Habits of the Space

Over the years I’ve developed many habits. I’m sure you have, as well. Some habits are good (like eating healthy). Other habits aren’t. When I learned to type, I was taught to ALWAYS put two spaces at the end of your sentence. No one explained the WHY, it was simply what I was taught.

When researching manuscript formatting, I found an article that said you only put one space at the end of the sentence. WHAT?! Naturally, I decided I needed to look into this and verify (or debunk) this information.

Happily, the internet is a treasure chest of knowledge, and I found that information posted in several places. This made me question when this happened, and is it just for publishing novels, or is this a new standard? Upon investigation, I discovered that double spacing at the end of a sentence was the standard because of typewriters. A typewriter gave every letter the same amount of space if it needed it, or not. It was due to monospaced fonts and meant all letters were the same width. Modern fonts are able to adjust this spacing and it is called proportional fonts.

With the typewriter, you needed the two spaces to clearly mark the end of the sentence. With computers, and proportional fonts, you don’t. So, this information is great and good. But do I really need to retrain myself to only hit the space bar ONCE at the end of the sentence?

The Associated Press, who sets one of the standards for grammar, had it posted on their website that yes, I do need to retrain myself. On a happy note, I can find and replace for period space space. So, if I can’t remember, I can at least have my computer help me. But I also have to look for question mark space space and any other punctuation. Hmmm….I ought to look to see if I can search for a simple space space.

Well, back to editing my book. This is not a fast process, but it is moving along.