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The Writing Process > One space between each sentence, they said. Science just proved them wrong.

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message 1: by Theodore (new)

Theodore Cohen (theodorejeromecohen) | 1432 comments https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/s...

The Washington Post

I don't know if everyone is going to be able to read it.


message 2: by Theodore (new)

Theodore Cohen (theodorejeromecohen) | 1432 comments Next, I suppose they are going to renew their attack on the Oxford comma (which I continue to use despite what my editor says).


message 3: by Anna (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 1184 comments An Oxford comma is essential for clarity!

It took me ages to change from two spaces to one. I hung out because two spaces is clearer and helps when reading aloud in particular. We know when to drop our voices and, again, it's for clarity. However, now that I've dropped the habit of two spaces, I'm not sure I could change back. I'm beginning to think I shouldn't have allowed myself to be swayed.


message 4: by Theodore (new)

Theodore Cohen (theodorejeromecohen) | 1432 comments Alex wrote: "Theodore wrote: "Next, I suppose they are going to renew their attack on the Oxford comma (which I continue to use despite what my editor says)."

I will take up arms in defence of it. Using the Ox..."


I use it in all of my writings! Period. End.Of.Statement.


message 5: by Anna (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 1184 comments I have an actor friend (he's a writer too) and he likes authors to put commas where it would help if it were acted on stage.

I also like the semi colon because it allows a reader to breathe and take things in.


message 6: by Anna (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 1184 comments Oh good! So when I get round to reading your book (I've bought it) I'll be feeling it's 'right for me'. Know what I mean?


message 7: by Dale (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1764 comments Theodore wrote: "I don't know if everyone is going to be able to read it."

Hmm, yeah, I don't know that it's a large enough study to entirely conclude that one way is better than the other. In fact, they say the difference is slight and only for some people, soooo . . .

As I recall, the "two space" rule was largely for manuscripts. Typographers don't necessarily set things the way the manuscript reads. I think in more recent times, most typographers have preferred a single space after a period, regardless of what editors want in manuscripts. But really, it's mostly a matter of how people think the end product looks. I don't notice any difference in my reading ease or speed either way. If it's not noticeable, it's probably not at all significant.


message 8: by Theodore (new)

Theodore Cohen (theodorejeromecohen) | 1432 comments Dale wrote: "Theodore wrote: "I don't know if everyone is going to be able to read it."

Hmm, yeah, I don't know that it's a large enough study to entirely conclude that one way is better than the other. In fac..."


I've used one space for decades. The article isn't going to make a difference in my work.


message 9: by Eldon (new)

Eldon Farrell | 285 comments Theodore wrote: "Next, I suppose they are going to renew their attack on the Oxford comma (which I continue to use despite what my editor says)."

And an Oxford comma is... ?


message 10: by Dale (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1764 comments Theodore wrote: "Dale wrote: "Theodore wrote: "I don't know if everyone is going to be able to read it."

Hmm, yeah, I don't know that it's a large enough study to entirely conclude that one way is better than the ..."


I learned to type adding two spaces after a period, then later unlearned it, relearned it, and unlearned it again. My wife learned it that way and never stopped, so if we are working on the same manuscript, it can turn into a bit of a mess. :-P


message 11: by Dale (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1764 comments Eldon wrote: "And an Oxford comma is... ?"

That's the comma between the last two elements of a list:

I saw John, Sue, Mary, and Robert at the store.

vs:

I saw John, Sue, Mary and Robert at the store.


message 12: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4639 comments Mod
All the editors put that in - now I do it too.


message 13: by Michael (last edited May 07, 2018 10:57AM) (new)

Michael Wright (captainmichaelwright) | 5 comments I took a typing class in college, and the teacher instructed us to always type two spaces between sentences. (There are two spaces after my sentences, despite this forum's erroneous removal of one of them.) I am now rather set in my ways, and I don't see a good reason to change. Regarding the Oxford comma, I always include it. It appears that both of these are optional. The only downside of including two spaces between sentences is that computers frequently do not handle the extra space well if the next sentence begins at the left margin. Maybe computer programmers should take a basic typing class!


message 14: by Theodore (last edited May 07, 2018 11:15AM) (new)

Theodore Cohen (theodorejeromecohen) | 1432 comments Eldon wrote: "Theodore wrote: "Next, I suppose they are going to renew their attack on the Oxford comma (which I continue to use despite what my editor says)."

