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  1. #1
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    Sentence spacing (Any version)

    Hi,

    I'm a software trainer and have taught my students to use just one space between sentences when word processing. i have always explained this as due to the differences between monospaced fonts and proportional fonts, but recently was asked for a source. I've not been able to find a definitive source to which I could point and say, "Here's where it says to use only one space between sentences.

    Can anyone point me to a souce?

    Thanks in advance.

    George Rhymestine

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    Re: Sentence spacing (Any version)

    Hi George. I suspect that any good Style Manual will be able to help you. If you run Google and use "style+manual" (without quotes), you can probably find something on-line. HTH <img src=/S/compute.gif border=0 alt=compute width=40 height=20>

    Ron M

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    Re: Sentence spacing (Any version)

    Ron,

    You were quite correct; I found what I needed in the Chicago Manual of Style.

    Thank you for your help.

    George

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    Re: Sentence spacing (Any version)

    What authority would you accept for something which has been common practice since probably Gutenberg?
    Any printing manual would probably say to use just one space between sentences. Googling for "single space between sentences" gives many hits!

    The aim of this space is to enable the eye to detect the end of a sentence and thus the beginning of a new one, which (another convention) starts with a capital letter.

    Personally I still put two blanks between sentences, because I find that the "blank width" in many fonts (i.e. usually Arial!) is too small, and thus makes it difficult to detect a new sentence start... <img src=/S/fire.gif border=0 alt=fire width=15 height=15>
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

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    Re: Sentence spacing (Any version)

    John,

    Thanks for your reply.

    I guess it depends upon which style you want to accept. As a former journalism instructor, I expected one space to comply with AP and UPI style; as a former typing student (1959), I was taught one space. If Johann Gutenberg utilized two, then that's another typography style. As you may have noted in the previous reply to my post, the Chigao Manual of Style recommends one. Try Chicago Manual of Style in google.

    My concern is that the corporate people I most often teach use correct business style, which is one space. The computer takes care of inserting enough space between sentences and even that can be adjusted through kerning.

    I just needed to be able to refer the questioner to a reliable source instead of just expecting him to accept my word as instructor.

    Thanks again,

    George

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    Re: Sentence spacing (Any version)

    George

    I was always taught to question the "argument from authority"!

    It is purely convention that decides whether one space between sentences in a proportionally-spaced font is recommended, as it is almost universally.
    Any manual on typesetting or printing will say this -- because it usually looks better than two spaces, which can produce the infamous "rivers of white space" down the printed page.

    My point was simply that the almost universal use of Arial in Word documents, which has (IMHO) a smaller width for a blank space than is desirable, makes me question whether two spaces would be more appropriate when the text is (only) left justified. Typefaces used in books seem to have a somewhat wider "blank width", and so look better with a single space between sentences. The full justification used there also enables the start of a sentence to be detected more easily by the eye, because of the additional "micro spaces" usually added between words to cause the right-hand edge to be justified.

    As to kerning in Arial, witness the horrible confusion between the letter pair "rn" and the single letter "m" in a word like adornment, or the "i" and "l" spacing in a word like million. Just put a page with these words through any scanner and OCR program and see what a pig's ear is made of them!

    (Just don't get me started on how vile a font is Algerian!)
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

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    Re: Sentence spacing (Any version)

    John,

    A most interesting discussion. Thank you.

    BTW, I like the Book Antiqua at 12 points. It seems quite easy to read, INHO.

    Thanks again,

    George

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    Re: Sentence spacing (Any version)

    George

    Could I recommend my favourite "The Thames and Hudson Manual of Typography" by Ruari McLean to your students as a brilliantly illustrated, fascinating and very clear description of the subject? Its major flaw is that it was originally published in 1980, but reprinted at least twice since, so some of the practicalities relate to "how typography and printing was done then". It's a bargain for over 200 pages of material.
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

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    Re: Sentence spacing (Any version)

    Just a a footnote for PostScript fans, Book Antiqua is the TrueType version of Palatino. Very nice fonts for print work, but the serifs are a bit delicate for low-res graphics or faxing.

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    Re: Sentence spacing (Any version)

    We use Palatino / Book Antiqua for training manuals at work, as we think it is one of the best looking fonts for the purpose. Our style guide tells us to use two spaces after a full stop (period). I think that it is a matter of taste and there can really be no question of saying that one or other convention is actually 'right' or 'wrong'. I now find I type two spaces automatically, and I notice that I have done so in this post without really thinking about it. For what it's worth, I like to see a little more space at the end of a sentence than between words, and I suspect that this accords with what many of us instinctively do in hand-writing.

    Ian

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    Re: Sentence spacing (Any version)

    You may also have noticed that the double spaces are not displayed in your post. HTML ignores multiple spaces.

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    Re: Sentence spacing (Any version)

    Note that typography manuals will specify an 'em-space' between sentences (the width of an 'm' in that typeface) and not an 'en-space' (the width of an 'n') which is what you get when you tap the spacebar on your keyboard for spacing between words.

    For readability's sake, IMHO, 'word-processing' should continue to use two spaces at sentence end, and, if necessary later, clean it up for 'desktop publishing' (or typesetting) using one em-space -- unless you want to teach all your learners the craft of typography... <img src=/S/brickwall.gif border=0 alt=brickwall width=25 height=15>

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    Re: Sentence spacing (Any version)

    In fact, Word (2002) puts an ever so slightly wider space between to sentences than between words within a sentence. This becomes more noticeable in fully justified text - the space between sentences is widened more than the spaces within sentences to justify the text.

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    Re: Sentence spacing (Any version)

    I guess they've been reading my critical e-mails to Bill... <img src=/S/clapping.gif border=0 alt=clapping width=19 height=23>

    AFAIK, 'correct' business form for 'word-processed' documents remains two spaces at the end of a sentence (at least in New York). The key is to be consistent in your individual or corporate usage.

    p.s. Palatino has the most beautiful Xs. I use it whenever possible.

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    Re: Sentence spacing (Any version)

    My employer, a Seattle law firm, has for many years referred to "The Gregg Reference Manual," for grammatical and typing rules and conventions. We are currently using the Ninth Edition, William A. Sabin, 2001 (Gregg was first copyrighted in 1951). Section 102 of Gregg concurs with one space between sentences typed in proportional fonts, and discusses exceptions. We, however, have chosen to continue to use two spaces between sentences, in any font.

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