Language and English

From: Richard Erlacher <>
Date: Fri Jan 4 21:16:02 2002

FWIW, the line-lengths were defined in character widths, and typewriters
printed everything in neat columns, so the punctuation characters were just
characters like M and l.

see below, plz.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Tothwolf" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, January 04, 2002 6:06 PM
Subject: Re: Language and English

> On Fri, 4 Jan 2002, Richard Erlacher wrote:
> > When I was in the 8th grade, one of the courses we were required to
> > take was in typing. I've never gotten particularly good at it, but I
> > did learn that a period at the end of a sentence is followed by two
> > spaces, for example.
> I've been told that the only reason they originally taught us to use two
> spaces between sentences was because a typewriter's punctuation characters
> are not the same width as regular letters. This isn't true with computers,
> so the two space rule does not apply.
Having been a proofreader in the newspaper trade for a while while I was in
public school, I doubt this very much. The thing I'm persuaded is the case is
that it was necessary to put two spaces between sentences so the eye could
easily find the limits. Newspapers and magazines printed material in columns
which required careful kerning in order to fit as much as possible in the
limited space they had available. Spaces were quite variable in width, but,
when two of them were together, the typesetters, whether human or automatic,
knew what to do.

Folks who don't read much probably won't appreciate this, but if one reads,
and particularly if one reads more than one line at a time, having those
breaks between sentences is very useful.
> It's also customary to insert a blank line between
> > paragraphs. That, surely, is to enhance readability. If you want people
> > read your stuff, you've got to make it easy for them.
> This also makes it easier to trim someone's email when quoting for a
> reply.
> -Toth
Received on Fri Jan 04 2002 - 21:16:02 GMT

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