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Sentence Spacing — 1 Space or 2?

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the how-about-none dept.

Input Devices 814

An anonymous reader noted an epic battle is waging, the likes of which has not been seen since we all agreed that tab indenting for code was properly two spaces. He writes "Do you hit the space bar two times between sentences, or only one? I admit, I'm from the typewriter age that hits it twice, but the article has pretty much convinced me to change. My final concern: how will my word processor know the difference between an abbr. and the end of a sentence (so it can stretch the sentence for me)? I don't use a capital letter for certain technical words (even when they start a sentence), making it both harder to programmatically detect a new sentence and more important to do so. What does the Slashdot community think?"

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814 comments

False assumption (4, Insightful)

tedgyz (515156) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139788)

we all agreed that tab indenting for code was properly two spaces

Say what?!?? Who made that decision? In the java world, 4 spaces is pretty standard.

Re:False assumption (2, Informative)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139816)

Microsoft used to be pretty fond of 8 spaces... that was painful...

Re:False assumption (5, Insightful)

Cryolithic (563545) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140124)

The linux Kernel is (was?) 8 spaces. The idea between 8 space tabs is that if your code is indented so far as to be a pain to read, then you should probably look into why it's so nested.

Re:False assumption (1)

CaptnMArk (9003) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140174)

Kernel is 1 tab, which is always 8 spaces. This is completely different from 8 space indent.

I agree (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33139832)

http://goatse.fr/

Re:False assumption (1)

gabereiser (1662967) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139836)

haha, this made me laugh... there's always a war between the developers here at work on whether to use spaces or tabs...

Re:False assumption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33139838)

Whoosh!

Re:False assumption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33139958)

I type backslash T every time I indent. You noobs and your wysiwyg programs, Im sticking with my out of date acronyms and multimedia PC.

Re:False assumption (1)

Wolfraider (1065360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140096)

4 spaces
2 spaces doesn't offset the code enough for me to see it well
8 spaces uses up too much real estate
so 4 spaces it is

Two spaces, bitches. (-1, Troll)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139802)

End of discussion.

Re:Two spaces, bitches. (1)

WalksOnDirt (704461) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140032)

But is there any practical difference? For instance, how many spaces are after this period. Did you guess 11?

Re:Two spaces, bitches. (-1, Troll)

pyster (670298) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140098)

Yeah, if you are a douche bag. It's 1 space. WTF is the reason for 2? Your eyes so poor you cant see the delineation? Notice when you read shit on the internet it is single spaced after punctuation, and not double spaced?

Re:Two spaces, bitches. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33140272)

There is a difference, without a doubt. Ever notice how when someone writes something long on the internet, it looks like a giant wall of text? If you're reading a book, and you hit an entire page that's just one paragraph, do you get that same feeling?

"tab indenting for code was properly two spaces" (4, Insightful)

glwtta (532858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139844)

Well fuck you too, then.

How to get out of work on a progeamming team (5, Funny)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140086)

1 .Attend meeting with some sort of electronic device.
Ask "Should I use spaces or tabs for newlines?"
3. Hang out and serf web.
4. Discussion settled? Ask "Should there be brackets around code even if there's only one line? Like this:

If( foo == true)
a=x;

Or is it:
If( foo = true)
{
a=x;
}

sit back and surf web for a few more hours.

Blasphemy! (1)

uvsc_wolverine (692513) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139848)

I do two spaces, except on my iPhone. It does one space automatically after double tapping the space bar for a period. Oh...and I still do the tab indents when I code (which is pretty rare anymore...my C++ is so rusty it belongs in a scrap heap).

What does slashdot say? (5, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139858)

[Insert one thousand opinions here]

The only one that matters: Is it still readable?

We have bigger problems in the world than "one space or two" ... for example, people's atrocious speling.

Re:What does slashdot say? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33140054)

Is it readable, and is it consistent?
If so, then it's good.

Re:What does slashdot say? (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140190)

Two spaces makes it easier to parse with a regexp. Any period followed by two spaces is the end of a sentence. If you use one space, you might pick up sentence fragments with titles (Mr. Mrs., etc.)

Of course, the question is really moot. LaTeX ignores whitespace and just does what it thinks is right. I am willing to trust LaTeX.

Technical words? Write around them. TMTOWTDI. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33140246)

Parent Poster:

The only one that matters: Is it still readable?

From TFSubmitter:

I don't use a capital letter for certain technical words (even when they start a sentence), making it both harder to programmatically detect a new sentence and more important to do so.

