargh.)
We could certainly do without capitalisation if we had to. Many languages (check out most Asian languages, or Arabic f'rinstance) don't have a concept of capitals at all, and they seem to get along without them.
But it's not clear how it would benefit us to do away with them. Their benefit may be marginal, but let's face it, we can use all the help we can get at reading comprehension.
For centuries there were no lower case letters. The Irish monks invented them. Lots of languages still just do nothing special or use a larger letter.
Imagine if our alphabet had more than two cases, so as to more accurately represent meaning, and they also sounded different too. No need for quote marks, speech marks, bold and italic? Not any harder for kids to learn. See kids learning Roman/Latin alphabet languages vs iconic/symbolic susch as Chinese.
w cld d wtht vwls t.
d w rlly nd cptlztn t tll wrds 'prt?
Hebrew and Arabic manage.
Ancient Greek and some other languages didn't write the 'h', later they put an apostrophe.
The dh, gh, bh, th mh etc in Irish used to just have a dot above the consonant. Since i could take í they never put the dot on a regular i.
Madb is thus a contraction of Madhbh, dots were left off, which is easier to figure the pronunciation of, if you know the rules.
Because the typefaces found on mechanical typewriters were typographic horrors.
Two spaces did help readability (as did double line spacing – which was required in many cases).
But with mechanical typewriters being something for museums and hipsters, we should move on to better options.
Many people were taught two spaces, but that is because the teachers were taught that. This does not make it good.
 Outside parts of the Indian legal system IIRC.
My primary school teacher taught me two spaces, because we learnt on typewriters. The school did have one BBC Micro - but I'm not sure I ever got to use that, because it was actually one of the teacher's, he only let the kids he liked use it, and he didn't like me.
35 years later, it's an ubreakable habit. I remember how much effort it cost me to type on other peoples' PCs when I lived in Belgium, and they used the Devil's own AZERTY keyboards.
When I learned manuscript format for submitting writing material for possible publication, I found it interesting that the explicit format was "Times New Roman, 12 point font, double spaced, one inch margins on all sides, two spaces after sentences," and failure to follow that format would result in your submission being tossed unread by many journals. Yes, some journals were different, but that was the most common standard, and it wasn't just what the instructor taught, it was demonstrated by the specified submission guide for the various places I looked at. I would not say it is just "because the teachers were taught that."
Word was, and remains, a typographic neophyte. Word uses the same sized space between words as it does between sentences based on my testing in the common fonts (e.g. Arial, Times New Roman, Verdana, Calibri).
How do I type in the dark? The same way I type with my eyes closed, of course. Was a part of the typing course, way back when.
However, there is no dark. We keep bees, they allow us to collect wax. Candles are plenty to proof-read by. Besides, I have Liquid Paper and I'm not afraid to use it. Thank you for your concern.
 You Euro types (and Brits) may prefer the copy-cat Wite-Out or Tipp-Ex ...
I always type in the dark. In the sense that I'm not looking at my hands, and my keboard is usually hidden on a little shelf underneath my monitor. Moving my keyboard out of the office, when shutting it down and bringing the computer home a few weeks ago - I noticed that only half the keys now have writing on them to tell you what letters they are. Because the thing's 20 years old, and well used. But that doesn't matter, because the F and J keys have bumps on them, which marks the position for the index fingers, and leaves your fingers on the home keys - ready to touch type.
As jakes says, shutting your eyes was part of the course. I did it old skool, in a massive old Imperial typewriter. And you learned with boring exercises like juja[space], which was right index finger, on home key, then up, then back then left little finger then right thumb for space. And you typed that lots, until you'd got it stuck in your brain and could type while looking at the text you were copying and not the keyboard.
In fact if I look towards the keyboard when typing, even though I can't read it without my glasses, my brain tries automatically to take over the process, and I slow down to about 40 words per minute - which is about the most I could do until the point where I was forced to type with my eyes shut - and suddenly started to double in speed (admittedly with lots of errors at first). It's funny how the brain works.
I write notes to myself in a text editor, using a monospace font. It has never occurred to me to type two spaces after the end of a sentence. I might try it. If it improves legibilty, I might adopt the practice. For proper documents, I use LaTeX, where hand-crafted typesetting is largely ignored, and quite right too.
Not that there's any age-ism in our field but ... a few years back I read a post (likely on LI, but I can't be sure; memory's the 2nd thing to go you know) about how to write a resume that doesn't divulge your age. Lose the double-spaces was number 1. Along with omitting a snail-mail address and of course the date of your University graduation.
Those of us who have been doing this for awhile will also leave off the side job we had in school overclocking Apple II's, and other ancient history. If done correctly they won't distinguish yours from someone whose career began when your reverse cron CV ends.
