my boss is infesting our office with fruit flies, my work funds the office BBQs, and more

I’m on vacation. Here are some past letters that I’m making new again, rather than leaving them to wilt in the archives.

1. My boss is infesting our office with fruit flies

I work for a corporation with locations in 63 different cities in the U.S., but I am part of a two-person department. My office and my boss’s office are next to each other, with a door between them, but we do each have our own entrance door.

Our offices have become ground zero for a fruit fly infestation! He likes to have apples, grapes, bananas, etc. at his desk for snacks … which means there are usually a few apples or bananas on a shelf in his office. And remnants in his trash can.

I believe these are the source of the fruit flies, especially since they seem to appear nowhere else aside from our offices. It is 8:30 a.m., I have been at work for only an hour, and have so far killed 7 fruit flies. While I do keep snacks in my storage area, I do not keep fresh fruit or juices.

How can I handle this situation with a boss who is already an avid over sharer with a history of becoming defensive whenever I have tried to politely remove myself from his personal stories (such as health issues for himself or his wife, family tales, whining and griping about tasks assigned from above) and general negativity towards learning new skills or tasks?

Step one is always to politely point the problem out to the other person.

In this case, that would sound like this: “Bob, I’ve noticed we’re getting an infestation of fruit flies. I think they’re being attracted by the fruit on your desk and in the trash.”

Then, if your boss isn’t the type to figure out how to resolve problems of his own making, you can add a suggestion of what to do: “I think it would help to keep the fruit locked in a drawer and to throw away any leftovers down the hall.”

That’s really the only way to handle this. I understand the hope that there’s some easier option than just being straightforward, particularly with someone with a track record of defensiveness. But with any annoying behavior that you want someone to stop — whether it’s loud gum-chewing, radio blasting, or taking all calls on speaker phone — you’ve got to just say it. Say it nicely, of course — you don’t need to accuse him of being a filthy slob — but you do need to say it if you want the problem to go away.


Read an update to this letter here.

2. My boss is advertising my job because I got sick before some pre-approved vacation time

A few months ago, I decided to make a big career move and change industries. I have been at my new job as an administrative assistant for just over two months. When I was offered this position, I made sure to notify my new boss of two upcoming trips that would require time off. When I officially accepted the job, my new boss had me write the two sets of dates on the calendar and wrote “approved” next to them. The Friday before my two days off (I was taking off Monday/Tuesday for an out-of-town wedding) I came down with a bad bug. I came into work feeling a little off, and slowly got worse as the morning went on. Due to my coughing and sneezing, my colleagues requested that I go home to ensure they did not catch my bug. After speaking with my boss, I was released for the day to go get well. Before I left, I reminded my boss that I would be out Monday and Tuesday and looked forward to seeing him Wednesday.

When I returned to work on Wednesday, I found a sent email (everyone in my office shares one email account) from my boss to our advertising partner asking to place an ad in the paper for an office admin (my job). I asked my colleagues if we were expanding the size of the staff and they said that due to my being sick and then taking two days of for my vacation, my boss didn’t feel like I was dedicated and was going to start looking “just in case.” I haven’t spoken to my boss because he is now out of town for the week. I have no idea how to address this situation when he returns. I am a good employee, I don’t have attendance issues, I didn’t ask to be sent home sick and he approved my vacation time almost three months ago when I was initially offered the position. My other already approved trip is for two weeks next month and I am worried for my job security. What is the best course of action here?

That is … not normal. Your boss decided to start looking “just in case” because you got sick and also had pre-scheduled vacation time? The only way this makes even a little sense is if you had already been out a lot in these first two months, which could give him reason to worry about your reliability. But since you noted that’s not the case, have there been any other signs that your boss is unreasonable or prone to leaping to wrong conclusions?

