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Two blank spaces after full stop

Just out of curiosity: recently there were several discussions about basic typographical conventions as that one need to put spaces after the punctuation sign, never before it. Its easily explained by common sense - then your comma won't be taken automatically to the next line on its own, when editor decides that it run out of space and wraps a sentence.

It does make sense that some alphabets don't have commas (sic!), so people coming from non-Latin background will have initial difficulty getting punctuation right.

But some time ago I've heard that in Britain you actually have to put one space after any punctuation mark, but two after the full stop.  Just like this.  But still in real life it happens rarely .  Why is that, I mean two spaces?

BTW, any good internet link on English punctuation conventions?

P.S. Joel could use this rule to filter even more applicants ;-)

Vlad Gudim
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Oohhh, no!!! I've put a space between "rarely" and comma! And please don't this topic too seriously, but I guess this topic is vital for editor components developers and everyone who has to render text.

Vlad Gudim
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

My friend Jon, who's very English, says he was taught one finger after each word and two fingers at the end of each sentence!

Gwyn
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

you snuck a space between the applicants and the semi-colon too

i like i
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

The two spaces at the end of a sentence rule is very old-fashioned, and is of the manual typewriter era. Some people still assiduously keep it up in word-processor and even e-mail use, but I would say that's becoming rare now, mostly found in British secretaries who were trained in typewriter use at secretarial college. Sometimes I feel a little trapped between the typewriter users who are stuck in the 1940s and the teenage kids who think that text speech is gd 4 evrthng, but that's another matter!

Dave Hallett
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Dave Hallett is correct. I was taught to type on a manual typewriter, using two spaces after each full stop.

When I learned Word, the tutorial package made it clear that the application used "typeset-quality fonts" and that only one space was needed.

When I worked for a UN-affiliated organization, IIRC we were required to put two spaces after every full stop, regardless of font quality, and to check each draft to make sure that this rule was enforced.

Fernanda Stickpot
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Two spaces after the full stop is a hang over from the typewriter days and should NEVER be used when word-processing.

Mr Jack
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I've always put two spaces after a full stop - I suspect it would be very difficult for me to stop doing it.  Why is this such an important rule?  Does it actually cause problems?  Genuinely curious.

Konrad
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

In my native language it's not customary to use two spaces after the full stop.

I have never heard of this, but I basically "invented" it separately.

Documents are easier to read this way.

MX
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Typing two spaces after a full stop is an old convention but it's not just a typewriter convention. Printers also used to insert an extra-wide space after a full stop, and TeX still does it as well.

Personally I like that convention and continue to use it. The new creed that extra space is evil sounds stupid to me, it makes text harder to read!

Chris Nahr
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Well I got hauled up at work the other day because a letter I typed didn't have two spaces after a full stop.

I looked at her, (she is a year younger then me..24) and was dumbfounded. Do you really care? Is this for real? I have never heard of it before.

Well, I stand corrected, now I have heard of it twice.

Aussie Chick
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I guess one space is easier on my thumb - I find my thumb aches after a full day at the keyboard.

Konrad
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I never heard of this rule before I spoke to very conservative English person. I never do it myself, just because its overhead, I would be happy to any company which will exclude my CV because of this rule - I wouldn't enjoy working for them anyway.

I think, that if there a convention in English to put extra wide space after full stop (I believe that putting two spaces we just have to compensate for editor inability to put extra wide space when it needed) it has to be done automatically depending on my languages settings.

For those who can read in Russian here is good article on some typographical conventions:

http://www.artlebedev.ru/kovodstvo2/sections/97/

Is where anything for English?

Vlad Gudim
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

While it is good practice to ensure that there are two spaces after a full stop, which practice was begun during the early days of manual typewriters, it is now increasingly redundant and is of not much practical value, since modern word processing is undertaken on more advanced and highly programmable machines, which will ensure proper spacing are set as default, something like what MS Word does, as mentioned by an earlier poster, thus providing a printed copy of the document as envisaged, though it may be a curse in disguise as users of the aforesaid word processors, such as this correspondent, have the habit of taking many things for granted on those machines, thereby, in the first place, forgetting to even add the FULL STOP

Indian Developer in India
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Speaking as a conservative Englishman, we were taught at school to put one space after a comma, and two after a full stop.  Like that.

