Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Look at This. It Looks Atrocious.

There is an evil on the horizon that is threatening to corrupt our society to its core. It’s this movement that says it’s now grammatically correct to just have one space between sentences instead of the traditional two. Talk about letting the terrorists win. I don’t think I’m being over dramatic here when I say that this is an atrocity of unparalleled proportion.      

I’m assuming this trend is a side effect of the overwhelming popularity of texting and instant messaging. Sure it makes sense to be a little loose on the number of spaces between sentences in these formats, but texting and instant messaging is a no holds barge orgy of grammatical chaos. In texting, “c u L8r” is a complete functioning sentence, translating to “See you later.” “OMG!” is shorthand for “Wow!” and “LOL” translates to “I recognize and understand that you were attempting to be humorous in your previous communication.” LOL!

This is all fine and dandy when you’re typing on a two inch screen only using your thumbs (and let’s be honest here, you have fat thumbs), but as for more formal writing, it’s just a hideous pattern of injustice. Take the following examples:    

     The sun will set in an hour. It should be very pretty.
     The sun will set in an hour.  It should be very pretty.

As you can see the first pair of sentences is horrid. It’s like looking at the mangled wreckage of a fatal car accident. On the other hand the second pair is absolutely gorgeous! It’s like watching a mother bald eagle feed her young. It’s rejuvenating and I actually feel like I now have more energy from reading it. But if you are still not convinced, look at this example:

     The Priest was arrested. He was charged with sodomizing 26 children and 14 puppies.
     You have just won the lottery.  All of your dreams will now come true.

You tell me which pair of sentences you like better.

Some of you more astute (read anal) readers may have noticed that the sentences in this post are only followed by a single space. I apologize profusely, but I had no choice. Due to the communist formatting style of our blog’s host site, if we put two spaces at the end of each sentence we run the risk of of having unintentional indenting of new sentence. That’s the kind of grotesque pleasure these sickos get with an additional space.

So in conclusion, my fat thumbed anal readers, do we really want our children growing up in a world where sentences are only followed by a single space? Have we gotten so lazy that adding that second space now requires too much effort to be bothered with? There’s one thing I remember learning from my college health class is that to obtain the quickest high, drugs should be taken intravenously. But only having one space in between sentences is one high I don’t want to be a part of.

Pat:  No disagreement here. In fact, in reading your two contrasting sentences above, where the only noticeable difference is the extra space in the second sample, I just spit a bit of food onto my computer screen as a result of uncontrollable laughter. I think it might have been a speck of sausage. Damn. It was good sausage, and now it’s wasted. You’re right--those single spaces are dangerous and costly!

Christian:  Great. How many specks of quality sausage do we have to sacrifice before we learn? Is there no end to this horror?


  1. Just as I cannot take my eyes off of the mangled wreckage of a fatal car accident, I also cannot stop seeing the single space terrorism at every turn now. So thanks for that!
    At least the priest was arrested.

  2. I'd like to share some time saving abbreviations that I like to use. If I want to tell someone that I'll be seeing them next time I type C U N T. That stands for see you next time. If I'm planning to meet up with Chris after my yoga class I'll say I'M G A Y. That means I'm going after yoga. It really saves a lot of time. Oh, and LOL means lots of love. I usually reserve this one for when someone tells me about a particularly difficult time in their lives. You don't want to over use it.

  3. I do this. I'm guilty of single space terrorism. I was taught the good, double space way and I swear to you.... I have no idea when I switched!! I didn't even REALIZE that I had, until I wrote something for somebody else and they yelled at me for using single spaces. I was all "NO WAY, man! I do it the right way!" And then when I went back to my Word doc I was SHOCKED. Really. I have no idea how this happened.... I am so so sorry....

  4. Tumbleweed - I know. It's like you've awoken from the Matrix now isn't it?

    Megiweg - I hear you on the "lots of love" one. I have a similar one that I use in the same type of situations: Really Overwhelmed From the Loss. For example the other day my friend informed me that her grandma had just passed due to a bout with pneumonia. I responded with "ROFL!" I'm sure a thank you card for my support is in the mail.

    jillsmo - It's ok. Since you have been so honest, I'll admit that I too am suffering from the same thing. A while ago I started to notice that I was occasionally, and subconsciously, only using a single space. It's now to a point where I'm doing it about half the time.I just hope they find a cure in time-OH DEAR GOD I DIDN'T PUT ANY SPACES AFTER THAT LAST ONE!!!!

  5. Is this an appropriate place to bring up the correct use of ellipses? For a long time I didn't even know that the "dot-dot-dot" had a name. Then when I realized that the space between each dot was actually smaller than the space created by a space bar I was horrified. I had been using a substandard "period-space x 3" formula instead of the correct one (which, to be honest, I'm not sure how to create). Fuckitall...I'm going back to longhand (

  6. My kids (darn them!) insist there should be only one space, but Mrs. Fisher, our junior high typing teacher, taught is to double space before starting a new sentence. It's a habit I can't, and won't, break.

  7. youthinkit'sbadnowwaituntilalloursoulsaretakenoverbythequickerisbettermovementandthisiswhattheyteachschoolchildre.justyouwait.

  8. Actually, Alisha (or is it intentionally "alisha", sans capitalization, a'la post-modern post-race post-feminism poet bell hooks?), your comment above made me think that this next year I should teach my 9th grade students grammar as e e cummings would have preferred it. darnit, i will do that very thing, i will indeed...

  9. @Sharyn - This Mrs. Fisher sounds like a true American hero. I hope she received some kind of Presidential Commendation of Honor for her work.

    @alisha - So it sounds like you are predicting some kind of Mad Max beyond Thunderdome type future.

    @Pat - e e cummings? Should you really be showing your students pornographic movies?

  10. True story. We're getting ready to launch our website at work and our CCO wanted to edit all the pages before it went live..that included removing all the double spaces, which is apparently against AP style. So, basically, thanks AP for letting the terrorists win.

    1. Oh no, it's much worse than I could have ever possibly imagined. God help us all.