Friday, June 15, 2012

A potential fault in my mate. Or, New Wave Grammar.

"Your mate's an old-fashioned man, sweetheart." It's sort of true. But considering he minored in Feminist Studies in undergrad, I also don't really believe him. Sure, I have stood stupidly in front of doors while walking with friends before realizing that I've grown used to David always opening the door for me. And I haven't carried a heavy bag in years (unless I was making a point).

Occasionally, however, I have to disagree with his old-fashioned ways.

I'm the editor of the family. You wouldn't know it from my blogs (sorry, but it's a blog, not a column), but I'm a fierce follower of Strunk & White. I also like to keep up with new rules on grammar and punctuation. I love that stuff. Sometimes I eschew changes (like the fact that "irregardless" has appeared in the OED for the last 100 years) it, but several years ago I began to embrace a modern punctuation change: the single-space post-period.

Double-spaces after a sentence are for those who were taught to type on a typewriter. Or for those who were taught to type by people who were taught to type on a typewriter. That includes most of us. Initially perturbed, I've come to agree that double-spaces post-period look awkward on a page of typed font.

Today, when editing and trying to single-space David's schoolwork, I was chastised and reminded, "Your mate's an old-fashioned man, sweetheart. I believe in holding doors for women, manners, and double-spaces."

Go ahead and google away at the single v. double debate, if you are shocked to learn that your double-spaces are generally considered incorrect these days. I won't judge you. After all, I married one of you.

10 comments:

  1. I still religiously double-space after periods. Even in text messages. And I write between 80 and 90 psychoeducational reports each year. Flint just informed me that he has now switched to single-spacing because he did some research on the topic recently and found that double-spacing is considered "old-school" or antiquated. I'm going to make a concerted effort to change, but it won't come easy!

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    1. It's true! I switched a few years ago when I read an article on the debate. It took less time than I thought it would, but I like the change. Every so often, I catch myself doing a double-space, but it's usually during a bout of writers' block.

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  2. Meredith, you don't have to change. "Old-Fashioned" is the new "new". Trust me. I bet I'd get complaints if I quit opening the doors or saying please...

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    Replies
    1. Amen...I won't be changing...and, btw, what do you think of three dots and no punctuation at all?...

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  3. I insert 2 spaces after a period and there's no way I could ever change. Anachronistic to the grave!

    P.S. I don't even think it looks that weird. I understand the arguments on both sides, but I stubbornly refuse to change.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, the double-spacing never bothered me until I switched. Now it bugs me when I'm editing. Stay strong!

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  4. Hmm, I had no idea that the rules had changed. I think I'm going to have to ponder this for a little while.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I feel like it should have been a bigger news deal. Apparently, the change was really in the 1980s, but our teachers taught us the old way. The "courier" font is the only one that allows double-spacing (because it's designed to look like an old typewriter).

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  5. Hmm, I had no idea that the rules had changed. I think I'm going to have to ponder this for a little while.

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  6. I'm a double space girl, play the accordion/ autoharp, and still type on my grandma's typewriter from time to time.
    Cheers! Enjoying your adventures in Scottland. My husband is Scottish - he's a Cleland... Heard of it?

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