How many spaces after a period?

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  • How many spaces after a period?

    If we're going to have this discussion, let's have it in the proper forum.

    And let's just settle this.

    From http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com...-sentence.aspx


    Here's the deal: Most typewriter fonts are what are called monospaced fonts. That means every character takes up the same amount of space. An "i" takes up as much space as an "m," for example. When using a monospaced font, where everything is the same width, it makes sense to type two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence to create a visual break. For that reason, people who learned to type on a typewriter were taught to put two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence...

    But when you're typing on a computer, most fonts are proportional fonts, which means that characters are different widths. An "i" is more narrow than an "m," for example, and putting extra space between sentences doesn't do anything to improve readability...

    Although how many spaces you use is ultimately a style choice, using one space is by far the most widely accepted and logical style. The Chicago Manual of Style (1), the AP Stylebook (2), and the Modern Language Association (3) all recommend using one space after a period at the end of a sentence.

    From http://www.mla.org/style_faq3


    Because it is increasingly common for papers and manuscripts to be prepared with a single space after all punctuation marks, this spacing is shown in the examples in the MLA Handbook and the MLA Style Manual. As a practical matter, however, there is nothing wrong with using two spaces after concluding punctuation marks unless an instructor or editor requests that you do otherwise.
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  • #2
    Re: How many spaces after a period?

    Hi Emily, probably a good idea. I stayed out of the other thread because I could see it was derailing a thread that should only be about the Nicholl Competition.

    I still remember what happened to the Pro Feedback thread.

    The point of my original post was that Celtx force formats your scripts to one period when converting to PDF.

    So it's out of the writer's hand unless they want to switch programs.

    Anyway, I assume I had some problems with my script, and the reviewer was probably searching for a softer criticism. He was probably being nice.

    BTW: I do believe the pro's when they say no one who matters cares about minor variations like that.
    Last edited by Anagram; 04-10-2012, 11:25 AM.

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    • #3
      Re: How many spaces after a period?

      Emily is correct.

      Also, and I think this is worth mentioning --

      A tangible benefit to the ONE SPACE RULE, is that by deleting those extra spaces you automatically delete lines. Because the spaces add up. Three lines of dialogue suddenly becomes two. A four lines of action morphs into a tight three. That's a good thing.

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      • #4
        Re: How many spaces after a period?

        Except...

        Courier is a monospaced font, which is why a lot of screenwriters use two spaces.

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        • #5
          Re: How many spaces after a period?

          I can't believe this is really a discussion topic.
          QUESTICLES -- It's about balls on a mission.

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          • #6
            Re: How many spaces after a period?

            I use two spaces. Except for sentences that begin with "We see".

            [And yes, I did put the period outside the quote mark. I do so when/as appropriate to the context. That matter is just another one that was once well understood but was then screwed up by the self-appointed newspaper style-book poobahs. Though, we should not overlook that they are called "style books", not "rule books".]

            Besides, why should anyone give a crap (no offense, Emily, but I've heard those same authorities cited too many times) about what "The Chicago Manual of Style (1), the AP Stylebook (2), and the Modern Language Association (3)" have to say about this matter. And I used to be able to quote the GPO Style Manual by heart. For starters, I assume that none of those endorses the comma-splice, and yet that's standard form in scripts. In any event, this ain't about matching subject and verb or anything of that sort. Really, if I'd listen to any "expert" on this it would be Emily Post. It's about appearances.
            Last edited by Manchester; 04-10-2012, 01:14 PM.

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            • #7
              Re: How many spaces after a period?

              It's not an uncommon debate - the writers room of COMMUNITY had a couple exchanges on Twitter about it. The room I work in uses one space, but the class I'm taking advocates two. The room prefers double hyphens while the class wants only one (in action, two in dialogue).

              It only matters if someone else is asking you to do it that way. Easy fix? If you double space and want to see if it saves space, find all " " and replace " " - you can have it either way.

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              • #8
                Re: How many spaces after a period?

                Originally posted by Knaight View Post
                I can't believe this is really a discussion topic.
                I've had this conversation ten times over the years, the last time with Scott Myers and Scott Frazier. Definitely a valid discussion.