I use this convention (out of habit) in anything from comments in my code, through to my CV and letters to the Queen (!)

I don't think it's old fashioned - I'm only 24!

Richard
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Chris: You need to distinguish between (1) "You should type two spaces after a full stop" and (2) "The space after a full stop should be wider". A good typesetting system will arrange for #2 to happen without any need for you to do #1. (TeX does this, for instance.) It doesn't look to me as if Word does it.

Gareth McCaughan
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Yes, I was taught the double space after full stop as well.  As with most rules it's more of a guideline but one most people seem to keep to.  I was also taught the "finger-space" one with handwriting.   

On the other hand if it doesn't come naturally I wouldn't worry too much about it, as with a proportional font it's not glaringly obvious.  Part of the problem is that were other languages have an academy English has an argument. 

a cynic writes...
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

To state what others have already said...

Taken from "The Elements of Typographic Style" by Robert Bringhurst:

-quote-

In the nineteenth century, which was a dark and inflationary age in typography and type design, many compositors were encouraged to stuff extra space between sentences. Generations of twentieth-centruy typists were then taught to do the same, by hitting the spacebar twice after every period. Your typing as well as your typesetting will benefit from unlearning this quaint Victorian habit. As a general rule, no more than a single space is required after a period, a colon, or any other mark of punctuation. Larger spaces (e.g., en spaces) are /themselves/ punctuation.

The rule is usually altered, however, when setting classical Latin and Greek, romanized Sanskrit, phonetics or other kinds of texts in which sentences begin with lowercase letters.  In the absense of a capital, a full /en space/ (M/2) between sentences will generally be welcome.

-end quote-

That's taken from what I consider to be the first word, if not the last word, as far as typographic conventions go.

Elephant
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Interesting comment on classical Latin, I never knew its sentences start with lower case.

In Hebrew you would generally have two symbols for a letter normal one and so called "sophit" (endian).

As I was explained it comes from very old times when people would write on a stone. They didn't put spaces between words so endian variation of a letter would serve as a mark, that one word ends and next starts.

In mordern Hebrew they do put spaces, but convention is still intact: for certain letters in writting you have to use different symbol if its on the end of a word.

Vlad Gudim
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Type it how you want, and if it you prefer one space after the full stop, do a search and replace after finishing the typing.


Tuesday, February 10, 2004

As has been mentioned, the true preference is for one and a half spaces at the end of a line, and most half decent word processors will automatically kern two spaces to one and a half.

Having said that, does it really matter? I'm always baffled when people have a hairy conniption fit, violently opposing the two spaces. Relax and don't worry about it -- the world won't end if someone hits space twice.

Dennis Forbes
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Actually, the Romans didn't use spaces or lower case letters at all when writing classical Latin, to make things more interesting I guess.

Frederik Slijkerman
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

And again some of us wonder why our jobs are going overseas.

Mike
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Looks like the guy who started it IS overseas.


Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I believe that was Mike's point.


Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Mike, I don't understand what you mean, but who said its "our" jobs before we got them anyway? I thought that in market economy everyone have the right to compete for a job.

My job wasn't taken by anyone else, just because I'm doing it everyday.

Vlad Gudim
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I'm definetely "overseas" for some of you.

Vlad Gudim
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Konrad,

Get hold of a copy of 'The PC is not a typewriter' by Robin Williams, it explains things better than I can.

Essentially double-spacing produces an ugly 'river' of white-space through your prose.

Mr Jack
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I always put two spaces after a stop, although I've never typed on a typewriter.  It is quite automatic now and it takes too much conscious effort to stop; is there a way to make Word flag that as an error or something?

MR
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

These days, with proportional fonts, the two spaces after a full stop can look awfully like one.

Of course, the solution is to use FrameMaker, and turn on "smart spaces". This option will suppress the second space after a full stop so those of you who have the two-spaces thing engrained can produce quality documents every time.