In any case, yes, talk to your boss as soon as he returns. Say something like this: “Do you have concerns about my reliability or commitment to the job? I hope I’ve shown a strong work ethic since I started, and I was alarmed to hear you’re advertising my position in case I don’t work out. Did I do something to cause that?” If he implies it’s a lot of time to miss when you’re new to the job, you can say, “When you offered me the job, I had two trips already scheduled, and I made sure to confirm with you that those would be okay before accepting the offer. And of course I couldn’t control the timing of when I got ill — and it was coworkers who asked me to go home so they didn’t get sick. Other than that, I haven’t missed any days. I take reliability very seriously. But I also have the two weeks off next month that you okayed when you offered me the position. I don’t want that to cause you to start looking for someone else to do my job.”

It’s hard to know how this is going to go — did he just forget that time was pre-approved? Is this a misunderstanding of some sort? Or is he wildly unfair and unreasonable? But having this conversation will get you a lot more data so you can figure out how to proceed.


3. My coworkers rely on my work to fund our barbecues

I work for a smallish company, but we have two office locations. My office location also has a warehouse, which I run. Two years ago, the boss of my office came up with the idea of an office barbecue in the summer for everyone, which my boss paid for with the company card. He said it was for office morale.

The first year was great, and we had several that summer. Last year, not so much: we only had two barbecues. The first was because a coworker was leaving, and the boss once again paid for it. After several weeks, the boss approached me and said that the next barbecue won’t happen until I scrap the old batteries in the warehouse for money. He said that the money from the scrapped batteries would go towards the cost of the barbecue. Which I did, but I was only able to get up enough money for one barbecue last summer.

My concern is that he will have the same expectation of me this year too. It takes me a year to get up enough batteries to scrap for money and this is a minuscule portion of my overall job.

Several of my coworkers know that this was the case last year and are already hinting. It is causing a great deal of worry and stress for me because whether or not all my coworkers get this summertime treat depends on how well I recover these batteries. I am also worried about how to this will impact my relationship with coworkers because they could begrudge me not working harder. I have toyed with the idea of putting my own money towards the barbecues but I really cannot afford to. I would like to speak to my boss, but he is rarely available or present. Is this an unfair expectation to put on me or am I being silly?

It’s not inherently unreasonable to say “we’ll use the money from scrapping batteries to fund summer barbecues, so how many we do depends on how much money that produces.” But yeah, it’s not really fair to frame it as “whether or not we have barbecues hinges on how well Jane handles the batteries.”

Don’t put your own money toward the barbecues in an attempt to relieve the pressure! Just be straightforward with your coworkers: “I only have a limited amount of time to spend on scrapping the batteries and I have a bunch of higher priorities I need to deal with first, so I can’t make any promises.”

You should also say a version of that to your boss: “I only have a limited amount of time to spend on scrapping the batteries and most of my time needs to go to X and Y, so I want to make sure you know that the batteries might not be a good solution for funding the barbecues. Last year I barely scraped together enough for one so if we want more than that, we’ll need a different solution.”


4. Will I be judged for using two spaces after a period?

I have always used two spaces after sentence ending punctuation. I know the norm is now to use only one, but habits are hard to break. I have read several articles recently that say this can make you look old and outdated, like a relic from the typewriter era.

What is your take? Personally, I am in my late 20s and am otherwise extremely confident with my work/email writing style. Do you think anyone is judging this minute detail? I would be interested to hear what your readers have to say about it.

No one is judging you on it because so many people still do it, but it’s outdated and if you’re someone who cares about such details, you should train yourself out of it.

(And because I’m bracing for an outcry: It’s true that lots of us, including me, were taught to put two spaces after a period in our seventh grade typing classes. But the practice came from typewriters, which used monospaced type, meaning that each letter took up the same amount of space. Double spaces after a period were used to give a visual pause so you could see that the sentence had ended. Now that we have computers with proportional fonts, a single space after a period is the rule and has been for a while. Change with the times! More here.)


5. Behind the scenes of Ask a Manager

As an IT professional, I’ve been supremely impressed with how well your site seems to be organized. You frequently link to previous advice in the context of answering a question, keep up with updates from previous questions, and recommend relevant other answers at the end of some posts. Could you pull back the curtain a little bit about how you keep things organized? Do you have staff/editors who do some of this for you? Do you have algorithms built into your site that help out? It’s all fascinating to me, and I think other readers would appreciate knowing more about how much work goes into producing the amount of content that you publish every week.

(This is a new question, not one from the archives, just because I felt like including it.)

I have the help of an excellent tech person for keeping everything working, fixing things when they break, and building new technical features (all of which has become increasingly complicated as the site has grown and traffic has increased), which involves MySQL, PHP, nginx, Apache, and other things I don’t understand. The “you may also like” list of related posts at the end of every column is automatically generated by WordPress, although I have the ability to choose what appears there if I want.

Beyond that, it’s just me. I used to have an encyclopedic memory for every post I’d ever written, which made it easy to link to previous relevant stuff, but that abandoned me several thousand posts ago (there are now 13,000+ posts in the archives and I regularly find things I forgot I wrote).

Talking about how the site functions behind the scenes is endlessly interesting to me, so if there’s interest in a Q&A on it, I’d be glad to do one soon — let me know in the comments if so!

{ 413 comments… read them below }

  1. PollyQ*

    Just in case anyone needs this tip: a dish of vinegar with a drop of any kind of soap will attract & kills fruit flies remarkably well. Gross to look at, but so very effective.

    1. Caramel & Cheddar*

      +1 I’ve used apple cider vinegar for this purpose. Put some in a bowl, put a piece of cling wrap across the top tightly and then poke holes in it. This stops any of the flies who get into the bowl from flying out again.

      1. Eh, Steve!*

        Same, though I found covering it with plastic didn’t work. The fruit flies I had didn’t want to go through the holes. They also didn’t want to go into a deep dish or jar. When I used a tiny shallow dish (that holds maybe a tablespoon or so) they went right for it.

        1. Miette*

          I do this too-a shallow dish/bowl, with a chunk of lemon to attract the little b*stards, cover with plastic wrap and poke small holes in with a fork. The lemon works better than vinegar alone FWIW.

      1. Anonymous internet tipster*

        I use a different version I found online. Get a single serving pop/soda/water type bottle with a narrower neck and wash it out. Pour about an inch of apple cider vinegar in the bottom. Put a drop of dish soap on your finger and spread it around the inside of the spout of the bottle. Make a paper funnel with a tiny hole at the bottom and tape it to the bottle on the outside so there are no gaps.

        There are tutorials online for different versions of fruit fly traps, this is the one I use.

        1. VaguelySpecific*

          +1 this is the method we used when I used to work in an office that was prone to fruit fly invasions.

          You can also add a banana to the apple cider vinegar for extra bait but it’s worked fine for me without it.

        2. JustaTech*

          I’ve done this with just a drinking glass at home, though I usually dilute the vinegar in water because otherwise I find the smell pretty strong.

          (The soap breaks the surface tension on the water so the flies actually drown rather than just standing there.)

    2. I am Emily's failing memory*

      These traps are very effective at killing adult flies, however be aware they do nothing to stop the flies from laying 1,000 eggs before they die, so they will not by themselves eliminate an infestation. With any insect infestation if you want to get rid of it, the target needs to be on eggs and larvae to stop the breeding cycle – either using treatments that kill eggs and larvae, or denying the insect whatever environmental conditions it needs in order to lay viable eggs.

      In the case of fruit flies, they lay their eggs in the soft parts of either bruised or overripe fruit, which is why LW ultimately needs to have the boss agree to start keeping fruit in a drawer or other sealed container. If the fruit flies continue to lay eggs in his fruit no amount of adult fly traps will make much difference.

      It might also help motivate him if she points out that a persistent fruit fly population means they’re breeding in the office, which might be happening entirely in the rotting fruit scraps in the trash, but also means he may well be eating fruit fly eggs in his fresh fruit, too. The eggs are very small, as you would imagine, so they’d be easy to miss.

      1. Marna+Nightingale*

        I am more of a prevention fan. You know those glass platter-and-dome things for cake? They make excellent fruit “bowls”.

        Add a compost bag with a binder clip or a plastic bag that zips shut for the waste, and your fruit flies are off to greener pastures.