...and you solve that problem by writing around it.

"Start the loop with foo=0. foo is incremented in the loop. Exit the loop when foo=10."
vs. "Start the loop by setting foo=0. Each time through the loop, increment foo. Exit the loop when foo=10."

This also works for everything from products ("iProducts account for X% of Apple's sales" / "Apple derives X% of its sales from iProducts") to object/class/function names ( fooBar(baz) works by doing XYZ..." / "When you call fooBar(baz), the function works by doing XYZ...")

English is like Perl. There's more than one way to do it, and it's easy to write illegibly. But the fact that There's More Than One Way To Do It also means it's possible to write legible English. Just like Perl, TMTOWTDI is a feature, not a bug.

One space (5, Informative)

GuJiaXian (455569) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139862)

I've been an editor (copy editor, proofreader, senior editor, etc.) for 10 years now. One space.

Re:One space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33139916)

You must be a really shitty editor. One space? Are you loco?

Re:One space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33140072)

He must be if he can read anything in one-space. I was under the assumption that you need at least two-space to form letters.

Re:One space (3, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140184)

No, he's not loco. He's correct, at least if he's going by the AP style guide or, indeed, many other such materials. It's one space for any proportionally-spaced font. (Fixed-spaced fonts (Courier, American Typewriter, Lucida Console, Bitstream Vera Mono, etc.) aren't used in most professionally-published work, except for stuff like code in a technical publication.)

Monospaced or proportional (5, Informative)

ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139864)

Two spaces are appropriate for typewriters and similar monospaced fonts (Courier, Monaco, Andale Mono, Consolas, Vera, Deja Vu mono)

One space for proportional fonts (Times, Helvetica, almost everything.)

Re:Monospaced or proportional (1, Insightful)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139972)

Two spaces are appropriate for typewriters and similar monospaced fonts (Courier, Monaco, Andale Mono, Consolas, Vera, Deja Vu mono)

One space for proportional fonts (Times, Helvetica, almost everything.)

That seems backwards to me. One space in a proportional font should be much smaller than one in a monospaced font. You'll get a HUGE difference between those two your way. Unless that is your intent, for some unknown reason.

it's the period (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33140168)

That seems backwards to me. One space in a proportional font should be much smaller than one in a monospaced font. You'll get a HUGE difference between those two your way. Unless that is your intent, for some unknown reason.

You're concentrating on the wrong character.

In a monospaced font, the period/fullstop is as wide as the W. You need the double-space to compensate for the extra-wide period.

Re:Monospaced or proportional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33139988)

Two spaces are appropriate for typewriters and similar monospaced fonts (Courier, Monaco, Andale Mono, Consolas, Vera, Deja Vu mono)

One space for proportional fonts (Times, Helvetica, almost everything.)

Exactly. And to be absolutely pedantic:

You type two spaces after the period that ends a sentence (one after the period that is used to abbreviate something in the middle of a sentence), and after a colon.

Then you let the software render it correctly - as in render one space even if multiple whitespace characters are present (if the font is proportional), and render two spaces if ((two spaces are present following a period) && (the font is monospaced)).

Thread over in one (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140080)

And... the thread is over in one comment.

Sorry for the Farkism, but there's really nothing more here to be said.

Re:Monospaced or proportional (1)

eln (21727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140114)

I disagree. Even with proportional fonts one space at the end of a period makes the text look crowded. I like to have an easily distinguishable end to a sentence, and a tiny period (which can be nearly invisible depending on the typeface, size, and which letter immediately precedes the period) followed by a single space can be very difficult to distinguish, especially in a relatively large (more than 5 or 6 lines) block of text.

I don;t know about anyone else, but when I was learning to write by hand (before anyone except aspiring secretaries learned typing in school) I was taught to leave more space after a period than between individual words. The two-space convention is more a reflection of that need for separation between sentences than something necessitated by fixed width fonts, and that need is not diminished (if anything, it's even more pronounced) with proportional fonts.

Re:Monospaced or proportional (4, Funny)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140266)

You forgot about the special case where you should use variable amounts of spaces, at random, to add to the horror that is is Comic Sans.

Sentence stretching? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33139870)

Sentences are not stretched, paragraphs are.
(and they have their own invisible sign(s))

Twice (2, Interesting)

jockeys (753885) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139876)

Old enough to have typed on a typewriter as a child, so twice.

