Monday, January 08, 2007

Yes, even this is part of a redesign

A good hard look at anything you do will produce some interesting questions. And some not so interesting (but necessary) questions, like how many spaces after a period—one space or two?

This was a fun discussion that split various members of our Outreach & Communication team into two (the week before the New Year was pretty slow).

For myself, I've always been a monospaced kind of guy, but many of our organization's publications have two spaces and it throws me off, so I did a little research and found that the two space-method is old school with the non-proportional typewriter typeset, courier.

But don't take it from me, Ask the English Teacher says:

In the long-gone days of the typewriter, we always put two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence. This was a usage more or less required because every letter took up the same amount of space--an i took as much space as an m. (If you ever use the Courier typeface, you know what it looked like.) So two spaces at the end helped to distinguish a sentence-ending period from a period in an abbreviation like Dr. or Mr.

Most computer typefaces, however, give each letter just the space it needs. So, like the text in books and magazines, we need only one space after a period at the end of the sentence. I confess it took me a couple of years to break myself of that two-space habit once I'd shifted from typewriter to computer.
There we have it, one space from here on out (at least for the web side of things!).

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