You might recall how thrilled I was to have Tara writing an article for the spring issue of Ye Olde Publishing Company’s parenting magazine. But when she had me look over a rough draft last night, my excitement turned to despair. Not because she had left any participles dangling or mispelt werds. My wife is a solid writer! I’m afraid the sin she had committed was far worse.
She inserted two spaces after every period.
I gasped out loud. Literally. That was followed by a “Nooooo!!!” so long and drawn-out it required three exclamation marks.
Here’s the thing: nothing in the world bugs me more than double spacing after a period. It’s an antiquated habit that dates back to the Typewriter Era. Back then, an extra space was needed to indicate the beginning of a new sentence because the spacing between words on a typewriter was uneven. Every letter was given the same amount of space, be it an l or a w, which led to some pretty janky-looking sentences.
Fortunately, monospaced typesetting, as it is called, went the way of the dinosaur when modern word processors and proportional fonts came along.
I should clarify: it didn’t turn into oil, but rather, disappeared.
Yet, some people cling to this frivolous habit…even when called out on it. I once got into a heated Facebook exchange over the double space debacle that rivaled that of the current political divide.
People are passionate about this and refuse to acknowledge the error of their ways even though Slate says “Typing two spaces after a period is totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong” and Microsoft Word flags two spaces as an error and all the major style guides concur that a single space is the correct way to go. Even Jennifer writes, “Nothing says over 40 like two spaces after a period!”
Listen to Jennifer. She is wise.
Not that Tara isn’t, of course. It doesn’t matter anyway; I’m going to edit her gardening article before submitting it, and you can bet your ass there will only be one space after those periods.
And you thought I had strong opinions about the Oxford comma…
(Man alive, I’m rivaling Autumn Ashbough in the hyperlinks-per-square-inch category today.)
Speaking of Oxford commas, back in 2013 I went toe-to-toe with my boss over the whole thing. It’s two hyperlinks back, if you want to read about that. Suffice it to say, my attempt to convince him to adopt the Oxford comma for official use in our corporate communications failed miserably. So, when I started my job at CenturyCo, I debated even mentioning any sort of preference. After all, my boss comes from the world of journalism, where Oxford commas are a no-no. Did I really want to march into another losing battle?
Well, the answer is yes, because I’m a Taurus (ergo, stubborn). I pleaded my case with her and, much to my surprise and delight, even though the company officially adheres to AP style, she acquiesced and said she was fine with making exceptions to the rules in certain cases. I learned later that my Team Oxford predecessor had made a similar argument in favor of adopting it a year earlier and was summarily shot down. Which means either I’m more persuasive or my boss was simply too worn down to put up another fight.
Clearly, she is not a Taurus.
In other news, after an abnormally warm winter (which you are probably well aware of because I’ve been bitching incessantly about it for months), our weather is about to turn cold. How cold? Real cold, yo.
I’m totally okay with this. I didn’t move to South Dakota for 60-degree winters! Plus, we bought ¾ of a cord of wood that we’ve only used sparingly and have the grooviest basement this side of 1974. The more excuses we have to build roaring fires and hang out down there, the better.
They’re also forecasting a little snow, and while a lot of snow would be better since we’re in the midst of a persistent strong drought, we’ll take whatever moisture we can get at this time.
Hope you have a great weekend!