As an interesting note, the iPhone auto-enters a period when you double space, so the tradition is still partially alive, at least.

Re:Twice (2, Informative)

AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140130)

As an interesting note, the iPhone auto-enters a period when you double space, so the tradition is still partially alive, at least.

True, but it inserts a single space with that period.

Same as paragraph spacing (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139880)

I always used 1.5 lines between paragraphs. So I don't see why you shouldn't use 1.5 spaces after ending a sentence.

But seriously, it's pretty much exactly the same problem... a single space between paragraphs might not be distinguishable between, say, a new entry on a list, especially lists with long items that don't make use of indentation. So you need a separate paragraph marker. Similarly, we need a way to distinguish between abbreviation periods and sentence-ending periods. A period followed by a half-space sounds perfect!

And as mentioned in the wikipedia link, any whitespace beyond the first is treated as a single whitespace anyway, with HTML / XML / TeX, etc. (Oh noes, I just did an abbreviation and sentence-ending period in one!) I remember being slightly annoyed by how LyX wouldn't register more than one space anywhere in your document (unless it was a special nobreakspace character)... I would just keep hitting space and it would ignore me after the first. But I think that helps get the point across.

Re:Same as paragraph spacing (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140140)

And as mentioned in the wikipedia link, any whitespace beyond the first is treated as a single whitespace anyway, with HTML / XML / TeX, etc.

Unless you explicitly ask for french spacing, LaTeX creates a larger space after points in the output (because it assumes that it marks the end of a sentence). This also means that you have to specially treat dots from abbreviations to prevent this (with backslash space instead of simply space in the source code).

Asian languages (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140154)

Oh, and as an aside, the written Thai language doesn't use spaces between words and doesn't need periods at the end of sentences. Basically, each word consists of one or two consonant characters (~44 total, but they're phonetic) which get surrounded by some combination of vowel characters (~26 total), and then might get some intonation marks on top (1-4 in addition to the neutral).

So there's a lot going on, but at least they don't have to worry about this trivia... each sentence consists of a bunch of words run together, separated by a simple space :-P

this is a serious question? (1, Funny)

waddgodd (34934) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139882)

I don't know what about an IBM model M and a selectric keyboard implies that there's any difference at all in how you use them. Standard typography has evolved to two spaces between sentences, PERIOD. This is not up for discussion, nor should it be. There's no significantly new information that implies that this should change, except that more and more people are freaking lazy, and language should not evolve because of laziness. Man up, hit that spacebar twice, and quit whining

Depends on the font (4, Informative)

jpatters (883) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139884)

It depends on the font. If it is monospaced (such as on a typewriter) it should be two spaces. If you are using a proportional font, use one space.

Re:Depends on the font (1)

pz (113803) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140118)

It depends on the font. If it is monospaced (such as on a typewriter) it should be two spaces. If you are using a proportional font, use one space.

If you are using a proportional font, the word processor you are using should be making spacing decisions for you, so it does not matter if you use one or two spaces after a period. At least some systems (like TeX) do a far better job than can be done in a reasonable time by hand.

a suggestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33139890)

Here's a suggestion. Go pick up any book or magazine that's produced by a real publisher. Now count how many of them use double-spaces between sentences. Chances are the number will remain zero by the time you're done counting.

Re:a suggestion (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33140066)

Actually, there are multiple types of spaces in typesetting, with multiple widths. A properly typeset book will use a single em-space (a widened space approximately the width of the letter "m") between sentences and a narrower space between words. FWIW.

Not just problem for automatic parsers (3, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139910)

It's easier for a human to determine sentence structure when sentences are set apart by two spaces, too.

Re:Not just problem for automatic parsers (1)

albedoa (1529275) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140256)

This is also an argument for separating sentences by three spaces and ten spaces.

One space. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33139912)

What does two spaces get you? Nothing. So why waste the time.

When rendered, HTML is supposed to condense all white space down to a single space anyways.

2. Duh. But... (3, Interesting)

slgrimes (974517) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139914)

I always put 2 spaces at the end of a sentence. Oddly, though, I've noticed that when I type, if it's a space between words I use my right thumb. For the end of my sentence, I use my left one. Something I didn't even realize I did until about 6 months ago, and I've been doing this for about 20 years!

Re:2. Duh. But... (0, Troll)

pyster (670298) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140108)

Always, except for the post you just made.

Re:2. Duh. But... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33140280)

That's your browsers rendering. Take a look at the source...

