how many spaces after a period

When I took highschool typing class (on a non-electric machine, which says more about how old my highschool was than how old I am) I was taught to always put two spaces after a period. Drilled into my head. I don’t think I could ever unteach myself.

But when I was in a writer’s group a few years ago (prose writing) I was zinged by several members for not single spacing after the period. I understand why. Computer formatting makes the two space rule obsolete.

I guess my question is, How does Inform 7 deal with two spaces after the period, and how will the IF community respond if my work contains the wrong number of spaces?

Inform will faithfully display however many spaces you decide to put in descriptions etc. Readers probably won’t notice either way.

Note that some Inform interpreters will break a line between the first space and secod space after a period, making the next line appear idented by one space.

Good reason to stick with one, and only one space after the period, always and forever.

That’s interesting. I’d never heard of this idea 'til last year. I was talking to an assistant editor where I worked and he said someone had encouraged him to do the double-space at some point well in the past. But he certainly wasn’t doing it any more.

At least within prose, I think the main determinant that says we should all use one space is that that’s the word-processing software paradigm which won out big time. Almost all text-handling software is designed to justify and understand prose most optimally with only one space after a period and before the next character.

If you want to force space for cosmetic effect in Inform (which you’re unlikely to do during normal prose delivery) you’ll get more bang for your buck if you switch to [fixed letter spacing] first. Then the spaces are as wide as the characters. Otherwise, depending on the font (which is ultimately out of your control) you might have to pile up a ton of regular spaces to actually make space!


I think I’ll just need to unlearn this habit… and use find/replace to check my work for doubles after a period.

I6 had features for automatically correcting to one space after a period, though they tended to cause more problems than they solved (e.g. mangling the Morse code chart in early builds of Jigsaw). I imagine that’s why I7 doesn’t make them available.

Professional typesetting systems use a variety of different spaces. Sentences shouldn’t be followed by two spaces, they should be followed by one wide space.

It would be possible for an IF system to do this automatically.

That I6 feature wouldn’t play well with I7’s string handling. You might wind up with situations where string matching gave the wrong answer.

This could be an interpreter typography feature, although it’s classically a hard case to get exactly right. (You want a wide space at the end of a sentence, which isn’t always the same thing as “after a period”.)

I believe Gargoyle also has an option for this though it’s disabled by default.

This is exactly what happens with the extension documentation.

.WindowRock_225 { background: #BAF7F4; color: #070833; }

appears as

. WindowRock_225 { background: #BAF7F4; color: #070833; }

Yeah to do it properly you’d want to look at borrowing some code from TeX. Hard, but possible.

I would suggest typing it however you want, and before compiling doing a search+replace of all (double space) with (single space).

I will never ever be able to stop double spacing after a period. It’s part of my existence.