Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Some of us dedicated walkers are way, way beyond this.



  1. Kevin, the formatting on Blogger changes in strange ways (or changed, the 'remove formatting' key works well now) after I quote someone. I learned to tap the return key a few times and type a little gibberish "adgjlasdfkj;", then paste the quote above the gibberish so that I could have the same font and size of text before and after the quote. Sometimes, I forget to delete it and my post ends with "asdsf". Is the "_" in your post the same thing?

    "Some of us dedicated walkers are way, way beyond this.


  2. Brian,

    The tiny little underscore at the bottom of my post, just above the time stamp, is manually put there by me as a placeholder. I find it annoying when the date/time stamp appears directly under my post text, which is why I add some hard returns and the underscore. I wish Blogger would just add hard returns automatically, but at this point, I stick in the underscore almost by reflex.

  3. To clarify: if I just add hard returns but no underscore, Blogger acts as if those hard returns don't exist, and the date/time stamp sits directly under the last line of any given post. Same goes for when I put two spaces after a colon or a period, old-school style: Blogger ignores one of the two spaces and shows only the one space, which reflects the "Internet" or electronic style of writing. Putting two spaces after colons and periods is on its way out, but it's still stylistically legitimate. The two spaces show up in my emails, but never on Blogger, which follows its own style sheet, I guess. (I typed this comment using the two-space style, but as you see, everything's been reduced to a one-space style.)

  4. I just use a dot. I don't think most people even notice it.

  5. Some websites will only allow a single empty line on a return. Occasionally, while trying to tell a joke or give spoilers to a movie, I end up doing this
    If I left out the periods, there would be only one blank line. Not on Blogger, though.
    Anyway, I understand.

  6. I never even noticed the underscore.

    Also, the single-space-after-a-period rule is neither the "internet" nor the electronic style of writing. The practice has been around since the 1940s, and every modern style guide calls for one space (here, "modern" means "after the era of hand-set type").

    I know you're a stickler for two spaces, and if that's what makes you happy, then space away to your heart's content. How's this: I won't argue about the "stylistic legitimacy" of the practice, and you won't argue that one-space-after-a-period is an artifact of the internet.

  7. Charles,

    "Yet, it is true that during the era of the typewriter, two spaces ruled, and once computers became the dominant tool for typing, one space became the standard."


    Plenty more sources like that, but I won't pile on unless you really, really need convincing (OK, just one more source noting that the switchover to one space coincided with the advent of advanced technology). I mean, it's not as though I just pulled that info out of my ass.

    Granted, the above-linked Grammar Girl page strongly recommends only one space after periods and colons. She notes that most major style guides recommend the one-space approach these days. But there's a reason so many of us put two spaces after periods and colons, and it's not because of mass hypnosis. We learned this. In class. Doesn't matter what happened in the 1940s; what matters is what we learned in school, and what we learned didn't just suddenly appear in the 1980s: it was part of a continuum of tradition.

    Anyway, Grammar Girl notes at the end of her spiel that the APA style manual advocated one post-period space (for a time, presumably), but now advocates two spaces for manuscripts.

    Upshot: there's nothing illegitimate about what I'm doing; there's expert support for what I do; I'm not wrong about the history. Not that any of this matters on Blogger, which "corrects" my tendencies to the, uh, received standard. But I've made my peace with that. Not that I have a choice.

  8. Let me just say that I don't disagree with you, nor am I attempting to refute any of the sources you cited. I also do not believe your practice is "illegitimate" or "wrong" (pretty strong words for a typographical convention, no?).

    Although I can't help pointing out that the second source you quoted ends with this: "The point is, it’s not only widely accepted, it’s expected that you use only one space after a period. Sorry two-spaces, it’s time to make the switch." (Sorry, that was just too good to pass up. OK, I'll be good now.)

    But I don't actually agree with that. I honestly don't care what you do in your personal correspondence (even though in days gone by we may have butted heads about this). If Blogger allowed you to use two spaces after a sentence, I would probably notice it as much as I noticed the underscores at the end of some of your posts. All I'm saying is that the history goes back farther than the electronic age.

    I learned the two-space rule on a clackety typewriter, just like you did. But then I switched, partly because it wasn't a big deal. Just like it wasn't a big deal to start writing "internet" without a capital "I." Or, more recently for me, capitalizing the first letter of independent clauses after a colon. These are just things that I come across and think, "Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. Let's try it." I started the colon thing maybe a year or so back because it made sense to me. It felt weird at first, and to be honest it still does a little (nearly forty years of habit can be hard to break), but it is becoming more and more natural.

    I remember when the Korean government introduced the Revised Romanization system. I was talking with a guy in the US embassy who emphatically stated, "I can never write 'Chosön' as 'Joseon.'" And I thought, "Why?" Is it really that big of a deal how you spell any given word? But he was acting like someone was demanding that he pimp out his children as sex slaves. It was a little scary, to be honest.

    My point in all this babbling is that conventions are just things that we make up. Yeah, sometimes there are good reasons for the existence of certain conventions, but I'm not sure that the one-space/two-space case is one of those instances. There are arguments on both sides of the aisle about readability and legibility, but nothing is conclusive. Also, text can be more legible and less readable, and vice versa, so it might even be a trade-off for all we know. As I get older, I try to care less about this sort of thing. There are too many other important things to care about.

    So you go ahead and type your two spaces when you can! I wasn't attacking you or trying to prove that you were "wrong" or "illegitimate." (Although I will concede that the comment about every modern style guide calling for one space was not only apparently inaccurate, but also a bit inflammatory. Mea culpa.) I was just trying to say that your comment about the one-space rule "reflect[ing] the 'Internet' or electronic style of writing" did not represent the entire picture.

    Also, on a completely different note, Bundaberg has made it to Korean shores. I don't know if you can get it in the marts yet, but I've had it at bars and restaurants. I wasn't sure, based on your recent tweet, if you were aware of this.

  9. I didn't even know Bundaberg existed until recently. I hadn't even noticed whether Bundaberg was being sold at my grocery until, one day, I happened to see bottles of it just sitting there on the cold-drink shelves. So I eagerly bought two bottles because I do occasionally get a ginger beer/ale jones. Took the bottles back upstairs to my apartment, guzzled the first bottle, and was amazed at the taste, which easily rivals that of my favorite brand, Northern Neck. After that day, there was no more Bundaberg ginger beer on the shelves (I had apparently depleted the store's stocks by buying those two bottles). I've checked ever since. Nothing.

    So yeah, I assumed that, if the ginger beer could appear in my humble building, it must be sold elsewhere in Seoul. Bars, etc., are a good bet when it comes to "esoteric" Western drinks ("esoteric" in scare quotes because they're not esoteric back home). I need to figure out how I can order in bulk. It's very carby, but it's also very damn good.



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