The Slashdot Community Thinks... (5, Funny)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139918)

...that you need to get out more. Adopt a dog. Maybe find a girlfriend.

Seriously, dude. We're starting to worry about you.

Two spaces (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33139924)

That "article" is wikipedia. It holds no merit with me.

What article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33139926)

Since when is Wikipedia a valid source to cite? If you change your mind after reading something there I need to get started on a page that sells bridges.

What battle!!!! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33139928)

A epic battle? Where! There is only a link to wikipedia FFS!! And even then its still more history orientated! Nor has it anything to do with programming!

This isnt news, this is bollocks!

Re:What battle!!!! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33140226)

Yes - but is it one bollock or two bollocks?

Word processor? (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139938)

If your word processor is using the whitespace that you enter, rather than typesetting your text according to whatever your style rules define, you need to get a new word processor. I tend to use two spaces at the end of a sentence, because I tend to edit text in monospace and it gives me a clear visual break between sentences, but that doesn't mean that I expect two spaces in the typeset output - even a web browser is more intelligent than that. Generally I find around 1.2-1.4 gives maximum readability. You want a slightly larger gap between sentences than between words, but double the width of a normal space gives too large a gap for easy reading. Of course, the width of a single space varies slightly from line to line when typesetting justified text.

Use LaTeX. (4, Insightful)

R.Mo_Robert (737913) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139948)

Use LaTeX (especially if you're typing technical things), then you won't have to worry about it. Type what you mean, and let the typesetter and styles handle the details.

(I should note that if have a period followed by space that isn't a new sentence or a or a period following a capital letter that is, in which case you'll need to mark up the period with \ or @ to let it know, but these are generally fringe cases.)

Re:Use LaTeX. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33140116)

I agree. If you must use Word, use two spaces because Word is terrible and it's harder to read if you don't. Wherever possible use LaTeX and it will look 1000x better without having to manually put in two spaces between sentences. I have to use Word at work for report writing and it's brutal. These are often long reports with many figures and cross-references. Word is inapporipriate for this and should only ever be used for quick, trivial documents.

Two spaces (1)

loudheart (1787330) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139952)

I use two space characters for writing up a document while a single space character for writing up a HTML file.

One (4, Funny)

mseeger (40923) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139964)

During the early area of the internet (around 1990) i held courses and taught new users, how to use the "blank" correctly. Rules were:

  • no space before ")" and ",",
  • no space after "(" and
  • one space after "." and ",".

People who didn't followed the rule were convicted for excessive blanking.... at least here in germany.

CU, Martin

Re:One (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140238)

People who didn't followed the rule were convicted for excessive blanking

Damn straight, blank the blanking blankers!

Early 20's, two spaces. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33139966)

I'm in my early 20's, so I'm relatively young. I was taught to put two spaces between sentences when learning how to type. I think it's still taught that way, so may people are just getting lazy.

Re:Early 20's, two spaces. (1)

Bigby (659157) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140152)

I am in my late 20's and can confirm that I was taught the same way. When I type with one space or read most of the stuff on the web, it annoys me. Sentences are important and deserve a bigger break than commas, semi-colons, and even spacing between words.

HTML says 1 space! (2, Interesting)

euroq (1818100) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139974)

I have always used two spaces. But when I started writing a blog, I noticed that where there are two spaces, and that sentence randomly begins on a new line (I say randomly because anyone can change the font size on their browser to have the lines wrap differently), there will be an unwanted space. This is due to the nature of HTML, where two spaces are interpreted as one, so the blog software will change it to a nbsp; (non-breakable space). So, it looks like the Internet is going to eventually determine the answer for me: I'll have to switch to one space! (Disclaimer: I used two spaces when typing this :)

Space - Plural (1)

dpolak (711584) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139986)

Two spaces, atleast that is what i was taught in school.

Could be one of the only things I remembered from back then... ;-)

Depends on format (4, Insightful)

Geisel (12180) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139996)

Myself, I'm a two-space typer. My finger know a sentence-ending period is followed by two spaces and they just do it. However, in certain formats, such as HTML, white space is ignored anyway and then formatted by the format-processor (obviously a web browser in the case of HTML).

While I'm a two-spacer, the medium in which we type is largely making this a moot point.