By the time you show up in that suit & tie you haven't worn since your niece's 2nd wedding they will hopefully be invested enough in your skills to look beyond your attire and the grey beard.
I've just pulled a book at random off the shelf, and.. it's monospaced and justified, with extra spaces added for justification between words, with a preference for inserting after a full stop.
Ok, another book. Proportional font, can't tell the difference between dot-space and comma-space, so I assume it's a single space.
As the majority of text is rendered in proportional fonts, and multiple spaces are run together and treated as a single token seperator (and in HTML is mandated), it's pointless to manually insrt extra ones. I've just fired up MSWord, and typed hello space space space space there and once it becomes a line break no matter how many spaces I type it remains displayed as hello space there.
Was taught to double-space after full stop and to 1.5 space lines.
Ignored both because double-space looks terrible in a proportional font, and I don't print documents so it's up to the reader how much of a gap they want between the lines.
Yank here, and we were taught the "period1-space-space" typography.
1"Full stop" for you Brits. Although in translating from English to English, I never understood the difference between a Full and Partial stop. (I understand, however, that Partial stops are popular in California, and at most red lights prior to making a right turn....)
The long-distance trucker who taught me to drive big rigs said that a full stop was when you needed a shower and to otherwise use the facilities. A partial stop was when you just wizzed past the drive-through. He kept an empty 2 liter bottle in his cab for this, said using it at freeway speeds was dangerous ... but not in the drive-through. Thankfully I never witnessed him implementing the procedure.
'Tis an age thing I think. Not that I was taught how to use computers until I'd already been working for several years - and most of that was related to nearly sliding into becoming a database admin (the company went bust before I could start the job). So I got taught to do it on a touch typing course 35 years ago- on a typewriter. Presumably if it gets taught now, it's by people who learned the same way I did?
I heard a semi-professional podcaster talking about it last week. Saying how much he liked Zoom and how he was slightly annoyed that this lockdown had caused loads of people to use it, becuase it had been his little secret before. His comment on Skype was, "how can they have failed to improve their product in 15 years?"
My phone will automatically insert a full stop and capitalize the following letter if I type a double space. I always use double space at the end of a sentence as it's easier than performing the shift operations necessary to manually type either a full stop or a capital letter.
Professional typesetting long ago introduced the concept of m and n spaces. Books used the narrower n space between words and the wider m space between sentences. Typewriters can't kern so you typed one space between words and two spaces at the end of a sentence. Word processing programs can kern and should use n and m spaces making two spaces obsolete.
Now can we please get back to anything else.
Yes, the additional spacing between sentences can be seen in the First Folio. The only reason for two spaces in a word processor is if you use a monospace font like courier. I still use two spaces in email because some recipients turn off html formatting and use monospace fonts or a curses text based client like alpine.
Do they though? At least in MS Word and LibreOffice Writer, a space looks the same size whether between words or between sentences.
I just tried doing the double-space thing in Calibri and Times New Roman, and you know I think it actually does help readability in both fonts.
For me it's entirely a stylistic choice: I really do not prefer serif fonts as they, IMHO, imply an old fashioned ideology. I personally prefer sans serif in all communications, paper or electronic. Block formatting as well; when combined, serif and semi-block, it just yells "1970's!" to me.
I have said this before, but Times New Roman is rubbish for the average report or letter printed as a single column on A4 or letter paper. The letters are deliberately made narrow to fit into newspaper columns. The clue is in the name. It was based on a font designed for the (London) Times newspaper.
When Times New Roman is used for typical office purposes, the lines tend to be too long for legibility, unless the type size is enlarged, which looks a bit odd. I learned that I good target for line length is about 60 to 80 printed characters. I found that most serif fonts other than Times New Roman would meet this. You might need wider margins than you are used to. I use 12pt Palatino in LaTeX documents, and this looks well balanced on A4.
I do not understand why a specialist typeface like Times New Roman was chosen as a default serif font. I am not saying that it is badly designed or ugly, but it is just unsuited to the tasks for which it is most often employed.
Times New Roman is fine for the environment it was designed for, which is multiple narrow columns of fully justified text.
In any other kind of layout, it's just too horrible to look at. If your lines are more than about 20 ems wide, then for Garamond's sake choose a different font.
If you take the time to learn LaTeX, you can add an extra 10-15 percent between words, too ... and even a percent or so between letters. Most readers will never spot the difference, especially in fully justified text ... and just think, you'll only spend several hours (a couple days, at most) learning to cheat a quarter page out of your output!
The last paper I wrote in college in '93 was written in LaTex. Single spaced in a text file, it was just over 2 pages ... after printing it, it was just over three pages, which was the requirement of the class. I don't remember all of the tweaks (font, kerning, margins, etc) I used to make that paper longer, but I remember asking several document-specialist co-workers (since I was sysadmin at the time) for just such help.
