Grammar, grammar, grammar

(Jane Reed) #1

I quite dislike being forced to accept certain incorrect forms of usage in the Discourse program. Today, it is the fact that upon using the double dot symbol for colon, and the hitting the space bar twice (as two spaces following the colon is correct), the program insists on entering an addition dot, or period, as if it thinks I have ended a sentence.

Someone out there may believe the New York Times’ schedule of usage is the end all and be all, but it is not.

One of the points of standard grammar us to make reading text easier. Liberal spacing accomplishes that.

(Arlene) #2

Ha, we were just having this discussion last night. My son is being required to put only one space after periods in professional emails at his workplace. He just can’t make himself unlearn the correct “two space” rule following periods. It’s bad enough many of the new words that are now “allowed” in the dictionary; words that were previously NOT allowed. Now they’re changing grammar rules. Pretty soon there will be no standards for speech, grammar, or even spelling. I sympathize with you Jane.

(Georgia) #3

^^^^ This! It used to be you could write and speak however you wanted around friends and family, but there was always a “business” standard. I guess some businesses just don’t care.

(A ham loving ham! - VA6KD) #4

Is it Discourse doing that? If you’re using a tablet or smartphone, it’s probably your keyboard app that’s inserting the period when you double space.

(Jeff) #5

The one/two spaces this is a pain. I learned two and it became optional half way through my dissertation. Strange.

I believe that web browsers display only one space (due to HTML standards) no matter what. I haven’t verified this. :slight_smile:


Ya, that’s a phone thing.

(Ben) #7

When I taught myself to type, it was two spaces after a full stop/period. The issue now is that people view what you’ve written on different size browsers, so in some circumstances the second space will be on a new line.
 Like this. Which makes it look a bit like a new paragraph.
So I’ve succumbed and now just do the one.

(Arlene) #8

Thanks for clearing this up. If this is a browser issue, shouldn’t we get the programmers to do a better job, or if it’s not the programmers problem, who is creating the browsers? There should be a better way to get things right without having to change our entire grammar system.

(Crow T. Robot) #9

I’m usually pretty fussy about grammar, but Style is something I’ve realized is nothing more than someone’s preference, which varies from place to place. There are different Style rules in the UK than there are in the US, for example, and there’s really nothing anyone can do about it but accept it. I kind of use a mix of the two according to my own personal taste, so I probably offend everyone.

Now, if you want someone who will rant about the misuse of reflexive pronouns in common speech, and the heartbreak of “between you and I”, then I’m your man. :grin:

(G. Andrew Duthie) #10

Depends on whether the space is a “standard” space character, or what’s referred to as a “non-breaking space” which can be represented in such a way that you can have multiples of them. The latter is usually used in formatting where whitespace is significant, so it wouldn’t likely be used in a forum text editor.

It appears that the editor in Discourse will allow you to enter as many spaces as you like, but any after the first one are treated as not significant. Five spaces before this sentence, for example.

But yeah, HTML is funny that way. :smiley:

(Cheryl Meyers) #11

Resistance is Futile!

(Jane Reed) #12

And another thing (rant alert)…it drives me nuts when people use “there” for “their”, and vice versa; when they misuse the apostrophe; and when they spell “a lot” as one word.

Is there no decency left in the world?

(Crow T. Robot) #13

Though to be fair, that’s an easy mistake to make even when you know the difference.

What I hate is grammar mistakes that appear to be taking over and starting to “sound right”. For example, “Join Jason and I at Ketofest.” Can anyone spot the error?

(Jane Reed) #14

I grind my teeth whenever I hear an educated person use a nominative pronoun when a subjective pronoun is called for. A certain podcasting English major will do this. For shame. I hesitate to name others out of a desire to spare them the humiliation of a public call-out.

(Danielle) #15

If you remove Jason… “Join I at Ketofest” <<totally wrong

It should read: “Join Jason and me at Ketofest”. Because if you take out Jason… “Join me at Ketofest”.

I think that is the only thing I remember from English class. OH and always put a comma after however. Because my teacher used to say However comma… in normal conversations. Now I do it too.

(Dany Bolduc) #16

And ‘me’…

(Crow T. Robot) #17

Well spotted! Furthermore, that’s the perfect test to see if the correct pronoun form is being used – remove the other name and all becomes clear.

(Danielle) #18

ACK - Mrs. Connolley would be miffed at that!


This may be more of a generational problem than anything else. This is the first I’ve heard of using two spaces after a colon, and I’ve only rarely seen two spaces after a period (usually from non-native English speakers). I can understand a business wanting to get rid of such a practice in professional emails as it does give the impression of being a non-native English speaker.

Looking into this further, I found this information on the topic: Chicago Manual of Style: One or Two Spaces?

A. Published work these days rarely features two spaces after a period. In the era when type was set by hand, it was common to use extra space (sometimes quite a bit of it) after periods, a practice that continued into the first half of the twentieth century. And many people were taught to use that extra space in typing class. But introducing two spaces after a sentence-ending period—and only after those periods—causes problems. Absolute consistency is easy to monitor when double spaces are never allowed, but less easy when some spaces after periods are double and others single (such as those at the ends of abbreviations and initialisms in running text). Since there is no proof that an extra space actually improves readability—as your comment suggests, it’s probably just a matter of familiarity—CMOS follows the industry standard of one space after a period.

So, looks like the practice of using two spaces is a carry over from older technology usage that has largely faded out.

Granted, punctuation rules and spacing in general started as publisher specific conventions, and there is still some level of regional variation (which is why my first thought upon seeing double spacing would be the person is not from my country).

On the other hand, there are still many English “rules” taught in some schools that are not real English rules, but rather Latin rules imposed by Latin scholars trying to teach English at some time.

(Jane Reed) #20

I strongly disagree with the Chicago style manual. I find two spaces after a period–ending sentence enhances readability. The two spaces make it more clear that a sentence has come to an end, especially when the sentence ends with an abbreviation or other unusual form.

I am creating this post on a smart phone. It is the only access I have to the web. Reading posts on my tiny screen is problematic when poor grammar, usage, and spelling is rife. It sometimes is actually difficult to see that a sentence has come to an end when there is only one space.

Also, one of the advantages of standard rules, regardless of consistency, is that everyone who learns and follows them is more easily understood by others and more likely will understand what others write.