Tag Archives: Typing

One Lump or Two

Hey Nancy,

Some people do two.  I do one. I’m talking about what just happened right back there. Or right there. I’m talking about how many spaces go after a period.

Now I learned typing when it was typing on a typewriter. I am young enough that it was an electric typewriter, but I am old enough that my high school graduation present from my parents was a typewriter. (It was the fancy kind where you popped out the ink ribbon and put in a corrector ribbon. I was hot stuff!) But I digress…

In typing class, I learned that you put two spaces after a period and after a semicolon.

Then in the late 1990s I spent a few years as an “Administrative Assistant.” (Translation: Secretary) I used a computer with the Microsoft Works word-processing program. I was told that the two spaces after a period were no longer necessary. They explained that all word-processing programs were smart enough to recognize the end of one sentence and made the space after a period slightly larger that the space between words. This was done to keep the flow of print. It also meant that putting two spaces after a period makes the sentences too far apart and awkward to read. Cool!

But I still see smart people (or are they just smrt?) putting 2 spaces after a period! Did no one tell Mavis Beacon? In fact, one of my much younger friends went into a tizzy just two years ago when she found out that you only need one. “Why hasn’t anyone told me this before???”

So, I wonder what our readers do: one or two?

Ali says: Y colorín, colorado, este cuento se ha acabado.

Hey Ali,

A literal River of White…

I, of course use only one space. And, I do that because you told me about this years ago. And now, when I look at material typed (keyboarded?) by others, I can’t help but see what they call “a river of white” through all but the best edited and typeset work. (Do we still call it typesetting?)

(If anyone cares, I bought my first typewriter with my high school graduation money. It had a cartridge that had correction tape in it along with the black ribbon. It also had Spanish characters! Accents and tildes and upside down questions marks! What luxury!)

Ironically, I believe that during that administrative assistant period you were told to count pencils?

I have argued until I’m blue in the face with friends who ask me to edit their work. I circle with red those glaring spots that make up the river of white. You would be surprised how these people dig in their heels in homage to those typing teachers whose names I bet they can’t even remember!

These are the same people who will break also sorts of other rules. You know – the kind of people who aren’t rule followers: the ones who will roll through a stop sign or take eleven items in the express lane. Isn’t it funny how those rule breakers won’t learn a new rule that goes with the new technology?

Nancy says: All is words, and all shall be words
and all manner of thing shall be words.

1 Comment

Filed under language: