I couldn’t think of a clever but appropriate title using the word “period”

Hello readers.

I am back. I know you missed me while I was away, and my vacation has left me well rested and ready to make it up to you. Over the last couple weeks, my neglect allowed the RSS feed to fill up with a plethora of potential blog topics. But first a quick grammar lesson.

During my vacation, I did occasionally peek into the blogosphere. One of those peeks cleared up something for me that I had always wondered about and that experts say will make my processed words more readable (only technically; if you think I suck, this probably will not effect any change on that front). Jay Shepherd pointed out recently on ATL that leaving two spaces after a sentence-ending period is a relic of the days of yore when typing was done on an ancient machine known as a typewriter. I happen to be just old enough to have learned to type on such a machine. (We also had to learn handwriting before that. I swear. Look it up.) Thus, my habit is to hit the space bar twice after finishing a sentence. I have been quite conscious of it while writing this particular post, and I want to get it right going forward. It will be a difficult 20-plus-year-old habit to break, but Jay is correct that “it matters.” Legal professionals (and really anyone who writes for a living) should take care to be grammatically correct, even if they have to take the time to look up the answer (when no one is looking, of course).

Throughout my academic career and during the last year of blogging and legal drafting, I have been guilty of this grammatical non-conformity, but I can admit when I have been wrong (about punctuation at least). I will try to get it right from now on, which for a while will cost me the extra time for the superfluous space and the correcting backspace. Two keystrokes per sentence is a price I am willing to pay to make my writing a little easier on the eyes and to not look stupid to those who would notice. It’s all about the readers.

You’re welcome.

And now that I have fixed that issue, I can move on to more substantive and important topics (like blowup dolls and stuff).

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3 responses to “I couldn’t think of a clever but appropriate title using the word “period”

  • Kristi

    Although I read the ATB article, the single space will bug me. Thank you for starting this Tuesday off right.

  • Brian

    I refuse to do the single spacing thing. I don’t believe that it is “grammatically correct.” My typing teacher would lose her shit if she heard about this. I, like you, had to take a class on typing (AND HANDWRITING!). I will never succumb to the single spacers, except on twitter where they force it upon you.

  • Ashley

    After reading your blog post, I also read the ATL article. I agree with the point–we as lawyers, or lawyers-to-be, should take greater care when it comes to legal writing. Is it cute to cite the period problem as an example of our carelessness? Sure. Is it helpful? At best, maybe. Think about it; if I learned to use two spaces post period, didn’t the judge reading my motion learn the same thing? Will she really notice? If so, then my writing must be really boring, which is a far bigger issue than improper spacing. In my short time as a lawyer-in-training, the part of legal writing that concerns me most is misuse of cases. If you want to improve your legal writing, make sure you use a case properly. Surely a judge will notice that before she picks up on a spacing issue. (For the sake of snark, I used two spaces between each sentence, I am sure.)

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