Make it Two Spaces, Bartender


Just when I thought I was cool and hangin’ with the hipsters for once, they went ahead and changed the rules on me. Again.

I do try to stay up with trends and follow the rules which experts say will keep me safe: I’m careful about not connecting to suspicious-looking WiFi, we change the kitchen sponges regularly, our credit card statements are shredded before being tossed in the garbage, and we use the sanitizing wipes on the grocery store shopping carts. Experts regularly tell us to do these things. Who can argue with the experts, right?!

So you can imagine my dismay recently when I discovered that I’ve been doing a couple of things wrong. One minute I’m following the rules and the next I’m out of sync and no longer in style.

First, there was this article which got my head scratching:

‘Moderate’ Drinking Guidelines Are Too Loose, Study Says

Seriously? We went from being told that a couple of drinks was actually healthy to now being bad for us? Well, okay. Fine for you Mr./Ms. Expert, self-contained in your publish-or-perish world of academic ambition. But I dare you to tell this to Her Majesty, who at 92 still enjoys her four cocktails every day (blogger’s advisory: we are not recommending you follow her example). I have a sneaking feeling she will not be amused.

And what about all the previous studies that compared the low French and Italian rates of heart disease to the higher American ones? You expect me to just forget that now? Act like I never knew it?

Those earlier studies, from experts I remember thinking at the time were absolutely brilliant scientists, noted that the key to their findings was wine consumption on the part of European citizens, compared to the Big Mac-gulping habits of Joe Six Pack here in the United States. Once I heard this, I shedded my former sudsy ways and transitioned to wine. Of course, these same experts did make it clear that they were only recommending moderate amounts to achieve a corresponding benefit. Moderate was described as two drinks daily for men and one for women.

Now, however, with one very broad brush, a completely new set of experts are obliterating the pretext under which I have enjoyed my second drink each evening.

Forget Her Majesty, I am not amused!

We’re indeed living in sad times when moderation is removed from politics and our stemware.

And one more later at bed time too!
Source: Vanity Fair

The second thing to shake my world was this little ditty, also found in the Washington Post:

One Space Between Each Sentence, They Said. Science Just Proved Them Wrong

Again, these damn experts playing with my head and harshing my mellow. This one simply falls under the category of “nuisance,” though.

Like most people my age, I was taught to use two spaces after a period when I first leaned how to use a typewriter. For me that was back in eighth grade typing class. I remained a two-spacer all through college and during my working years.

But when I retired and became a blogger in 2014, I learned that two spaces was considered out of style. I read a number of blogs posts and grammar web sites on the topic, and decided that I too would join the ranks of the enlightened. Except for some of my earliest blog posts (which for the sake of your sanity and equilibrium, I do not recommend reading), I only use one space after every period.

It was quite awkward at first, but in time I got the hang of it. In fact, I soon began to look down my nose at those who hadn’t made the change or even knew about it. “They’re so last century,” I smugly thought.

Now, we have completely different experts, who I’m pretty sure are not aware of the new rules on moderate drinking, have announced a reversal on the spaces rule.  According to them, it is now more appropriate to use two spaces again.

I’m going to be looking for Minister of Propaganda Squealer to teach us all a chant of “One space good, two spaces better!” He sure seems like someone who already has an office in this current White House.

Squealer from Animal Farm
Source: Villains.wikia

Hard as I try to stay with the times, I have to say I’m not sure how quickly I plan on transitioning back on either of these issues. I like my pre-dinner cocktail, and I do enjoy a glass of wine during the meal itself.

With regard to spaces after a period, I’m going to stay in a holding pattern. I’ve noticed that here on the WordPress site, sentences become unaligned within a paragraph if one doesn’t stick to the one space rule (fellow bloggers, what are your thoughts?).

I don’t want to be an old dog who can’t learn a new trick, nor do I wish to be one who’s constantly chasing his tail. I just wish these experts would pick one someone their own size.

Until next time…

43 thoughts on “Make it Two Spaces, Bartender

  1. I am a strict two-spacer (and two martini-er) Marty. I dislike single spacing when a paragraph includes an abbreviated term which is not capitalized (or even when it is) and is followed by a capital letter, I am forced to pause ever so slightly and determine if it is the end of a sentence.

    Double spaces make this issue vanish completely.

    Of course, the second martini make me care far less, as well.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Indeed it did, Eddie! Those WordPress software engineers are strict.

        I totally get what you’re saying about abbreviations at the end of a sentence. It looks sloppy if you use only one space. I think I may have made an exception here for that, but now I see it may not have mattered anyway since WordPress is making decisions for all of us.

        I can’t remember the last time I had two martinis, but that’s more a function of age rather than someone telling me what’s right or wrong. If I want to stay up past, say, 8:00pm, I’m better off with just one. But if I switch to a small glass of wine — for conversational purposes only, of course — I’m usually fine.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh no. So much bad news all together! Hmmm…does the 1 drink thing also include margaritas which really is no more than fruit juices, some distilled and some not. As for that space, I had to transition once. Not sure I can do again. Marty you need to stop reading expert reports!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I use, have always used and will always use two spaces after a period.
    As for wine…I’ve never had a sip of wine or beer and don’t intend to. I think a glass of wine in a Waterford glass is lovely but I can’t get the smell past my nose. As for beer…it looks like a glass of pee.
    You know me…dark and twisty and FAR behind the norm.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so far behind things, especially transitioning! I never transitioned to 2 spaces. So now I’m with it?