David Jones
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

The issue isn't "manual" typewriter vs. computer.  It isn't even typewriter (is there any reason to consider manual typewriters apart from electric typewriters?) vs. computer.  It is a fixed pitch vs. variable pitch.  Anything that is displayed or printed in fixed pitch really should have two spaces after the period for readability.  With variable pitch it is optional, though I personally think it still aids readability.

My fingers learned to use two spaces back in typing class.  I type into a variety of systems that are a mix of fixed and variable pitch, and I certainly don't intend to type differently according to which it is.  So I use two.

RH
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

When I was learning to type (some 16 years ago) we were told that the use of two spaces was due to the fonts used on typewriters.  As the previous commenter (RH) noted, when using a fixed width font the use of two spaces at the end of a sentence aids readability.  However with proportional/variable width fonts one does not require two spaces after the period to enhance readability.

That said, two spaces or one space isn't going to tell you much about an applicant or a person.  Neither will the "Tabs to start a paragraph, or no tab but a blank line between paragraphs" issue.  Neither is specifically more preferable, both have their roles (as do the double and single spaces), but one should not confuse the two.  I am particularly unnerved when someone makes use of a blank line AND a tab to denote paragraph separations, it looks particularly hideous and disrupts the reader.

As long as it doesn't disrupt the reader it won't matter too much - just look at how long we lived in the computer world without proper en dashes.  But if one mixes styles and interrupts the reader, one is likely to be ignored.

Lou
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

In word:

Tools->Options->Spelling & Grammar->Grammar Settings

Set "Spaces between sentences" to 1.

Elephant
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

The thing that surprises me about this thread is that almost everyone uses the term "full stop".  Is this what we Americans call a "period"?  If so when you all first learned to use "dot" for the period in URLs were you being corrected from saying "www full stop yahoo full stop com"?

just curious.

BTW are there other types of stops?  Non-full? Half-full?

Oh and for you English speakers out their can anyone remind me of the real word for "pound sign" #?

name withheld out of cowardice
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

A half stop would be a comma. Or so I would think. And IIRC # is a "hash"

Indian Developer in India
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

> BTW are there other types of stops?  Non-full? Half-full?

Semicolon, comma, and so on.

> Oh and for you English speakers out their can anyone remind me of the real word for "pound sign" #?

Hash, number sign, octothorpe ... http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/28/26042.html

Christopher Wells
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

As long as we're splitting hairs, it's not really one space or two, it's the size of the space measured in M's or N's.  This is really a debate about spacing as either M/2 or M/4.

Elephant
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

"octothorpe"!  That's it.  Thanks.

name withheld out of cowardice
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I've been trying to switch from two spaces to one, and now my spacing is just a terrible mess.

Keith Wright
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

People can't actually be wasting their time talking about this!  Can they?

bob
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

What we should be discussing is the dearth of semi-colons; there just aren't enough of them around.  People should be more considerate.

Lou
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

---"Part of the problem is that where other languages have an academy, English has an argument.  "-----

Made my day!

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Probably someone already mentioned it, but the Unix text-editor 'vi' adheres to this rule when joining lines; in that case two spaces are added after a period.
Pretty annoying if you're typing in Dutch, in which it is actually not required, and frowned upon by many.

John van Leeuwen
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

# is usually called hash. 

A real pound sign looks like this  - £ and is a sort of fancy L (standing for libra  - medieval latin btw). A pound sterling (£) used to be worth a pound (lb. - libra again) of sterling silver. 

I think this topic has reached the silly stage.  Let's face it - the whole thing is a UK convention which may or may not happen elsewhere and  isn't really relevent if you use a proportional font. 

a cynic writes...
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

---"People can't actually be wasting their time talking about this!  Can they?"-----

Yes, they can. And the fact that a bunch of programmers can discuss something entirely outside their field, and intelligently, and get it right, is one of the main reasons for following this forum (and the fact that I am the only person on the thread whose job it is to know these things, and hadn't even heard of half of them is one of the main reasons for I know not what!).

The capability of being interested in the apparently irrelevant is probably a pre-requisite for intellectual competence in any field (as well as being an excellent way of avoiding work!)

Now for real time wasting how about spending years of public money discussing how many people you would need in a room on average before two of them had the same birthdays. And then you can waste even more time working out how many millions, or billions of dollars the answer to this question saved the electronics industry.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

When I was a tech writer I put a line feed after every sentence:
this made it easier to edit (move or delete lines).
It's then the job of the display software to decide how this should look on a page (by merging lines into paragraphs that fit the paper width).

Christopher Wells
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Now, how does everyone feel about hypens, em dashes and indenting the first line of a paragraph?

(Yeah, I do 2 spaces.  See!  Dunno where I picked that habit up from, no typewriter in sight.  (Type-writer?)

AJS
Tuesday, February 10, 2004


Stephen Jones:

Here here.

Except the part about birthdays.  That's a simple probability problem.  The answer has been known for a long time.  My guess is no government study required.  Of course that is a prime argument for a government study.

name withheld out of cowardice
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

En dashes (–) are primarily for ranges, mostly Time and Distance.

Em dashes (—) to set apart clauses in a sentence.

Hyphens are for hyphenating words and logical separation of units (phone numbers, etc.). Also after words used as prefixes that function as adjectices or adverbs.

Indian Developer in India
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

> Here here

Noooooooo! "Hear, hear."


Tuesday, February 10, 2004

No! No! Hear! Hear!

Indian Developer in India
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

No: “Hair -- hair!”  immediately followed by a vorpal bunny attack.

MR
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

The quintessential guide to the English language: http://owl.english.purdue.edu.  Look for the English as a Second Language links.  They describe the grammar and punctuation issues that are most often missed, especially by foreigners (and too often by natives, as well).

Jt
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

No - for the vorpal bunny it's hare, hare  -unless you have the holy hand-grenade in which it's five...sorry three.

a cynic writes...
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Jt,

thanks for the link, its in my favorits now. Please, pardon my ignorance, however just because we've already started let me ask one more question.

Many English people would often use ":-" instead of simply using colon to introduce a list of items. Is it some sort of well known rule?

Vlad Gudim
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Argh, I can't believe I goofed that up!  Oh well, it's only a model.

MR
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Vlad, generally it is used to when the next set of clauses/sentences occur on a separate paragraph or line. Inline colons do not have a dash following it.

Also check out http://www.myenglishteacher.net/

Indian Developer in India
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

---"Except the part about birthdays.  That's a simple probability problem.  The answer has been known for a long time."----

It's called the Birthday Theorem. I am quite aware it has been solved; as I pointed out it "saved" (note the past tense) the electronics industry a load of money. It was a pure mathematics question (the answer incidentally is around 27) but it was anything but trivial to solve.

The way it saved money was that it enabled the calculation of the odds of the same byte having two bits flipped. As you know free electrons, often from cosmic rays, will change the charge of a bit, so parity error checking is used. The question is what are the odds of two bits being flipped so that the parity is restored. The odds were sufficiently high for it only to be necessary to have one bit for the parity checking, and the maths used to calculate comes from the Birthday Theorem.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

:- is one of those things our English teachers told us not to do, but we all did anyway:-)  I've no idea why it's so common.

a cynic writes...
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Great thread!  I think I found my answer from JH:

variable pitch: 1 space afer period.
fixed pitch: 2 spaces.

Makes sense to me.  I've grown up with 2 spaces, since my first keyboard was a typewriter, and now I have sufficient logical reason to think otherwise.

Which is the whole reason to change: that there is a reason.  As Agent Smith would say "purpose".

hoser
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I was always taught to put two spaces after a period.  As you may have guessed from the 'period' bit, I learned this at school in the USA.  You heathens who don't like it can have my extra spaces when you pry them from my cold, dead hands.

Mr. Fancypants
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Speaking of Americans and English why is it that in America one pays a check with bills?

Indian Developer in India
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

The same reason we drive on a parkway and park in a driveway.

Mr. Fancypants
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Perhaps that's why I still can't get over the fact that you always drive on the right side of the road, while we do so on the other.

Indian Developer in India
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Yeah, we do drive on the right side of the road, whereas  people in other parts of the world drive on the wrong side.

Mr. Fancypants
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

---" you always drive on the right side of the road, while we do so on the other. "-----

If you really are in India, then that statement is only true just over half the time.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Stephen, that's not true. We always drive on the left side, though at times there is only one side, which just happens to be the left one.

Indian Developer in India
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

On a side not (you are not the first), why is my passport  doubted?

Indian Developer in India
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Hear hear.  You learn something new everyday.

name withheld out of cowardice
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I don't doubt your passport, just your handle.

But your last post settles it for me!

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

In America, one can also pay a bill with a check. (Although these days, doing it online is so much faster and easier that I haven't had to re-order checks in years. (And when I did, it was because my bank changed owners. Again.))

As far as the two spaces vs. one space issue, this is the first I've heard it characterized as a UK thing. IME, it's got nothing to do with national boundaries. Old-school typing teachers will insist on two spaces, new-school design and typography types will insist on one space, hidebound organizations such as governments will insist on two spaces because the person who sets the rules used to be a typing teacher, enthusiastic young designers who grew up with the web will confuse cause and effect and insist on one space because html eats multiple spaces anyway, and everybody else will just get confused.

Personally, I'm lazy, so I stick to one space. Then I justify it by saying it looks better that way. And then I get Word to "fix" it in other people's documents via the grammar checker.

Martha
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Before I was a software developer I was a printer and did a lot of typesetting.

The question is not fixed-pitch vs. variable-pitch fonts, or serif vs. sans-serif fonts, or typewriters vs. computers.  It has to do with justification and the "look" of the text on the page.

In typography, you put two spaces after a period (full-stop in British English) if your text is set up as "ragged right" (left side of paragraph aligns with left margin, but right side 'floats').  This gives a little extra separation between sentences and makes the text look nicer.

If you are setting the text up as fully justified (both left and right side of text line up evenly with the margins), then you put only one space after a period.  This avoids the "rivers of white" that naturally occur if you put in two spaces.  Since every space in a line is expanded to make them all equal (let's not talk about kerning, ok?), having two spaces after a period would give that expanded space twice its normal width, which looks unpleasant.

Karl Perry
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Typewritten (as opposed to computer-generated) documents tend to be "ragged right".

Christopher Wells
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

So two spaces after a full stop is used because of an old typwriting situation, when fixed pitch fonts were prevailent , that forced typed documents to be  "ragged right" and therefore makes the text look better spaced. It is no longer of much use today, thanks to the wonders of modern technology.

Guess, every single one of us was right! Would this not be a first on any web based forum?

Inidan Developer in India
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Actually what I love is that there are 74 posts in this topic, and no flaming!

Yeh, I guess full-stops and spaces are just friendly subjects.

Aussie Chick
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

---"Yeh, I guess full-stops and spaces are just friendly subjects. "-----

As opposed to semi-colons and curly braces.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I always thought "two spaces after a full stop" was to differentiate between the end of a sentance and abbreviations.

ex:

Mr. Anderson.  We meet again.

Richard P
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I love Karl Perry's and Richard P recent posts.

Karl perfectly explains in which situations double space should be used. Kudos.

Richard gave us very interesting approach, I never thought that space after period could actually help distinguish between sentence end and abbrebiation. That's really creative thinking.

Vlad Gudim
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

While we're on the topic of punctuation and in the interest of keeping htis very long thread going, does anyone else think that in English we should have the punctuation at the beginning of the sentence (I think Spanish does a variant of this).  I can't tell you how many times I've gotten to the end of a sentence and been surprised by an exclamation point!

name withheld out of cowardice
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

I find Spanish punctuation overkill. Most languages get on fine without it. And how on earth do you put !? in a Spanish sentence!?

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

"Many English people would often use ":-" instead of simply using colon to introduce a list of items. Is it some sort of well known rule?"

AFAIK it's not a rule at all, but a solecism. I think that the colon just doesn't seem like enough, leaning up against the last letter of the preceding word, so they add bits to it.

When I used to be a secretary, using an electronic typewriter, my boss told me to put a space in front of the hyphen when I hyphenated a word at the end of a line, like this, for ex -
ample, instead of the correct method of hyphe-
nation with no space, because he said it "looked better".

