Dumb post to the Stargardts Facebook group

Dawes, Stephen Stephen.Dawes at calgary.ca
Wed Apr 10 09:39:52 EDT 2013

It is quite rare today for you to find documents with double spaces at the end of sentences. The double space after end of sentence punctuation is a left over from the type writer era. I was told many years ago by my mentor and boss, at the time, that in the electronic error you no longer use the double space at the end of sentences. When I asked why, she replied that is all to do with fonts. On the type writer, she explained, the punctuation was not necessarily the same size as the letters. At the same time she also stopped me from indenting the typical five spaces, or one tab,  indent on a new line that started a paragraph. The blank line is the acceptable practice for a new paragraph, and everything is now left justified.

Stephen Dawes <B.A., B.Sc.>
Management Systems Analyst
The City of Calgary Information Technology

-----Original Message-----
From: Speakup [mailto:speakup-bounces at linux-speakup.org] On Behalf Of Tony Baechler
Sent: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 2:45 AM
To: Speakup is a screen review system for Linux.
Subject: Re: Dumb post to the Stargardts Facebook group

See my comments in-line below.

On 4/9/2013 4:19 PM, Gregory Nowak wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 09, 2013 at 07:08:39AM -0700, Tony Baechler wrote:
>> I always proofread everything before I post, so hopefully my posts
>> are reasonably free of errors.  Most people don't.  It's amazing how
>> many mistakes you can catch with 30 seconds of proofreading.
> I think a part of this for blind and sighted alike is laziness. I know
> a few people who are just content to type what they have to say, and
> just hit send, because they don't feel like reading through what they
> wrote. These are people who are sighted and blind. I'm not assuming
> here either. When I mentioned this to them, this is what they told me,
> they don't feel like reading through casual writing. Unfortunately,
> I've looked through their professional writing too, and they are
> invariably surprised by the amount of errors I point out
> to them in such
> pieces of writing.

Yes, that was me at one time.  I guess I'm just different, but I was
embarrased by the obvious spelling errors which I missed, so I made it a
point to take the extra 30 seconds.  Besides, it's amazing what comes back
to haunt you in Google search results.

> On another note, I noticed a number of blind people, including
> yourself putting two spaces in between every sentence. I put in just
> one, because this is how I learned it in braille, and it just
> stuck. Is there some sort of significance to the two spaces thing, or
> is it just personal preference?

Ah, the two spaces.  Nowadays, it's mostly habbit.  I learned two things
very early in life which I've never forgot.  One is that in Braille, we use
one space between sentences and three spaces to indent a new paragraph.
That's because Braille takes more space than print, but in the printed
world, we use two spaces between sentences and five spaces to indent.  The
other thing I learned was from my third grade teacher.  She said that you
always, always separate sentences with two spaces no matter what.  That
stuck and I've always done it that way.  I can't comment on why anyone else
does and I've read from many different sources that one space is acceptable
and preferred, but I can't help it.  If I purposely only use one space, it
feels wrong to me.  The two spaces rule apparently disappeared in the 1950s,
but it was still taught to me in school about 30 years later.

As a final thought, here is another reason why I proofread.  Since I do use
speech, I want to see how it sounds being read back to me.  Even though the
spelling and grammar are generally good enough, sometimes there is awkward
phrasing or I realize that I didn't complete my thought as clearly as I
should.  By going back and reading again, I've often changed words and added
sentences to help with clarification.  To paraphrase Isaac Asimov, the goal
should be to write clearly and to be understood.
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