    Or, is this a case of everything old is new again? Like clothing? Home decor? Of course, that’s my hubby’s excuse for never throwing anything away.

    But red wine and dark chocolate. I think more research is needed. Sign me up.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Marty – I definitely need to take “Title Creation” classes from you and Ally Bean. On both of your blogs, I merely read the title and I already start laughing. Your hilarious (and slightly sarcastic) prose doesn’t help matters either. I could hardly make it through this post I was laughing so hard.
    BTW – I had to type this comment to remember if I had successfully converted to the “one space after a full stop rule”. Bad news, it seems like I have. I will definitely be needing that second drink!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The best thing about it, Donna, is all I have to do is just read the news. The posts write themselves after that! I just hope I don’t start counting steps now after entering or closing doors. I’m going to become paranoid in my old age!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Congratulations, if that’s your thing” (my favorite line at the end of it). 🙂 Vindication indeed, Eddie! It takes a working reference librarian to get to the bottom of this. Henceforward I return back to my two-space ways, at least in my emails. I think WordPress will have other ideas for all of us for the time being. Well done!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d love to take credit for researching this, but I was sitting at home listening to the CBC (as I do on weekday evenings when I am home) when the story started and I practically spewed out a sip from my second martini when I realized what they were discussing.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Damn straight, Ally!

      I was trying desperately to use the John Lennon line “Expert texpert choking smokers,
      Don’t you think the joker laughs at you?
      ” from “I Am The Walrus,” but I could’t find a way to give it context. So this is my gratuitous way of doing so now. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I didn’t know about the two space rule, but then again I’m still using an AP Stylebook from 1990. As for the drinking, two drinks seems reasonable. I don’t think they’re ever going to figure this out definitively, at least in our lifetime. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rules don’t matter anymore and it’s caused chaos. I’m still trying to determine what happened to ‘lit’. Now everything is ‘lighted’. Whenever I let slip ‘lit’ I feel people looking down on me now. Then, there are the words that somehow changed spelling since my elementary school English class, like ‘cancelled’ turned into ‘canceled’. “Why was my flight cancelled!!!” “Sorry Sir, you mean ‘canceled’, don’t you?” Two spaces is what I learned after a period/sentence but I find that I alternate to one space sometimes, especially on Word documents, when I’m trying to cram in words to maintain consistently spaced words on each paragraph line. In the past, I would have been pilloried for taking such liberties. As for drinks being healthy or not, the science is going back and forth on that, and I pay it no mind. A glass of red wine every day is supposed to be good for you, but then the next day, Harvard comes out and says, “Sure, drink up…if you want another head to sprout from your shoulders in ten years.” I think I know what you are getting at though, and I think two drinks a day while sitting in one space is my takeaway from your post. “Give me a whiskey with a beer chaser as I intend to get all lit up.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m a very reluctant one-spacer (after reading over and over that too was so last century) so I’m relieved that I can go back to what feels right. And, speaking of feeling right, who am I to argue with the Queen Mom?

    You didn’t even bring up whether to Oxford comma or not, so I’ll just say “yes, please”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, yes, the Oxford comma. Well done!

      Truth be told, I am always on shaky ground when it comes to grammar. Which I suppose is a funny thing for someone who’s decided to blog. I used to write a newsletter for my library, and I would breathe several times before hitting the SEND button. I knew full well there were probably errors in there. It still bothers me, but not as much as it used to. I’ve learned to accept my deficiencies.

      I’m considering going back to two spaces now also. This admittedly was a strange detour.


    1. I know, that’s what makes it so frustrating for me. I never liked the one space convention. I think the only real reason why I did it was that got tired of WordPress paragraphs always being uneven (which stopped when I finally made the switch). Well, it’s back to two spaces for moi. I live an uneven life anyway.


  9. I’m such a lightweight drinker. Four cocktails a day would leave me lacking basic motor functions. I’m not bragging. I hate it.

    At work, we consider the few old-timey writers who still use two spaces kind of ready for the pasture. I always conduct a mass search-and-replace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG, there’s no way I could handle four drinks every day. Her Majesty has got one tough constitution, that’s for sure (pun intended). My limit is two now probably for the rest of my life. I guess I can live with that.

      I suspect those old-timeys are now back in vogue and they don’t even know it. 😉


  10. Oh no. Until I read your post, I didn’t know that ‘they’ were trying to change the rules. Again. As far as the first one, I’m going to stick with my one glass of red wine a day. Before you know it, the rules will change and it will be the healthiest thing in my diet.
    But the space after the period!! That’s a SHOCKER. Like you, I diligently placed two spaces after the period as I was taught. Then I worked for a newspaper (New Directions for Women – it was a non-profit) and was told to only use only one space. Which seemed sacrilegious to me. But whatever. That’s the way it’s been now for decades. I don’t think the two-space period will work, because it takes up more space, and everyone seems to be after minimalism these days…


    1. Think of it like the warnings we’ve had for years on caffeine, Pamela.: depending on the serotonin level of a given expert at random moments, it’s either good or bad for you. And lest you think I’m speaking of alcohol here, I’m actually talking about the space issue. Complex matters require lots of thought. And martinis apparently. We live in interesting times…

      Thanks for your comments!


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