-geis

One space between sentences (1, Informative)

ExRex (47177) | more than 3 years ago | (#33139998)

At least, that is the standard in the publishing industry. Two spaces is a convention invented by typing teachers for reasons which I've never understood, and which screws up justification once the document needs to be set. One of the first things that has to be done when bringing a document into a page layout program is to search for periods followed by two spaces and replace them with periods and one space. PITA for the Quark/InDesign/Scribus operator.

Re:One space between sentences (2)

bwintx (813768) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140242)

+1. Especially this part:

PITA for the Quark/InDesign/Scribus operator.

TAB is the one true indentation (4, Insightful)

ejtttje (673126) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140000)

This diverging discussion is the perfect example of why it is clear the ideal code indentation is a TAB. Set your editor to display whatever indentation width you like, don't expect to inflict that choice on everyone else. Plus it eliminates the possibility of sloppy partial indentations, and it's fewer keystrokes to boot. Win, win, win.

Re:TAB is the one true indentation (4, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140250)

This diverging discussion is the perfect example of why it is clear the ideal code indentation is a TAB. Set your editor to display whatever indentation width you like, don't expect to inflict that choice on everyone else. Plus it eliminates the possibility of sloppy partial indentations, and it's fewer keystrokes to boot. Win, win, win.

I'll grant you that on one condition ... if your fancy text-formatter is going to write in a consistent number of chars so that if it's rendered by another editor it still works, then fine. Otherwise, no.

A former co-worker and I got into this argument. His emacs would use a single "tab" char to display between 1 and 40 tabs because it "knew" what it meant to do, but any other editor might render it like shit since it didn't have the right number of actual chars and relied on a specific mode.

It caused huge problems with those of using different editors which didn't interpret the tabs the same way. Eventually, I locked him out of CVS until he fixed his emacs to adhere to our coding standard -- our manager agreed with me. :-P

If you mean it to be 8 levels of indent, you need 8 placeholder items. Not one which is interpreted by your *^&%* editor (and only your editor). Otherwise, you end up with vast diffs specific to whitespace, and not what was changed. The resulting document must be properly rendered in any text editor, and it must do it consistently.

But, yes. The Tab is the unit of measure, and your editor can render a tab as however many chars make you happy.

We're not in fixed width fonts any more (1)

blowdart (31458) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140004)

My final concern: how will my word processor know the difference between an abbr. and the end of a sentence (so it can stretch the sentence for me)?

Given that we're not on typewriters any more, where two spaces after a sentence terminator came from, why does it matter? Proportional fonts, automatic full justification will vary the spaces between words to make the margings align.

Only douche bags double space. (0, Flamebait)

pyster (670298) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140006)

Single space after a sentence, noob. Drives me nuts when I see double spaced bullshit. It's almost as bad as seeing more than 3 punctuation marks. If you use more than three you are a fucktard.

2 and 2 (1)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140012)

All my Java code is two space indented. All my sentences are two spaces after the period. Always has been and always will be.

Must be a ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33140016)

Slow. News. Day.

Ok (4, Funny)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140022)

So I started reading this, thinking oh this sounds interesting to ponder. And then I got about halfway through the wiki entry and realized, ok no it's not. I learned with two spaces. Let me know when the discussion is done and I'll just do that.

Two. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33140030)

Two spaces, all the way. The only reason not to do two spaces is when one has an actual limit on the space of a message (text messages are notoriously sucky in that regard); whether or not a word processor can decide what is a "pleasing" space between period and beginning of next sentence seems rather silly since the ol' double-tap is ingrained in most of us anyway. It guarantees the space you want, sticks with standards that most people grew up with, and doesn't require any strangeness with detecting abbreviations or retraining those twitchy thumbs.

One space, especially with a font like Courier, is just nasty.

Rule #2: Double Tap (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33140036)

As Zombieland stated, Rule #2 is Double Tap. I think that makes the answer pretty clear.

Two for sentences, four for code. (1)

Vornzog (409419) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140048)

Two spaces at the end of sentences - a good typography setter will set the correct width for the end of the sentence, a crappy one will get it wrong no matter how many spaces you use, and for anything else two is the correct answer.

For code, four spaces with soft tab stops, allowing you to use the tab key to insert the correct number of spaces. Easier to read than two spaces (not enough difference in two spaces over more than 10 lines or so), takes up less horizontal space than the stupid 8 space tab stops. Setting up vim to do this is nearly required if you want to program Python, or make any other language look sane.

Were there any questions? If so, why? Try the experiment, realize that most of the world has worked it out already, and go with the flow. The real question was never the number of spaces - it was readability. To maximize that, two for sentences, four for code.