        1. Cmdrshpard*

          I recently bough a small floor/tabletop/over the door hook/ or sticky pad with hook for the wall compost can with a lid, and bags made to be compostable.

          They work well together to keep food waste smells trapped inside. Depending on what and how much you have it can smell bad when you open it to throw something away but the smell disappears quickly. When it is closed it does not smell.

          It was a small 2.4 gallon trashcan. We use it in our kitchen and lasts about 1 week or so depending on how much we are home.

          I would imagine in an office it would easily last a week if it is just food scrap, but maybe less if you add other things.

      2. Beth*

        It’s almost a pity that the LW never got the opportunity to point out that her boss was eating fruit fly eggs in his “fresh” fruit. That’s real revenge fantasy material there.

      3. NotMy(Fancy)RealName*

        If you place the trap close enough to the source to catch the adults as they emerge (before they breed!) and keep it there through all of the eggs hatching you can break the life cycle and end the infestation. I’ve done it myself because I had an infestation in a fish tank filter. This only works if you don’t have someone bringing in more infested material though.

      4. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

        “keeping fruit in a drawer” I don’t understand how a (locked) drawer is going to stop fruit flies. They can’t open the drawer, sure, but unless it is hermetically sealed, they can just fly or crawl in and out.

        1. I+went+to+school+with+only+1+Jennifer*

          Right? But honestly the biggest problem is probably the detritus in his trash can.

    3. Lily Rowan*

      Agreed, which makes me laugh when I think about the expression “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” I catch plenty of flies with vinegar!

    4. Dinwar*

      I’ve used a similar setup to help deal with fleas. We have dogs, and despite our best efforts one had an issue with them at one point. Water plus dish soap in a pan on the floor with a light over it attracts the fleas and kills them.

      As someone else mentioned they won’t end an infestation. Insects are generally r-selected–breed fast, breed lots, and tolerate a huge infant mortality. This means that you need some way to get rid of the eggs. But it DOES help, both with eliminating adults (fewer adults means fewer eggs, after all) and for evaluating the efficacy of various additional methods.

    5. Sloanicota*

      Keep in mind, those little flies that live in office plants are not fruit flies, although they are popularly referred to that way, and it’s the continually damp soil that allows them to spread – the cure is to let the plant dry out more thoroughly (plants generally like this in fact).

    6. Lucy P*

      Thank you all for the fruit fly suggestions. We get them from time to time in the office because of people who love fresh fruit and then throw the peels/skins into their office trash cans. (We only have garbage pickup once a week).

      Anyone have tips for ants? The same fruits tend to attract ants in our office.

      1. Citra*

        Borax. Sprinkle it around trash cans, down ant trails, across thresholds…basically anywhere. It kills the ants, is non-toxic to humans and pets (generally; nobody should be eating spoonfuls of it, but trace amounts won’t hurt anything), and has no smell. Ants carry it back to their nests and it kills the whole colony.

        Bonus: it also kills roaches, fleas, and other bugs, and a big box of it is only like $5 in the laundry section of the grocery store.

        1. ThursdaysGeek*

          I mix borax half and half with powdered sugar – the sugar attracts the ants, the borax kills them.

    7. Cyndi*

      I used to do plastic cup, apple cider vinegar+a drop of soap, plastic wrap over the top with holes punched in, and it worked pretty well–and then I forgot a bottle of cheap fake pancake syrup open on the counter and discovered it works even better with zero effort. It’s really sweet, really sticky, and the tiny narrow nozzle stops them getting out–and it’s barely even food (I say this as someone who puts it on things regularly) so it doesn’t feel like waste.

    8. Fruit Fly Pie*

      This works fantastically if you know the source and only need to get rid of the adults (for me, it was a rotting peach). If you’ve got a chronic problem you need to do a lot more.

      But yeah, if you get rid of the 1 rotten peach and then put out the dish full of soapy vinegar water, like magic they disappear. It even works on mosquitoes, though not nearly as well.

  2. She-Hulk, Attorney at Law in training*

    Yes please on the Q&A about site functions! I’d be interested in hearing how comment moderation works, whether you re-index questions (e.g., to add more or different tags) as new trends in questions come up, whether there’s anything structural about the site you put in place at the beginning that you changed as the audience grew or that you wish you could change but haven’t, how far in advance you queue posts… or anything else under the hood!

      1. Zoe*

        Definitely! Presumably this site is a full time job now, so I always wonder how Alison makes sure that her advice is still relevant? (To clarify: Alison’s advice always seems very relevant and helpful, I’m wondering how she manages it, if she’s not working in an office herself).

      2. V*

        Q&A: yes please! I’ve been following the site for years and we only rarely get a glimpse into the person behind it all. And these days, multiple people I guess. :)

      1. Anon in Aotearoa*

        I’m interested in that too! And what makes for a good email – do you find that you like ones that you won’t have to edit much for clarity? How do you choose which ones to answer?

    1. Aphrodite*

      Absolutely! Even though I probably won’t understand most of it I would love to know more about the behind-the-scenes details. Maybe you could also include Q&As on why or how you choose letters, letters that especially touch or anger you, how you feel seeing your site grow. and more. Or perhaps those are topics best done separately.

    2. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Yes! It would make my geek heart so happy :)

      (Also, I’ve been a DBA and information storage and retrieval is kinda my thing)

    3. star*

      Yes please to the Q&A! I’d love to know how you balance topics or whether you just take questions as they come. Also how you edit questions whilst keeping true to what letter writers are asking.

      1. Miss Muffet*

        I would also love a Q&A/behind the scenes! How much time do you spend on this site? How much live (moderating, for instance) vs setting up posts in advance, and how much time picking and answering questions?

      1. JLG*

        One more vote for Q+A. Curious about how you’re so good at getting people to write back with updates!

    4. Up and Away*

      I would be so interested in reading more about the “behind the scenes” operations of this site. I’ve been a reader/commenter since around 2012, and have gotten so much good advice from both Alison and the commenters. Thanks for what you do, it’s invaluable!

    5. Mimmy*

      Adding my voice to the chorus of yeses! I don’t comment quite as often as I used to, but I still check the site almost daily and love the down-to-earth advice and community.

    6. Sloanicota*

      The comment moderation is the part that I just don’t understand how she does it. She appears so often in the comments and really engages, and I don’t see how that can possibly scale! Very few blogs have as many updates per day as Alison *and then* she’s also all over the comments with no admin support? No wonder she was successful in the work world. Twitter/FB should have hired her from the get-go!

    7. I always forget my usernames*

      Chiming in to say I would LOVE a Q&A about your work on this site! I am so in awe of your knowledge of workplace law and norms, and as someone who left my field but still wants to keep up on the research, I would love to know your strategies for staying up-to-date as a consultant.

    8. Mbarr*

      THIS! I’ve always been interested about the behind the scenes of the blog. I’d especially love to learn about stats – how many emails do you receive weekly, who are the types of readers, where are the readers from, etc.

    9. Polly Sprocket*

      +1, I have always been curious about how you keep things organized & running!! I would LOVE a Q&A

  3. Fake McCoy*

    Please allow me to debut my hit country single, “Single Space, My Ass (I Won’t Single Space)”

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        This is funny because the people who use double space are also the ones who use ellipses inappropriately haha
        (I get how you’re using them here it just struck me funny)

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Next on the hit parade, from “A Chorus Line” the classic number: “One!”

      1. ecnaseener*

        One, after punctuation, every little phrase you type
        One, skip the combination, get on board with this hype!
        One space and suddenly no other style will do
        You know you’ll never be modern if you use two!

        1. Up and Away*

          LOL, points for creativity! I honestly don’t think I can stop with the two spaces though, it’s so ingrained in me. I took typing class when I was 16 and I’m in my 50s now!

          1. Loredena*

            Same! I honestly prefer the look for reading too, but mostly it’s automatic after 40 odd years of it.

          2. No lizards allowed*

            Same here, although I find that I (and my supervisees) aren’t consistent, and a mix of one space and two spaces looks much worse than either strategy. When I edit documents in Word, I just use find/ replace to change two spaces to one space. Problem solved.

