Officially, on January 1 of every year, I review my grammar and punctuation and other orthographic preferences and decide whether I’m comfortable with the sad choices I’ve made thus far in my life.
As in past years, I made the easy call to stick with “Internet” statt “internet,” and “e-mail” statt “email.” I know this may make me fusty and old fashioned, but that’s OK. I’m in my mid-thirties and I’m entitled.
However, I finally decided to really take a hard look at the number of spaces after a period. This has riven my friends and colleagues in past surveys, but I’ve always stuck with the two spaces. Why? Partly because I truly do think it looks better. And maybe—despite what you’ll read—I still do think that.
Starting in January I began test-marketing the one-space system. It was scary and I felt very uncomfortable. What will others say about me? What does this say about myself? It began in certain letters, then in chats, then e-mails.
Nobody noticed or cared.
Today I announce that the tests were successful and I have fully transitioned to being a one-space person. I know this will provoke anguish in some. I made the decision in part based on the sort of people who actually will be anguished. I now part company with a couple of attorneys whose writing styles I find stuffy and old-fashioned. If I set myself against them, I probably am doing something right. And I join a vast (tragically probably Apple-centric) set of modern designers and writers who just use the one space.
I am sure there will be backsliding. I will probably get drunk and start typing two just for old times’ sake. I think I’ll make it through, though. Your support and encouragement are critical.
Next year, we will review explicitly specifying nautical miles vs. statute miles in all distance calculations. I bet you don’t know which one is the one you typically use (e.g., in mph?). In 2016, you’ll find out.