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Punctuation question


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There are very few firm rules in writing although English teachers (I am one) may tell you otherwise. I rarely notice two spaces after a period anymore. I haven't used two spaces in over 20 years, so it now seems strange to me.

It's a stylistic protocol. Use whatever your situation calls for.

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Two spaces made sense in the old days.  Because typset documents were fully justified, a line might be a bit crammed together, and so two spaces were needed.  In many more fluid contexts today, especially digital ones, there is no such need and lines can sometimes look odd if the convention is followed. -Ex.

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32 minutes ago, Explorify said:

 

Two spaces made sense in the old days.  Because typset documents were fully justified, a line might be a bit crammed together, and so two spaces were needed.  In many more fluid contexts today, especially digital ones, there is no such need and lines can sometimes look odd if the convention is followed. -Ex.

Great explanation!

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6 hours ago, ReformedEE said:

I was recently asked by my supervisor to not space twice after periods.  This has me confused, as I thought 2 spaces after a period was proper punctuation protocol.   Am I wrong?

Your supervisor is correct, and @Explorify explained the reason. It is true that we were taught to double-space after each period, especially those of us who used typewriters before the computer age. But single-space formatting has become the standard in 21st century word processing. This is due, in large part, to today's easier-to-read font. In fact, it was on a writers forum that I learned how important it is to single-space after periods if one is serious about publishing. Most publishers today will not accept manuscripts that contain double-spacing. Like you, for many years I had double-spaced after each period. In fact, it was only a few years ago that I retrained myself not to. Single-spacing is now the correct protocol. 

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22 minutes ago, Expat51 said:

The double spacing after a full stop was really only needed when pages were type set and justified.

 

Today the double spacing is as rare as the Oxford comma . . . . 

More rare than the Oxford comma. The Oxford comma is still necessary, on occasion.

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13 hours ago, Expat51 said:

The double spacing after a full stop was really only needed when pages were type set and justified.

Today the double spacing is as rare as the Oxford comma . . . . 

You are right that the Oxford comma is not as common as it used to be. Perhaps it is even more rare in England?

 

13 hours ago, LateBloomer said:

More rare than the Oxford comma. The Oxford comma is still necessary, on occasion.

Agreed. I prefer the use of the Oxford comma to the more modern trend of omitting it, so you will see it regularly in my writing. But that's just me. ;)

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5 hours ago, ReformedEE said:

Alright, so what is an Oxford comma?

Typically when listing items a comma is used between each individual item except the last  which usually has the word "and" preceding

The Oxford comma puts a comma before the "and"  . . . . . 

As an old Oxford man myself I do tend to use it.

Edited by Expat51
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I guess I always show my age in my writings.  I still always use the double-spacing after a period and the Oxford comma.  I’m sure I was spanked once or twice by the nuns by not following those rules.  😂

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23 hours ago, spnkswtch said:

I guess I always show my age in my writings.  I still always use the double-spacing after a period and the Oxford comma.  I’m sure I was spanked once or twice by the nuns by not following those rules.  😂

Me too, but since I’m required to get with the times for the sake of my job, I’m going to need to make this change.  Now that I’m paying more attention to it, I see how double spacing seems outdated.  Guess I knew people were moving away from that, I just hadn’t given it much thought.  Thanks to you guys and gals who are better writers than me.

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  • 3 weeks later...

MLA formatting is single space. APA formatting was double space after a period up until 2019 🙄. I was constantly going through my research papers checking the spaces after each period. 

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This was changed when I had returned to college. Even tests for jobs are now using it. You'll get a "mistake" for putting two spaces on those typing tests. I think the reasoning is that since we are no longer using type writers, there's not as much reason to use two spaces.

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