            1. nona*

              You can also use the Word Grammer settings to use single or double space as a default and give you the squiggly lines when you have something other than the default. Instead of using find/replace. If you want.

            2. The Rural Juror*

              Same. Folks in my company aren’t consistent, so it’s on my checklist when editing to replace them all with single space. We use a specific font in all branded documents, and it’s particularly visible with that font when they’re inconsistent!

            1. Pennyworth*

              I was a dyed-in-the-wool two spacer and I am pleased to report that two spaces now look weird to me. As you say, it can be done

          3. Ama*

            What’s funny is I’ve been reading this site so long I remember the original version of this letter and it was actually the reasoning Alison explains that finally made me break my habit of double spacing when I typed (also that at the time I was doing a lot of desktop publishing professionally and it was a lot clearer in a two column magazine style set up that double spaces after a period messed looked weird).

          4. Kuddel Daddeldu*

            In, e.g., Word (and the other Microsoft Office programs), two spaces are now (usually) marked as an error.
            You can set this behaviour under File/Options/Proofing/Writing Style(Grammar&Refinements)/Settings/Punctuation Conventions/Space between Sentences. (There, you could also switch to “two” (shudder) if your organization’s style guide is still stuck in the ages of my beloved 1932-vintage typewriter.

          5. Daisy*

            I’m in my 50s also and I always used two spaces – until I got a job where I spend all day formatting papers. I eventually trained myself out of two spaces. It wasn’t easy.

          6. JustaTech*

            I’m impressed by everyone who learned this in typing class: I learned it when I learned to write in 1st grade – one finger between words, 2 fingers between sentences.

            It’s a habit I’ll break whenever anyone asks me to, and if I’m editing a document that’s all 1 space I make sure to stick with the style, but otherwise I’m going to save my limited brain space for other things, like learning that emojis can have two very different meanings.

          7. Jade Rabbit*

            I learnt to type in the 1970s. I stopped doing the double space a few decades ago. It’s ugly, especially with proportional spacing. It’s an easy habit to break, if you want to.

    2. to varying degrees*

      Yeah, I’ll buy that single.
      Of all the things I’m going to be concerned about people having an issue with me double spacing after punctuation is not one of them. Judge me all you want, I’m judging that people care that much.

      1. Marna+Nightingale*

        Speaking as an editor, we’re basically never judging you anyway.

        We’ve spent years of our lives learning how to do this job, we know it’s hard!

        You get paid to know stuff, we get paid to know all the stuff needed to make sure your stuff is presented as well as possible.

        Having a lot of clients who think every query and correction is a judgment is why I joke about how editing was originally considered a branch of psychology.

        1. Not A Raccoon Keeper*

          Speaking as not-an-Editor, but as someone who edits a lot of other peoples’ work, I am judging! However, more than judging peoples’ grammar/typing choices, I am judging peoples cognitive inflexibility around adapting to current processes (not “it’s hard to change” but the “I refuse to change from this thing I learned that hasn’t been relevant for 30+ years” group).

    3. Everything Bagel*

      At one point I tried to train myself out of it, but it’s like muscle memory for me to hit the spacebar twice at the end of a sentence. When I was trying to train myself out of it I felt like I was spending so much time going back and removing spaces here and there in an email that it took longer to do that then to just carry on with two spaces. After reading this post I’m considering trying again, but I’m not sure I’ll be successful.

      1. Jackalope*

        For anyone who does want to train themselves out of it (and I don’t really care what people do with their personal punctuation lives, but since someone mentioned wanting to…), here is an idea that I got from Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor that I’ve found effective in my own life. We often tend to be hard on ourselves when we’re trying to learn something new or break an old habit, but that just focuses all of our energy on the mistakes. She recommends (and I have tried and found that it really helps) to only pay attention to your successes. You double space? It never happened and doesn’t exist. You single space? Give yourself some sort of brief praise or small reward (“Good job, Jackalope!” Or, “That’s right!” Something small that you can just say quickly). It focuses your mind on what you actually want to be doing, and makes it more likely that you’ll learn the new thing.

