Thursday, August 28, 2014

Habits Are Hard to Break

I started typing (as it was called back in the day) when I was in elementary school and took typing classes throughout middle school and high school. We were always taught to put two spaces after a period that ends a sentence. Imagine my surprise when I entered grad school and learned that we would be using the APA citation style and that one of the rules was one space at the end of a sentence. I thought it was either something specific to that form of citation (I had always used MLA or Chicago) or something new with the advent of personal computers.  

But that's not true. Actually, it was always proper to just have one space at the end of a sentence. I recently ran across this article in Slate  which cleared up the confusion for meIt was with the introduction of typewriters that two spaces were required. The reason was that with type setting, the letters are proportional (that is, an "m" takes up more space than an "l." However, with early and most typewriters, the letters are all the same size and the extra space was to make it easier to read. Not so with computers and word processors as the finished product is proportional like type setting.. 

After all these years of typing/keyboarding, it's hard to teach an old dog this "new" trick. But I'm working on it. In fact, after I typed this very post, I had to go back and eliminate the extra spaces. 

Maybe one day I'll do a post on the Oxford comma which also confused me due to grammar lessons in grade school conflicting with term paper requirements in college.

1 comment:

Aimee said...

Ha! That happened to me as well when I started doing guest blog posts! I'm constantly correcting myself.

Now if they'd just bring back handwriting classes - I've heard those are in the past now as well and that most schools don't teach cursive!