That's wrong, of course, and the automatic carriage return would zim over to a new line as soon as I typed the space. Every time I needed to hyphenate a word I had to devise a way of outwitting my own typewriter; it could take over half an hour and quite frequently ruined the letter in the process, forcing me to start again.

Fernanda Stickpot
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

¿ = Alt+168
¡ = Alt+173

on a Windows keyboard, at least.

Fernanda Stickpot
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

I think you're meant to be surprised by an exclaimation mark.

a cynic writes...
Wednesday, February 11, 2004


A cynic:

No way!

name withheld out of cowardice
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Shouldn't that be ¡No Way! ?

(What does slightly concern me is should there be 2 spaces after the exclaimation mark or 1 or none; or should the whole No way thing be in quotes; and whether or not we can crack the 100 post barrier, remain on topic and not get moderated to oblivion.  Answers on a postcard... )

a cynic writes...
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

In the first post, Vlad wrote:  "It does make sense that some alphabets don't have commas (sic!)..."

There is no reason for the word "sic" to be there.

Your English teacher
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Your English teacher wrote: "In the first post, Vlad wrote:  'It does make sense that some alphabets don't have commas (sic!)...'."

¿Do you prefer the sentence's full stop (or 'period' if you will) inside or outside the end-double-quote mark?

Christopher Wells
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Your English teacher,

this "sic!" was referred to Joel, who was pointing out that Indians are particularly bad with English punctuation.

So is there any punctuation in Sanskrit?

Vlad Gudim
Thursday, February 12, 2004

Dear Vlad,
                'sic' is used when you are quoting a mistake.

Example: "It does make sense that some alphabets don't have comma's (sic)."

Stephen Jones
Thursday, February 12, 2004

Stephen,

quick search on Google:

sic - so, thus /yes, that is so, that is right.
(http://latin.realdictionary.com/Latin/sic.asp)

Sic- latin:"sic" which means (thus).
(http://users.erols.com/amato1/AC/latin.html)

I'd usually use "sic" to point out on importance of previous thought, but nothing to do with mistakes (sic). Am I right? :-)

Vlad Gudim
Thursday, February 12, 2004

According to the New SOED
"Used or spelt as written. Used parenthetically after a quoted word etc. to call attention to an anomalous or erroneous form or prevent the supposition of misquotation. L19."

Merriam Webster says the sense is that you take what comes before exaclty as written; it does not mention errors.

"The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition.  2002.
sic:  A Latin word for “thus,” used to indicate that an apparent error is part of quoted material and not an editorial mistake: “The learned geographer asserts that ‘the capital of the United States is Washingtown [sic].’”

Kenneth G. Wilson (1923–).  The Columbia Guide to Standard American English.  1993.
sic (adv.):  Americans pronounce this Latin word (meaning “thus”) to rhyme with either sick or seek, and use it mainly to dissociate themselves from errors in a text they’re quoting. It isn’t an abbreviation, so it requires no period, and it usually appears in square brackets following a misspelling or misuse of a word, in order to show that the error is in the original.

  The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition.  2000.
sic1
PRONUNCIATION:  sk
ADVERB: Thus; so. Used to indicate that a quoted passage, especially one containing an error or unconventional spelling, has been retained in its original form or written intentionally.

So, yes, you are wrong.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, February 12, 2004

Stethen,

may I use "sic" in this case in "Merriam Webster's" sence? :-)

Vlad Gudim
Friday, February 13, 2004

http://members.aol.com/kipler/grammar.html

The Elements of Phyle - a fantastic site about grammar and spelling, written specifically to X-Files fans who wrote particularly bad fiction. Scroll past the frist page or so to get on to the actual goodness. 'They' should make EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THE PLANET read this site!... I'm not sure who 'they' are, but I bet it's the government!

Oh, and the full stop (or period - whatever) goes AFTER the closing bracket (like this). This happens because the parenthesised sentence portion is still part of the original sentence.

RodeoClown
Sunday, February 15, 2004

I am English and was always taught one finger after each word and two fingers after a full stop.  It may be told to be old fashioned but is it wrong in doing so?

Lorna
Monday, February 16, 2004

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