                For the record, I used to be a two-space guy but converted to one space, Frazier's a two-space guy because "otherwise it looks wrong," and I think Myers was also a convert like me. The monospace fact of Courier makes it a strong candidate for two-space, which is how most people who learned to type on typewriters were taught.

                Manchester, you may do whatever you like. You may put the quotation marks upside down and around the corner if that pleases your appearances, but the MLA, the AP Stylebook, and The Chicago Manual are useful references. Like all references, they can be broken -- but it's a good idea to know what's perceived as correct before making the conscious choice to do something different.

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                • #9
                  Re: How many spaces after a period?

                  There are strong arguments for both. However, as someone who reads approx 200 pages per day, I personally prefer two-spaces. Anything you can do to make your screenplay more pleasurable to the human eye is a good thing.
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                  • #10
                    Re: How many spaces after a period?

                    Originally posted by jcgary View Post
                    Manchester, you may do whatever you like. You may put the quotation marks upside down and around the corner if that pleases your appearances, but the MLA, the AP Stylebook, and The Chicago Manual are useful references. Like all references, they can be broken -- but it's a good idea to know what's perceived as correct before making the conscious choice to do something different.
                    I agree completely. It's just... I do think the quotation mark "rule" is simply absurd.

                    For example: Are we going to see "Hangover 2?"

                    Or: Are we going to see "Hangover 2"?

                    Even if it's not a question, the punctuation shouldn't be within the quotes in that situation. On this one, the Brits do have it right.

                    But again, I agree - Know the convention, then tell it to **** off. PRN

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                    • #11
                      Re: How many spaces after a period?

                      Originally posted by Manchester View Post
                      Or: Are we going to see "Hangover 2"?
                      This is correct in the US.

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                      • #12
                        Re: How many spaces after a period?

                        I rock the single-space and always put punctuation within quotations.

                        I just think it looks weird if you do it the other way.

                        "Hangover 2"? That looks weird.

                        And, "I know what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna go to the movies." That also looks weird.

                        To me.

                        ETA: Supposed to be a double-space between the double-sentence quote above, but apparently DDP does not allow that... Good.
                        Last edited by ATB; 04-10-2012, 05:40 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Re: How many spaces after a period?

                          Pretty sure question marks are the exception and go outside the quotes unless part of the quote.

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                          • #14
                            Re: How many spaces after a period?

                            Jeff: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak from the mountain and inform me that what I'm saying is bullshit. However, though you are obviously familiar with the concept, it's not pontificating for someone else to express a reasonable opinion, even if you disagree. I appreciated your multicolored fonts, but don't patronize me, okay? I've tried to treat you with respect -- how about showing a little in return? I may not be a pro, but I've been at this for four years, I've got solid representation, and I've got a script going out which has already attracted a lot of attention. I'm not just starting out, and even though I lack your experience, I have a pretty good handle on it.

                            The idea that new writers have any less leeway than established pros drives you bonkers, for some unfathomable reason. I already knew that. But here's the thing, Jeff -- all the pros do not share your views. They do not all speak with one voice on this or most of the other subjects on which you proclaim the "truth" (always with your trademark touch of exasperation). I'm not a pro, but my managers -- guys who I'm sure you do respect -- definitely are. They believe and have told me directly that it's especially incumbent on a new writer to make sure that his script conforms as closely as possible to traditional standards, because new writers are unproven commodities who need to show that they can write professionally when first being introduced to the marketplace. This includes, for example, the need to try to keep a script under 120 pages (under 115, ideally) -- another thing you think is nonsense. I'm sure you think the CONT'D issue they raised with me, which I alluded to earlier, is absurd as well. So perhaps I should go back and tell them that they don't know what they're talking about because Jeff Lowell declared on Done Deal that rules don't matter and that a brand new writer stands on the exact same footing as an established pro when it comes to disregarding well-established screenwriting conventions. Or maybe you should try to accept the fact that you don't speak for all the pros and stop insulting everyone you deem unworthy of presenting a differing viewpoint.

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                            • #15
                              Re: How many spaces after a period?

                              Wrong thread.

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