It was Unbook Club last night at my house. We were a smaller group than usual, which was great because the conversation could then include everyone. Also, there’s plenty of food left over, so I won’t have to cook all weekend, maybe.
Lainey was telling us about a “slight disagreement” she was having with some of her colleagues at work. Now, Lainey is one of the most intelligent women I know, and also one of the funniest. No one can tell a story like Lainey, especially when she’s had a couple of glasses of wine.
Their “slight disagreement” began with the fact that way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and we were in high school being taught how to type, we were told to double-space after a period. Yes, yes, the Unbook Club wimmin nodded, double-space after a period.
Lainey went on to tell us how she had tried to convince her workmates that nowadays, with the advent of those new-fangled computer-things to type on, you no longer double-space after a period. Only a single space is now required. This is apparently due to the fact that olden-days typewriters gave every character the same amount of space, whereas word processing programs on computers can automatically adjust the spacing according to the character. They just know to leave additional space after a period, you don’t have to do it manually. Her colleagues argued with her, and apparently it got a little heated, with Lainey eventually deciding that they were just stupid.
We listened to this story, unconvinced and sceptical. No double-spacing after a period? What heresy is this? We all double-space after a period. Was there a memo to no longer do that? Did we accidentally delete that e-mail? Is this even true?
I called in the reinforcements: DD. DD is in a professional writing program at college, and is currently interning at a company downtown in their technical writing department. DD would know about this sort of thing, and if she didn’t have the information at the tip of her tongue, she would certainly know which reference manual would have it. She would also likely own the manual, too.
And DD confirmed what Lainey was saying. She said that there were only one or two styles in which it was acceptable to double-space after a period. Then, just this afternoon, she checked further and specified that this was only for drafts, never for published work, and that this has been the case since 1990.
So I guess the people Lainey works with aren’t the only stupid ones. I may also be in that category too – and even more so, because despite my new knowledge, I am STILL double-spacing after periods. On purpose.
Is that bad?