Two spaces are still preferred when using monospace fonts (e.g. Courier or Courier New). If you're using a fontsuch as Times New Roman, the font automatically adds a little extra space.
I strongly doubt there is an editor on the planet who'll fault an author for using two spaces after a full stop; contrariwise, there may well be editors and typsetters who moan about single spaces. Anyway, let the typesetters/layout folk worry about removing unnecessary space--it's their job.
Oh, and it's two spaces after a colon ":" as well; one space after a semicolon ";".
Some guidelines specify the number of spaces to use. Reflection's Edge does, I think, though I can't remember what they specify. (Most don't specify, it's true.)
"Smart quotes" or "curly quotes" can cause huge problems with electronic submissions - sometimes the software the editor uses to read the submission translates smart quotes into a handful of gibberish characters.
Like: &Watch out for the evil robot monkeys!& screamed Clarissa.
I've also seen it turn the quotes into a sequence of four or five characters. It's really awful to read.
So definitely replace those for electronic subs. I don't know that it matters for hardcopy subs.
yes, well, get a definitive statement on the use of, and the spaces that do or don't surround, em and en dashes and I'll be very pleased. And what is the convention in portraying the difference between an em dash, an en dash and a hyphen in a typed MS? I know and em dash is properly rendered "--" and a hyphen is "-" but what about an en dash?
[This message has been edited by hoptoad (edited June 22, 2006).]
I put two even though the new norm is supposedly one, but I learned to type on a typewriter and old habits die hard. I've never had an editor complain.
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I have recently seen guidelines for a magazine specifically saying, 2 spaces after a period.
In this traditional style, 2 spaces after the end of a sentence, or a colon. It's OK to leave single spaces after . ? or ! provided it's not really ending the sentence. In writing thoughts, you might have
That's the last time! he thought.
just as if it were dialog, no double space after the quotation.
As has been stated, the two periods are a hold-over from the days of ye olde typewriter. As a graphic designer I used to get so annoyed with people who used two periods, as it threw the automatic justification off, sometimes leaving a huge gap sometimes between sentences as the program kerned around them. I always had to go into the text and manually strip them out, one by one. However, since I've been working on InDesign I've noticed this desktop publishing program now works quite sweetly with two periods. Seems the program has learned not to overcompensate with two periods.
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I submitted a story to a contest once that was planning on publishing the winners online. Because of that, they specifically asked for one space after periods and some other special formatting so they wouldn't have to reformat the stories.
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For the quotes, turn smart quotes off then do a search and replace on all your quotes from " to " (same thing to same thing) It will take off the smart quotes though. Posts: 370 | Registered: Feb 2006
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When I was learning to type, the book I learned out of recommended three hyphens for a dash---like this, if it shows up that way. It's all so ingrained in me now I have to slow down and force myself to do it differently. And that slows my writing down...
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I shouldn't have to say this, but..."Please submit your manuscript double-spaced" does not refer to the number of spaces after a period. It refers to the number of spaces between lines.
At Shimmer we got a story that was single spaced, when I asked the author to reformat it, he evidently did a find/replace to make all single uses of the spacebar into doubles. Which meant that his manuscript came back with two spaces between each word and four spaces between a period and the next sentence. The lines were still single-spaced.
I have seen submission requirements that specify two after the period, and some that specify one. If they don't specify, they won't likely be upset by either convention. If they do, go with what they want.
Mary, I do hope you take the time to educate the obviously mis-informed but really trying to comply writer.
Soembody asked if "we" use full stop. I'm not sure to whom that was directed, but in the U.S. we use period, in the U.K., it's still full stop. Anybody know what the Australians and South Africans use?
Em-dashes are useful punctuation and are sometimes used frequently depending on the writer's style. They often replace the ol' semi-colon.
Interesting responses from everybody. I was taught in my typing class (on COMPUTERS!) to always use two, no matter what. So obviously, it's a hard habit to break for me. After end-of-sentence punctuation, I just hit the space bar twice and can't really stop myself. I'd have to carefully monitor that while typing up my whole manuscript, and that would probably cause me to miss a ton of other things.
Maybe I can practice here. One space. And another one. One. Just one. Two! Damn! I can't do it!
[This message has been edited by LibbieMistretta (edited June 22, 2006).]
Like Elan, I've spent a lot of time deleting extra spaces but I would NEVER discourage a writer from using them. It is so easy to take them out at layout stage that the writer shouldn't let the worry even flicker their things-to-remember-to-do-before-I-submit-this-dang-thing radar.
imho? use two please, use two.
quote: Write with two if you write with two, then go back and do a global replace .<space><space> with .<space>
Spaceman's advice is good but never delete the spaces from your original file, only ever to a copy. It's virtually impossible to put them back in easily should you need to.
[This message has been edited by hoptoad (edited June 23, 2006).]