Oh cripes! Inserting an 18pt space in 12pt text; what a hideous kludge! I have not tried this, but I suspect it might affect line spacing. I am never entirely sure what a word processor might decide is the "right thing" when I try to micromanage layout like that, which is one reason why I very rarely use a word processor.
The _only_ grammar checker that I ever found tolerable was Grammatik IV (DOS) back in the 90s. At the time XyWrite was the wordprocessor of choice in my law firm. Even then, I usually ignored it. Over the years, one of the first things I do with a newly installed copy of Microsoft Word is disable both grammar and spell-checking, finding both annoyances and unhelpful. Instead, I rely on hard copies of Strunk & White's _The Elements of Style and Webster's _New World Dictionary_ that are always within easy each. Microsoft flagging two spaces after a punctuation mark? Barbaric.
Three Spaces for the Civil Service, under the sky.
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Redmond where the Shadows lie.
One Space to rule them all, One Space to find them,
One Space to annoy them all, and in the darkness bind them.
sorry, I've spent all day trying to finish the end of year books to send to the accountants - and I think it might be starting to have an effect on me. I'll get my coat - the one with the, well you'll never guess what I've got in my pocketses...
My favourite science fiction writer, C. J. Cherryh, used to go off on a big old rant about the Chicago Manual of Style - and how it was used by evil editors as a way to try and destroy her books. And change stuff that she meant to be like that dammit.
But it's not something that reared its ugly head this side of the pond. I've never been all that personally attached to my writing style, so I've never cared enough to get upset. I'm happy to change my style to suit, if there's sufficient reason to make the effort.
The only thing that annoys me is that if I'm trying to do something, I don't want my bloody computer to interfere, because the idiots who wrote the software think they know better. I'm happy to use a spell checker to make sure I've not made a mistake, but once I've been through and sorted that out, I don't expect stuff to still be underlined as wrong. And equally having the computer format stuff for me could be quite usefu, but having things changed as I do them is bloody annoying, as I want stuff to stay how I put it there, unless I knowingly change it. Because the computer might be wrong, and is too stupid to know! So I need the programmers, who think they are so clever, to ask my permission first - in case I'm in a hurry and not going to have time to go back and check they haven't fucked things up while I wasn't looking.
That's why the AP book's stored where I can't see it.
It's also why when I'm typing, I usually type in vi on a so-called "dumb" terminal with a model M keybr0ad. I know of no combination that allows me to put my thoughts into a computer faster and with fewer distractions. If needs be, I'll clean up what I've written and put it into the format that is expected by the intended reader AFTER I've written it ... Doesn't matter if it's a post here on ElReg, a contract, a bill of sale, a dead-tree letter to MeDearOldMum, a nasty email to the local News station about their latest cock-up (or my congress critter about the same), one of the books I'm supposedly writing, or whatever I'm hacking on in the kernel at the moment. Etc. It all starts in vi. ASCII can be imported into anything as I see fit. Nice, clean, simple.
That's not to say my copy of vi is bone stock, it's not. In fact, it's rather heavily customized. But that'll happen when a hacker's been using a tool for a few decades ... It's MY copy of vi, and it works the way I want it to work. Multibillion dollar international advertising machines can go jump ... they have absolutely zero clues about how I use my tools. And from what I could see back when I tried to make sense of the MSDN (starting in the year dot, '92, until I told 'em to bugger off in around 2005), they don't want to know, either. They don't care. They know my needs better than I do, apparently. Fuck 'em.
While we are at it, can we extend this splendid debate to include the value and desirability of using an underscore (e.g _ ) to indicate a space where none is allowed. An example of this is in email addresses.
Should they be double spaced (eg. __) in the same manner.?
We can't let a really futile argument like this die without getting onto page 2 of the comments.
Was the title of a book in the 1990s. The author pointed out that with proportional fonts, the way to make text look good is to use the conventions of typesetting rather than typewriting. So only one space after a full stop in proportional fonts, 2 spaces in monospace fonts. (Word know which font you are using.)
Curly brackets should be used to define paragraphs (blocks) and a semicolon at the end of each sentence (statement)
White space should never be used to define structure and he reader must assume that multiple white space is syntactically identical as a single white space. i.e. [\w] is identical to [\w+]. White space can be used to aid readability,
Or am I thinking about something else :-)
Seriously though, this is why I refuse to learn python and stick to proper language structures.
A (ahem!) while ago...my niece, who was about 7 at the time, was learning to type on my old (ahem!) Compaq 286. My wife and I watched as, at the end of each sentence, she put two fingers on the screen, and advanced the cursor until it was no longer covered by her fingers, then resumed typing the next sentence. We asked her why she did that, and she said that her teacher told her to put two fingers on the page after each sentence so there would be enough space between sentences. So she was just following instructions from her teacher on the computer.
