Grammar, grammar, grammar


Not to incite a riot, but as an editor for the Army, we use one space after the period. We follow The Gregg Manual of Style mainly. We also have regulations and other style manuals we follow, to include Chicago Manual of Style. Our products are generally published, and if you are justifying in columns, two spaces can look like a larger gap (error).

(Jane Reed) #22

Well, Kyz, I guess that means the Army is doing it wrong, too.


It seems rather clear at this point that the “standard rules” which you reference as giving advantages, particularly for understanding, indicate that this idea of using two spaces is what is wrong, not the CMOS, GMOS or the application you are using. The standard is to use one space, not to use two spaces. At least, that is the standard today (and for decades at least).

Personally, I’ve never had a problem reading a work that has one space after the period. I’ve only rarely seen anything published with two spaces anyway, and that usually just makes a work look odd rather than assist with reading. If anything, it slows reading down, but perhaps only slightly.

(Jane Reed) #24

As long as I’m on a rampage, let me get this off my chest. How in the dickens can a poster nicely use their cases and apostrophes and then slap us in the face with “wanna” and “gonna”?

I’m begging you people, lay off this pseudo casual usage.


“Wanna” and “gonna” are valid words that are the more common usage for the idea expressed in certain regional dialects of English. Indeed, “want to” and “going to” tend to sound forced and unnatural in my region and accent. This is not an unusual way in which a language develops over time.

(Davi) #26

This topic is just the ultimate lolz! LMAO!

PS: the double space to period thing is your mobile’s keyboard. There is usually a setting to turn that off if you so desire.

(Arlene) #27

My husband invents words, just for the fun of it. I tell him not to spread it around because it’s likely to go into the dictionary as a legitimate word. The language waters keep getting muddier and muddier. Grammar rules seem to be weakening too. Pretty soon we will all revert back to baby talk and charades. I’m joking, of course.


I prefer communicating via emoticons. Maybe we’ll revert to hieroglyphics.

(Arlene) #29

Ha, I wouldn’t even know (or care) what an emoticon is, though seeing your picture of bacon, I’m assuming emoticons are the modern day version of hieroglyphics. I guess that means I’m using emoticons when I send a happy face. Go figure!


Yeah, emoticons expanded into emojis. I’m going to call them eGlyphics and see if it catches on.

(It's all about the bacon, baby) #31

Interesting discussion here. I try to remember that conventions change over time, but I am conservative by nature and it takes work to adapt to changes.

The one-space vs. two-spaces issue after a full stop is by no means standardized anywhere in the world. Both standards have co-existed for a long time, and there is no point casting stones at people who use the standard you don’t approve of. Insisting that the standard is and has always been the way one happens to be used to is just foolish.

It bugs me that today, when we are all pressed for time but have computers that can now do a lot of nifty things that couldn’t be done in the past, the compromises that were adopted when programs and the hardware were less sophisticated are now tending to become standard. There is no reason why we can’t have the superscripts and subscripts and curlicues that typesetters used to employ back in the days when they were a lot more difficult to employ (except the laziness of programmers who don’t want to make it possible). I mean, for example, that it’s a shame we have to write H2O inline instead of having the 2 as a subscript. And the common programming standard of using an asterisk (*) in place of the standard multiplication signs (· or ×) is creeping into common typography, even though the Unicode standard makes the standard signs available. It’s a real shame.

Interestingly for English usage, America and Britain have each retained certain older usages but innovated elsewhere. The Americans retain the subjunctive and use it more often ("If I were king, . . . "), but the subjunctive has largely disappeared in British usage. Britons have by and large adopted the custom of omitting the period after abbreviations that end with the final letter of the word (Mr and Mrs, for example), and retaining it for other abbreviations. (I prefer the American custom, simply because then I don’t have to stop and think about it.) Britons generally and some Americans prefer to write their lists by omitting a comma before the “and” (a, b, c and d); whereas Americans generally and some Britons prefer what has come to be called the “Oxford” comma (a, b, c, and d). I have seen some very sharp debates about which style is clearer; it can, however, be argued both ways.

A good resource to read is Fowler’s Modern English Usage, in the first edition if you can find it, but the second edition (edited by Sir Ernest Gowers) is also very good. But Fowler, the principal—and principled—editor of the OED, had some surprising takes on various issues. (For example, he was a proponent of the simpler spellings, adopted in America, for words such as “program” and “honor;” he felt they were closer to the original Latin than the Frenchified spellings “programme” and “honour.” For the same reason, he preferred the spelling “-ize” as being closer to Greek than the French “-ise.”)

(Norma Laming) #32

Thank you for the explanation. It has saved me from becoming a professional grump on this one.

Luckily, there are other grammatical styles available for me to be irritated about

(Bacon for the Win) #33

I have a new language pet peeve. “I’m wanting” instead of “I want.” I’m wanting to go out for dinner tonight, instead of I want to go out for dinner. WTH!

I’ve given up on there/their/they’re, your/you’re and loose/lose. But I’m wanting? Hurts to read that every time.

(Doug) #34

These days, endless numbers of people lack a suitable grounding in proper language, allowing such travesties and farcical perversions to take root.

(Crow T. Robot) #35

Here’s something else we can hate McDonald’s for:

(Annette) #36

I learned many years ago that one space after a period came with the different fonts available on computer printers. Courier, the font that was used on typewriters, is a monospaced font — each letter or symbol utilizes the same amount of space and allows columns of characters to be consistently aligned. Other fonts (e.g., Times New Roman) are spaced according to the space needed for each letter. A “w” is wider than an “i.” Then add line justification and we end up with words spread across the page.

(Tom) #37


(Jane Reed) #38

I agree, Chrus and Tom.

Aditionally, I may have have to start a thread called “Usage, usage, usage”. I will admit to using the term yummy but no longer! I bought a box of flavored black tea, one new to me, and it was only after getting it home that I discovered the blurb “yummy caramel tea” printed on the box and on each of the individually wrapped packets.

It was at that moment I realized how juvenile the word was. What am I, 5 years old? That word is gone from my vocabulary. And Bigelow, the producers of that tea, who the devil did they hire to do their marketing?

(It's all about the bacon, baby) #39

We also use children’s words for bodily functions in adult discussions. Of course, prissiness is a factor here, but what is wrong with the grown-up terms, “urinate” and “defecate”? I’d even be happier with the coarser four-letter words than with “pee” and “poop.”

I also remember a sitcom episode in which they mocked the word “bye-bye” used by an adult. Now it’s so common as to draw no attention.

(Sophie) #40

I’m fixin-ta tell ya what gripes my ass…it’s when I hear somebody say “these ones” or “those ones”…makes me wanna either punch them in the face or claw their eyes out, one or t-other! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: