Editorial Guideline: 1.G. SIMPLE PUNCTUATION RULES


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Editorial Guideline: 1. G. states: "SIMPLE PUNCTUATION RULES: One or two spaces after each period, colon, or semi-colon; Periods should be inside of quotes; When doing “. . . " - you should use only 3 dots minimum and maximum; When using dashes, use two in a row, ex: “-"; There is never a space BEFORE a period or BEFORE a comma. "

Using a single space after a period is a typographic standard in today's media. If you are unfamiliar with the reasoning behind the double space, I’ll shed some light on the subject for you.

The only reason why the double space was used in the first place was because of letter proportion, and the readability of type from the “Typewriter” era. For a typewriter for function, it required that every letter, number, and symbol take up the same width. If you type a “i”, it will still take up as much space on your sheet as it would to type an “m”. Which introduces plenty of kerning issues, but that is a different matter.

With all of these disproportional words and sentences, it came to be quite difficult to read multiple paragraphs at a time with ease. By adding an extra space after each period, it became much more clear where sentences began and ended. However, since we are not living in the dark ages of the typewriter. We now have proportional, and semi-properly kerned typefaces. Making it more than easy enough to pick up on the end. And beginning of sentences.

There are more reasons why you should only use one space after each sentence other than the mechanics of the type, and the fact that your agitating thousands of typographers around the world. If you use two spaces: After you write a few paragraphs, you will find numerous ‘white spots’ poking out throughout your page. Rendering the result quite unattractive and very distracting to read. Given enough sentences, you might even come across so called, “rivers” which is where you have so many of those white spots that your eye ‘connects the dots’ making your page even harder to read than before.

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for stupidity. So we’ll just have to fix everyone else’s typographic mistakes ourselves. All of the leading web browsers: Internet Explorer, FireFox, Safari, etc… have already taken care of this! These browsers will not recognize anything more than a single space. However, you can ‘hard code’ spaces into your text with the html code “ ” (without the quotes). stands for Non-Breaking Space and there are many other &code; codes out there if your interested. So let me just say thank you to the programmers of FireFox, and all the other browsers.

So remember, unless your typing in “NotePad” on a windows machine or on a 50 pound typewriter from the stone age. Don’t use two spaces after a sentence. Unless you’re purposefully trying to be irritating.

- Nate Carlson

Nate Carlson nterc@hotmail.com



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