The Battle for Space Has Begun
I’m getting too old for this.
The other day I read an article on some site or another — I can’t even remember what the article was about or where I read it. It was that unimportant and insignificant.
However, as is my wont, I tend to read the reader comments after articles because often they are more entertaining than the article itself. It is like getting to watch a train wreck … in slow motion. Within 2 or 3 comments, the commentators are attacking each other personally. In less than ten comments, someone has made a reference to Hitler or Nazis (even if the article was just about how cute bunnies are). Within fifteen comments, someone has said something along the lines of “I have traced your IP address and I am going to come to your house and kick your derriere!” There are no rules in comments. Bad grammar abounds. It is a punctuation-optional zone. What little punctuation there is, is often used incorrectly. Spelling? Don’t even get me started!
But on this one particular day, someone made a comment about how amateurish the author of the article was. Someone chimed in and said, “Yes, you can tell he’s an amateur because he uses two spaces after periods between sentences.”
A flame war then erupted on whether two spaces or one was correct after a period between sentences. I mean … people were HOT. I don’t think they could have been more upset if someone suggested reanimating Hitler as a zombie to see what would happen.
I, for one, was not even aware that there was a controversy surrounding the use of two spaces after a period between sentences. I took typing in the eleventh grade many decades ago and that is how we were taught. It was beat into us. The implication was “Only chumps, cretins, anarchists, sociopaths, and cannibals forgot to put two spaces after a period.” I never questioned it. Why would I? Everything I’d ever read had two spaces after a period. Books. Magazine articles. Official documents. Everything. There was literally NOTHING that did not have two spaces after periods. It was as universal as anything can possibly be in this world.
So why suddenly is it the fashion to only use a single space after a period between sentences? Is it to save space? (Ha ha … but seriously …) Is it merely aesthetics? Is it because some bored academic somewhere felt he needed to leave his mark in the world by stirring up a useless controversy? Does it utilize less memory in the servers that store the world’s documentation?
I do not understand this controversy. It is quite literally an argument over nothing.
I personally prefer the two spaces because it is a visual signal to the brain that one sentence has ended and another has begun. When using a single space between sentences, both the period and the single space get lost in the jumble of other letters. But that is just me. I can read either method equally well. I have this wonderful thing inside my head called a brain that allows me to perceive a single space just as well as two spaces, and to ignore them both.
But some people like to argue over nothing.
(P.S. I wrote this article with two spaces after every period between sentences. Let the flame war begin!)