Think Single ...Nooot!

...not that single! ...not like ....hmmm....Cher? She’s single.

Actually, this is about something else. Something related to what you may have just been doing in order to access this blog. Typing. More specifically typing official standardized documents.

The consensus out there is that, today, with all the computer software-generated documents, there is only ONE (single) space after a period or colon. Yes, one space, not two spaces - anymore. And so they tell us to undo the "two spaces" rule our typing teachers had taught us.

Why? Well, the explanation goes something like this: During the typewritozoic era, the typewritersaurus had monospaced (fixed-width) fonts - meaning that every letter whether narrow (like "i") or wide (like "w") is allotted the same amount of space/spacing. (See the example below.) Therefore in order for a break - after a period or colon - to be visually obvious, two spaces were needed. Today word processing software programs have solved that problem using proportional fonts.

But wait a minute, there is still an asterisk (pun intended) in that explanation. Fixed-width fonts are still found in these word-processing and printer software programs. And so what does that mean? Well, it means if the "two spaces" rule was based on the monospaced fonts - which are still around - then it (the rule) should still apply - and not ditched.

Notice the following example:

Proportional: The dog is running after the pig. The pig is going to jump.
Monospace: The dog is running after the pig. The pig is going to jump.

So, yes, we can still use monospaced fonts and therefore, the "two spaces" rule should still be relevant. (Unless of course the space character has been proportionally modified in connection with the monospaced fonts, so that a document does not look sparse and "loose" with two spaces.) Incidently, there are still industries whose documents use fixed-width fonts as a standard. For instance, the movie industry still requires scripts to be written in Courier 12, a monospaced font.

I am a two-spacer - sometimes, at least for matters of taste and aesthetics. I think that the two spaces rule is not an anachronism - yet. The monospaced fonts - hence the two spaces rule - are still alive, and spanning several decades and eras like ... hmmm.....Cher?   

Otherwise, think single?

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