“Put One Space between Sentences” by Joan Y. Edwards
A few years ago, someone wrote, “Don’t put two spaces between sentences.”
I said, “What? This can’t be true. I have been trained for years to put two spaces when typing. Ever since 1954 in my high school typing class.”
However, it is true. We should only put one space between sentences now. My mother, Ethel D. Meyer, had the neatest saying about things that weren’t true any more. She said, “Old usedta’s dead.”
In 1989, Shushan and Wright said in the book, Desktop Publishing by Design, that “typesetting requires only one space after periods, question marks, exclamation points, and colons, and identified single sentence spacing as a typographic convention.
In 2010 The Chicago Manual of Style of the University of Chicago Press stated that one space be used between sentences. I put other sources that explain reasons for this in the reference section.
Most printed materials now use one space between sentences. Many publishers and agents expect manuscripts in one space between sentences format. Others may not. Follow their guidelines. If the guidelines don’t specify, I suggest that you use one-space formatting to show agents and publishers that you’re up to date!
Now you say to me, my Microsoft Word software puts two spaces between sentences. Here’s a link to directions for changing the settings from two spaces to one for Microsoft Word Software Versions 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003: http://word.tips.net/T001820_An_Automatic_Two_Spaces_after_a_Period.html
If you use Microsoft Word 2007 or higher you can set it for one space, and it will show you put a green wavy line where there are extra spaces.
- Click on the windows logo (red, blue, green, and yellow in the top left corner of a Word Document.
- Scroll down to bottom blue ribbon part and look over to right, click on Word Options
- Then click on the third word down,
- Then find the third subject title down: Checking Grammar and Style in Word. At the bottom of that section, it says: Writing Style. Click on Settings to right of the box beside it. Look for the Sentence spacing rule.
- There are three choices:
- 1 (space) Select 1, if you want Word’s grammar checker to mark as errors the sentences with more than one space after a period.
- 2 (spaces) Select 2, if you want Word’s grammar checker to mark as errors any sentences that have a single space or more than 2 spaces between sentences.
- don’t check Select this option if you don’t want the Word’s grammar checker to check the spacing between sentences.
Choose the one you want, and click okay. Make sure you click okay or you’ll have to start all over again. Then Word marks incorrect spacing between sentences with a little green jagged line.
If my directions confuse you, go to http://wordribbon.tips.net/T010775_An_Automatic_Two_Spaces_after_a_Period.html.
I recommend subscribing to Allen Wyatt’s Word Tips.
If per chance your editor wants two spaces and your manuscript has only one space between sentences, you can easily fix it. If you right click on the wavy green line, you can choose grammar, and it will show you how to change it to correct spacing.
If you click on the Review tab along the top blue ribbon bar at the top of Word, then choose Spelling and Grammar to the far left, it will let you know each sentence that the spacing is incorrect and if you click “change,” it will automatically fix it for you.
If you magnify your manuscript to size 16 font, you’ll be able to see the green wavy lines better.
- http://theworldsgreatestbook.com/how-many-spaces-after-a-period/ “How Many Spaces after a Period:”
- Shushan, Ronnie and Don Wright. Desktop Publishing by Design. Redmond, WA: 1989 Microsoft Press. ISBN 1-55615-134-9, p. 34.
- Wikipedia. “Double Spaced Sentences:” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-spaced_sentences
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Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards
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