RE: One space (or two) after a paragraph?

Subject: RE: One space (or two) after a paragraph?
From: "Janoff, Steven" <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com>
To: Mike Starr <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 24 Aug 2015 16:59:59 +0000

I did the same thing and it's encouraging to see that I'm not the only one with this tendency. :)

I've been chasing detritus for many years -- I call it "fuzz." Mostly extra spaces, but other extra characters as you indicate.

Twenty-some years ago when I worked on several-hundred-page software specifications docs in Word, I had a ritual, similar to the below, with about ten global search-and-replace steps, including comma-space-endquote, space-colon, space-period-rightparen, that kind of thing. Lots of variations. I'd run that little system after every draft.

Had nothing to do with file space, it was more just being a neatness freak. I didn't want a single character in there that didn't belong. It didn't go to epic proportions -- there was always an, "Okay, that's good enough" point.

By the way, I'd step through the search but I'd make the change manually, because there were always some odd outliers that were not to be changed. Code was the obvious place but sometimes in regular text.

And I didn't like deleting a paragraph/adding a paragraph in the replace sequence -- I found that you could honk up styles that way. It's also not good if you're tracking changes.

Thank you, fellow OCD-er, for allowing me to feel that I am semi-normal. :)


PS - By the way, those extra one or two spaces at the end of the last sentence of a paragraph are not always harmless. Sometimes, if the last line of printed output goes right up against the right margin, the extra space or two will kick over to a newline, which shows up as a blank line on the page and mucks up pagination. I used to hate that. Didn't happen often, but enough that it was a pain.

On Saturday, August 22, 2015 6:15 AM, Mike Starr wrote:

No spaces at the end of paragraphs for me, thanks.

It's probably part the writer and part the tool. You write a bunch of stuff and it tends to gather in a single paragraph. When you figure out the paragraph needs to be broken up, you put the cursor in front of the first word of a sentence and press {Enter}. Voila... the previous paragraph now ends with {period}{space}{paragraph}. It happens with lists as well... they start as a sentence with a collection of items separated by commas and spaces and at a certain point it's appropriate to convert it into a bulleted list. Click cursor in front of an item and press {Enter}.

I come from a time when file space was a consideration and years ago I got in the (possibly mildly OCD) habit of doing a series of global search and replace functions for:

* {occurrence of from 2 to 80 spaces) and replace with {space}
* {tab}{tab} and replace with {tab}
* {space}{space}and replace with {space}
* {period}{space}{paragraph} and replace with {period}{paragraph}
* {paragraph}{space} and replace with {paragraph}
* {paragraph}{paragraph} and replace with {paragraph}.

Lather, rinse, repeat... Fortunately, it takes about five minutes one time to create a macro to do this sort of stuff. After that it takes about three seconds to run the macro on a document.

The OCD aspect comes in as well when I receive documents from others that I'm not responsible for maintaining and probably won't be using in my own work... I still tend to do that ritual to those documents and save my own copy. It's kind of like the concept of seeing someone else's kid with a dirty smudge on their face and grabbing a washcloth and wiping it off (not something I'd ever have the nerve to do but you get the point).

Best Regards,

Mike Starr, Writer
Technical Writer - Online Help Developer - WordPress Websites
Graphic Designer - Desktop Publisher - Custom Microsoft Word templates
(262) 694-1028 - mike -at- writestarr -dot- com -
President - Working Writers of Wisconsin

On 8/21/2015 9:08 PM, Steven Jong wrote:
> Not to start a new holy war, but--oh, it's Friday, why not?
> In working on source files created by others, I sometimes come across examples where the other writer has ended all paragraphs with a space character. When it happens, it's clearly deliberate: One space at the end of each paragraph and list item. I've seen it in files created in Word, Frame, XMetaL, you name it, so it's the writer, not the tool.
> I can see some utility in this practice if you want to add a new word or sentence at the end, or you want to move blocks of text around, because you'll more likely avoid the error of a missing space. But to me it seems more effort than it's worth, and to users it's literally invisible.
> I once got into a bad situation where I was silently fighting with another writer over the course of several revisions of a document. When I worked on it, I removed all the trailing spaces; when she worked on it, she put them back in. (Talk about more trouble than it's worth...!) Neither of us ever mentioned what we were doing aloud.
> So: Do you do it? Why or why not?
> â Steve
> ââ
> Steven Jong
> mailto:SteveFJong -at- comcast -dot- net
> Mobile: 978-413-2553
> Home sweet home page:
> âReading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an
> exact man.ââFrancis Bacon

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One space (or two) after a paragraph?: From: Steven Jong
Re: One space (or two) after a paragraph?: From: Mike Starr

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