At least once a month I choke back an impulse to blog about writing tics that grate on my nerves. I don’t want to become a candidate for the editorial police — the sort of people who can read a suicide note and cluck over a typo.
But when another writer does a fabulous job of ranting about one of my pet peeves, I’m happy to share, in the hope that his (in this case, it’s a he) eloquence will have some effect.
So here’s Farhad Manjoo on Slate on “Why you never, ever use two spaces after a period.” He wants you to use only one space because it’s right from the perspective of readability. I want you to use only one space because I’m tired of having to go through long manuscripts that I edit, removing the darned extra spaces so they can be published. (Yes, I can use Word formulas to do it, but they don’t insure accuracy, and the results need to be painstakingly checked.)
There are, of course, reasons why you should use two spaces after a period. One is that you want people to think you have a secretary, one with blue hair in a bun who worked for your great-grandfather’s law firm. And there’s nothing like two spaces after a period to say that you’re an important executive who rarely touches a keyboard or any other type of (shudder) modern technology.
Now — would someone please tell me why Slate uses periods at the end of phrases that are not sentences, but headlines?