Typing rules - settle this for me

I have always been brought up that you put 2 spaces after a full stop or question mark and 1 after a comma or colon (semi or otherwise).

Was this a rule a teacher made up, or is it a real typing rule?

Comments
Rachael_Power's picture

As a journalist, I can

Rachael_Power | | Permalink

As a journalist, I can confirm that we put just the one space after everything. However, perhaps it is a rule for a different style of typing. 

Real - but    1 thanks

JeremyNewman | | Permalink

In the days of typewriters, it was normal to have two spaces after a full stop, but only one after a comma. With word processing software, the two spaces are not only pointless but actually hinder the software in setting out material properly, particularly if it is justified.

The two spaces rule is still followed by many secretaries/typists who learned to type in the age of steam.

School rule

sap | | Permalink

When my daughter was in P1 a few years ago and they were doing writing they were told to leave one finger space after each work and a comma, colon etc attaches to a word so to leave one finger space and two finger spaces after a full stop.  Maybe this is where the rule comes from. 

ShirleyM's picture

It used to be that way

ShirleyM | | Permalink

All the professional typists I have known have followed that rule, but as typist jobs are virtually non-existent now I guess those rules have died out.

It was once right... but now is outdated and wrong

GSPANESER | | Permalink

Apparently the two-spaces concept was originally due to the deficiencies of manual typewriters. Early machines did not easily distinguish a full stop, the subsequent single space and then the start of the next word. Hence double-spacing was used to make reading of the typed text easier.

Thankfully though (especially for those advocates of time-and-motion studies everywhere) it's no longer a problem with modern technology .

 

I still do it

Shirley Martin | | Permalink

I did a secretarial diploma in 1997, whilst between jobs, and opted to include manual typewriting.  We were told to leave two spaces after a full stop and I still do it for all my typing, even though I never use a manual typewriter.  I find that it is easier on the eye.

Kind regards

Shirley

taxhound's picture

two spaces

taxhound | | Permalink

I agree.  Two spaces after a full stop is how it was always taught in the past and is what I do, even though no one ever taught me to type....

BKD's picture

Following on ...    1 thanks

BKD | | Permalink

... from the discussion about division by zero and numbers greater than infinity, how is it possible to have 2 (or more) spaces?                              I can see only one big one.

;¬)

Constantly Confused's picture

No!

Constantly Confused | | Permalink

BKD wrote:

... from the discussion about division by zero and numbers greater than infinity, how is it possible to have 2 (or more) spaces?                              I can see only one big one.

;¬)

YOU KEEP THAT MATHEMATICAL MUMBO JUMBO OUT OF MY THREAD YOU HEAR ME!!1!!!!11!!!!

:)

Thanks all, I will be a luddite and keep doing it (plus I don't think I can stop...), I was mainly curious as a partner here (twice my age) puts them the other way round, so he will put 'I came in,  the office was empty. Where are all my staff?' which just looks creepy to me...

Next week, 'why am I the only one who still has a ball in their mouse?' ;)

johnjenkins's picture

texing

johnjenkins | | Permalink

has put most rules out of the window. Mr Ms Messrs etc. even HMRC sign with their first name. Punctuation and headings were nearly as important as content years ago. How many people remember 4 copies of accounts and you had to proof read the bottom copy that was just about legible?

Anyway I'm with BKD.

Civil service style

halblackburn | | Permalink

If you examine the typing on WW2 government letters, memos, etc. that are published from time to time you see that there was usually three spaces (and sometimes four) after a full stop.    Does anyone have a granny or great-granny who can give a first-hand account of how they typed for victory?

You asked

Shirley Martin | | Permalink

@ halblackburn

Pitman's Dictionary of Typewriting, Fourth edition 1942 (belonged to my mother who did work at the tax office in the 1950s.)

Spacing after punctuation marks.

Spacing after punctuation marks is largely a question of personal taste, and not of definite rule.....  Three of the methods most generally in use are

(a)  comma 1, semicolon 2, colon 2, full stop 2, exclamation mark 2, interrogation mark 2.

(b)  comma 1, semicolon 1, colon 1, full stop 2, exclamation mark 2, interrogation mark 2.

(c)  comma 1, semicolon 2, colon 2, full stop 3, exclamation mark 3, interrogation mark 3.

I was taught to use (b).

Kind regards

Shirley

interrogation mark....

justsotax | | Permalink

is that a spotlight!?

mwngiol's picture

interrogatio mark

mwngiol | | Permalink

"is that a spotlight!?  ""

I thought it was the mark where your fingernail used to be?

I was taught to leave two

Lilac1 | | Permalink

I was taught to leave two spaces after a full stop and one after comma's etc. I still do this on my iPad and blackberry and if you click the space bar twice, it automatically puts a full stop in place so doesn't that mean this rule is still valid?

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