She was a munchkin, so I don't think that two fingers was anything more than two spacebar taps....
The main problem is that Word is a bit pants.
Let's face it, Word is pretty hopeless when it comes to formatting and layout. Everyone from novices to seasoned professionals seems to end up with weird side-effect formatting, often culminating in deletion and recreation of a whole section and sometimes even the whole content to a new document.
I grew up during the 80s in England and I do remember being told about the double-space after a full stop on typewriters but I think I typically use just one space these days. Regardless, it's not Word's job to set the rule on this. Whenever I start using a new copy of Word (and this is sadly also somewhat true for LibreOffice) I have to go turning off a load of their automatic 'correction' features. Auto-capitalisation is especially annoying when you're writing something technical.
One thing I find sorely missing from word is any kind of built in 'code block' as you get with many Wikis and the like. I've seen so many instruction manuals written in word where the commands or code snippets are wrong because of auto-caps or mangling of quote marks.
Like with most M$ products that I'm forced to use, I generally find that my user preferences are the exact opposite of the defaults. Almost everything automatic goes off for starters.
If I ever need to produce a nicely typeset document I think I'll give LaTex a go as it sounds a million times more controllable once you're past the learning curve.
A very poor second to code blocks is fairly easy using styles, sure. You can set a monospace font but last time I googled this (which was admittedly a while back as I haven't needed to use Word any time recently) there was no simple way to define a simple block element which could, for example, have ALL autocorrections of any kind contextually disabled for text typed/pasted into that box, and a default paste of 'keep text only'.
Do you know how long it takes to delete all of the autocorrect entries from the latest version? Long enough for me to curse every single one of the developers.
I, personally, disable spell checking and grammar checking. My computer is slow enough as it is, and when more than half of what I type is system names...
I also taught myself to touchtype by turning off the lights and back in the day, I could overflow my 1200baud modem. But even that wasn't fast compared to the programmer upstairs when I worked at a university. He received the first PC in the department, and only kept it for an hour or so because he could type faster, accurately, than the computer could process it, so he would type type type beeeeeeeep, curse, type type type type beeeeeeeeeep. 30 minutes of that and the old Wyse-50 was back on his desk and he was back to his normal 150+wpm.
*** 'Wordstar' ***.
A superb program for those with indestructible little fingers (every formatting feature is/was accessed via Ctrl+ ).
Or what about 'WordPerfect' or what I used for my maths thesis, 'Spellbinder'.
I reckon LateX is actually hard to beat, as it separates the 'What you see', from the 'what you get' in a very nice logical way. Although it does tend to implement what Donald Knuth (one of my favourite Donalds)* reckons is 'least badness' in text in an American way.
*(Other favourite Donalds are: Mr Duck and Mr Warrington.)
I would shorten the desktop and Start menu shortcuts to be like "MS Word 2000" for more than 20 years. Keeping the "MS" as the start keeps them sorted together as a group. Microsoft are including non-Office apps & services so dropped the "Office", nothing special.
Must be a slow news day? This has been the standard for electronic documents for years now. As a tech guy in my 50s I was taught typing with 2 spaces following end of sentence. It has been many years since I was rudely corrected by a millennial editing my docs that I was hopelessly behind the curve. And I believe Word has been flagging my accidental double-spaces as typos for some time now.
But don't let this discourage the MS haters from piling on - enjoy yourselves :-)
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Wow, 5 pages of comments, every single one about just one of the four stories in the round-up article. People go proper nuts about typography. I include myself in that.
I can't help wondering if we shouldn't standardise the whole Roman-alphabet world on 3 fonts and then abolish the whole field of typography. Imagine the time savings. To avoid unending arguments about what the the 3 allowed fonts should be, we'd have to pick ones that everyone hates, so probably Times New Roman, Arial and Comic Sans.
I'm happy with this innovation; never used two spaces since WordStar came along in the late 19th century.
What I would like to see would be the automatic excision of commas in address blocks, salutations and signature blocks.
They've been deprecated since the Second World War when the Civil Service calculated that they cost more typist hours than boot polishing cost squaddies in the army, or something like that.
Not only are they a waste of time, they are really ugly. Come on Microsoft, while you've got your fascist hat on, tackle these pointless commas.
US standards went out of the window when (almost) half of the population voted Trump* in as President.
Problems with grammar spelling aren't an issue - hey, anyone can make a mistake - but Trump as PRESIDENT????
Has anyone in the USA died from injecting disinfectant yet?
* In the UK, a "trump" is a fart...
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