Quick fix (1)

AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140062)

Find: ".__"
Replace "._"
Document converted. Works in everything I've tried. (Underscore obviously just to show space / dodge HTML single-space rule)

Three (1)

jpvlsmv (583001) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140064)

It's especially important to use 3 spaces between sentences when you are using a proportional font. That's because the spaces are narrower than the regular characters, and get compressed more when they are pushed through the internet tubes.

Although if you're working on one of these new "TV Typewriters" [jargon.net] you might want a different spacing.

And what's the deal with -mdash- in the title? Can't we just go back to using -- instead of having to type m d a s h?

--Joe

hmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33140074)

What do I think? I think I want to find you and kick you in the ass for wasting my time reading this meaning less crap.

Oh an btw, I use one space on this reply.

Not everyone uses proportional fonts (1)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140088)

Two spaces after a period. That way when I copy to a monospaced program like TextEdit, it still works.

Just because most programs and people use proportional fonts, doesn't mean they all do.

And it's four spaces for indenting. Two is not enough, and eight is just crazy after a couple of levels. If four spaces for indents moves things over to far, then that section needs to break things up a little bit more.....

Luddite (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140106)

I still do all my writing in monospace. I don't use "smartquotes" or any of the other smart-replace type options. I use two spaces after periods everywhere except when texting and on twitter. I like what I type to appear on the screen. Not what the program thinks I want, but what I actually type.

One space for space (1)

xplenumx (703804) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140144)

I prefer two space since I believe it looks better. However, over the past few years I've transitioned to using only one space. Many grant applications / abstracts / scientific writing have character limits. Using one space instead of two can make a significant difference when you're fighting for every word.

In the age of the web... (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140148)

...there's no such thing as double spaces. Seriously, HTML doesn't support it. I can put as many spaces between sentences as I want in this message, but it won't show.

Typesetting vs typing (3, Interesting)

toby (759) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140160)

Ever since proportional fonts came to the desktop, people have found it hard to decide whether they are 'typing' or setting type. (eventually, in the DTP era, there was even a book, The Mac is not a Typewriter [abebooks.com] ).

In typesetting, all word spaces are treated equal (except by TeX, which implements a more typewriter-like convention after periods; it also subtly modifies spacing after commas, semicolons too). This may also be a European/North American distinction, similar to the spaced-en-dash versus unspaced-em-dash convention.

TeX, and the TeXbook, are where many geeks from the CS side of the fence got their first typographic exposure and education. Some of Knuth's aesthetic decisions, like this one, do smell a bit funny to professional typographers. But his implementation of math setting is probably close to definitive (damn it Jim, I'm a typographer not a mathematician).

Wait till they find out that German uses letterspacing for boldfacing, and that it used to be normal practice to have thin spaces before punctuation, etc, etc... The study of typographic conventions is easily a life's work.

I always use two spaces when writing long hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33140202)

I do all my writing long hand on lined paper and find that two spaces between sentences works best.

School papers (1)

longhairedgnome (610579) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140218)

I'll throw two spaces in when writing papers for school, but looking back at it from a new perspective, if it comes from an era of typewriting, I should switch to one...

two spaces for me, thanks (1)

Draque (1367509) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140228)

I personally prefer two spaces when I'm reading, as I find it easier to separate sentences while scanning text. Also, what's with the whole "since we all agreed that tab indenting for code was properly two spaces." bit? I don't believe I've seen that in any of my coding positions.

Semantic markup (5, Funny)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140240)

<posting target-moderation="funny">

<sentence tone="exclamation">silly boy</sentence>

<sentence>you <contraction>should not</contraction> be mixing content with layout</sentence>

<sentence>use an <acronym>extended markup language</acronym> schema that removes the ambiguity and allows the viewer to determine <alternative-list><item>his</item><item>her</item></alternative-list> preferred layout and punctuation <aside>or even see it presented in <abbrev>text message</abbrev>format allowing accessibility by teenage people</aside> </sentence>

</posting>

Pointless (1)

AssClown2520 (695423) | more than 3 years ago | (#33140252)

This is somewhat a pointless argument in my opinion. It should be whatever I, as the writer, want it to be. Same as line spacing, indents on paragraphs, how much space between paragraphs, etc. I personally think that 2 spaces helps to separate sentences better. Just like anything, I hate it when things like this are dictated by the software package or by HTML. If I want 2 fsking spaces, give me my 2 spaces!
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