And an Oxford comma is... ?"


‘Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.’

https://climateaudit.org/2012/03/01/e...


message 15: by Dale (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1764 comments Michael wrote: "(There are two spaces after my sentences, despite this forum's erroneous removal of one of them.) ... The only downside of including two spaces between sentences is that computers frequently do not handle the extra space well if the next sentence begins at the left margin. Maybe computer programmers should take a basic typing class! "

Being a programmer . . . ;-)

Web standards dictate that browsers shall remove all extra whitespace. So if you type three spaces in a row, they will be there in the file that is served to the browser, but the browser will only display a single space. There are, however, ways to force the browser to keep extra space, including a special character called a non-breaking space.

Generally, a word processing document has the word wrap feature turned on, so when you reach the end of a line, the text automatically wraps to the next line. That doesn't remove anything you type; it's just a display feature. Of course, in wrapping, it keeps the letters of a word together, so a long word that crosses the right margin will display all in one piece on the next line. In ebooks, the same thing happens when you have a "reflowable" document. The words will wrap based on the displayed font size and the actual screen size.

The reason it doesn't work like a typewriter is, well, it's not actually a typewriter. ;-) But I understand your frustration. My wife frequently makes similar comments, and it's no good trying to tell her it's not a typewriter, because as far as she's concerned it should be!


message 16: by Anna (last edited May 07, 2018 12:47PM) (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 1184 comments I use the Oxford comma to clarify a sentence where a list without an Oxford comma could mislead. I couldn't think of an example at this very moment, so I've resorted to the Internet. Here's what one site says, and I'm quoting this one because I followed the dairy drivers in their dispute wondering if they'd win. They did - on a comma placement.

"In Maine, the much-disputed Oxford comma has helped a group of dairy drivers in a dispute with a company about overtime pay.

The Oxford comma is used before the words “and” or “or” in a list of three or more things. Also known as the serial comma, its aficionados say it clarifies sentences in which things are listed.

As Grammarly notes, the sentences “I love my parents, Lady Gaga and Humpty Dumpty” and “I love my parents, Lady Gaga, and Humpty Dumpty” are a little different. Without a comma, it looks like the parents in question are, in fact, Lady Gaga and Humpty Dumpty."

And here's the result:

"The drivers argued, due to a lack of a comma between “packing for shipment” and “or distribution”, the law refers to the single activity of “packing”, not to “packing” and “distribution” as two separate activities. As the drivers distribute – but do not pack – the goods, this would make them eligible for overtime pay.

Previously, a district court had ruled in the dairy company’s favour, who argued that the legislation “unambiguously” identified the two as separate activities exempt from overtime pay. But the appeals judge sided with the drivers."

If I can think of a clearer example I'll come back. It's not always necessary to have that last comma, but it is very important sometimes!


message 17: by Theodore (last edited May 07, 2018 01:16PM) (new)

Theodore Cohen (theodorejeromecohen) | 1432 comments Many (MANY!) years ago I wrote a monthly column for SIGNAL, the journal of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) in Washington, D.C. I always used the Oxford comma, which was forbidden by the magazine's style manual. So, of course, they removed the second comma, wherever it showed up, when they published my column each month. This drove me nuts, so one day, just for the hell of it, I penned a column full of strings where, if you removed the second comma, it completely changed the meaning of every sentence. It took about a day before I received a telephone call from the senior editor: "You win!"

I never had another problem after that.


message 18: by Anna (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 1184 comments Brain v brawn, eh, Theodore?


message 19: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4639 comments Mod
lol


message 20: by D.J. (new)

D.J. Cooper | 1028 comments Anna, I’m also an actress and I put commas where they would be useful for actors. It’s just the world I inhabited. I let the grammar checkers take them out or add them in where they see fit. Grammarly is not in favour of the Oxford comma. ProWritingAid is. I use PWA last to add in the ones the other one takes out.

As for the double space-I used it for years when I was typing on a typewriter and even on a computer. Somewhere along the line someone at the BBC told me that wasn’t the way it was done.


message 21: by Theodore (new)

Theodore Cohen (theodorejeromecohen) | 1432 comments Anna Faversham wrote: "Brain v brawn, eh, Theodore?"

Well, they had a decision to make, didn't they? (;>)


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