Summit Up 1-19-13: Where a single space is all we need
January 19, 2013
Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that’s going to help you help us with three, easy-to-follow tips for editorial copy submission.
1. Never use two spaces after sentence-ending punctuation. This might be a bit of a shocker but the two-space practice is a relic of the typewriter days, adopted to deal with monospace typefaces used in the near-extinct machines. In a monospace typeface, every letter is the same width, such that two spaces are needed to make it visually clear that one sentence has ended and a new sentence has begun. In contrast, most of today’s typefaces have variable letter widths – a capital M, for example, takes up more horizontal space than a lowercase i. One space after a period is now entirely sufficient. Forget what you learned in school. Look at this column. One space, period, then another single space, period. If you don’t believe us, check out Farhad Manjoo’s post, “Space Invaders: Why you should never, ever use two spaces after a period” at slate.com (http://slate.me/nIeNZD).
2. Forget where the caps lock button is. Do you see copy in this newspaper written in ALL CAPS? In the bylines, yes – but even there we have a quick-and-easy method we use called “Styles” that converts lowercase text to look the way we want it to look. All caps is intimidating. It’s like you’re SHOUTING AT US. By all means, capitalize the first letters of sentences and proper nouns, but please, leave the rest of the letters in their relaxed, lowercase state. This goes for EMAILS TOO.
3. Drop the exclamation points. That’s right, you heard us. There’s simply no place in journalism for exclamation points. Please, whatever you do, try to resist the urge, no matter how excited you are. Even in the calendar. Especially in the calendar! What’s worse than an exclamation point? Multiple exclamation points!!!