        This is really useful if you’re trying to practice anything that you’re struggling with and want to get right. For example, I used it when I was playing an instrument and had a passage that I kept messing up. Commenting only when I got it right and ignoring my mistakes helped me learn it SO much faster; I was pleasantly surprised.

      2. Le Sigh*

        Not sure if you’ve tried this, but it might also work to just type as you normally would, but the do a Ctrl F to search for double spaces and replace with a single. I’m often submitted docs that were pulled together from multiple people, and people are all over the map with their spacing — so a quick Ctrl F usually fixes the issue in about 30 seconds.

    4. What She Said*

      My boss still uses double space. Good thing Word and Google Docs have a lovely “replace all” function so I can quickly edit her documents before sending out. The double spaces drive me nuts! Y’all need to give up your double spaces. Hahaha!

      1. mlem*

        I tried. I found documents *online* far less readable, because many online fonts 1) don’t actually put any more space after a period than after anything else and 2) aren’t great at making periods and commas distinct from one another. Everything starts reading like paragraph-long run-on sentences. Double spaces forever!

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          +1. Two decades working in legal where the Oxford comma matters means it’s just part of my typing process. It’s in our style guide as required.

          Double-spacing after periods is also still the default in most documents in the legal industry. A lot of senior partners feel pretty strongly about it, so the single-space is not universally accepted yet. The last place I worked had a formatting cleanup tool that would let you set the post-period spacing and make it consistent throughout in about 10 seconds.

      2. Cheshire Cat*

        I’ve mostly stopped using double spaces, but single spaces can be harder to read. I have a couple of relatives with low vision and they really need the second space to tell that a sentence is ending.

  4. nnn*

    If two spaces after the period was drilled into you so effectively it lives in your fingers despite your best efforts, there are engineering solutions!

    1. Search and replace two spaces to one space once you’ve finished writing your document.
    2. Set up an autocorrect to change two spaces to one space (or a period, question mark or exclamation mark followed by two spaces to a period, question mark or exclamation mark followed by one space.)

    1. John Smith*

      I’m with Fake Mcoy on this. Whilst it’s not forbidden to use double spaces in ny organisation, templates are set to single spacing, so I’ve written a macro to change it to double. Single spacing looks… ick. We’ll be doing away with empty lines after a paragraph next….

      1. The Graphic Designer*

        As graphic designer, my only request is that you use single spaces if you’re evwr writing copy that a designer is going to have to use in a design (say a report, etc) because it’s a pain having to hunt down and change all the double spaces that get hidden, especially if a document gets changed by multiple people who don’t agree on double vs single space!

        1. Marna+Nightingale*

          As an editor who sees basically everything before it goes to design, aside from single spaces, what else in terms of formatting do you really really want gone?

          I strip non-breaking spaces fairly ruthlessly, anything else?

          1. BorisTheGrump*

            As a lawyer I’m over here adding non-breaking spaces into all of my briefs, thanks to 1L bluebook bullies

      2. I edit everything*

        I won’t judge you for using two spaces, but the first thing I’ll do when I edit your writing is search and replace two spaces for one. Repeatedly. Because sometimes two accidentally becomes three, etc.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          And remember wherever you fall on this divide, use tab settings to invent not extra spaces!

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            Invent ==> indent.
            (Dratted new phone has a totally different way to mess me up…..the autocorrect algorithm makes multiple changes as I keep typing.)

            1. PhyllisB*

              All this discussion of spacing reminds me of when I went back to college in the 90’s. We had a computer lab, but most papers were still done on a typewriter.
              I had a classmate who had never learned to type, and asked me to type her speech for a public speaking class. I secured permission from the instructor (I had him years earlier and knew he didn’t like students getting outside help.) So off I went to the library to type up the paper. This was in the days when we were taught to indent paragraphs five spaces. I didn’t realize this typewriter was malfunctioning and indented SIX spaces.
              The instructor ran me down later to tell me I almost got her in trouble for indenting too many spaces. (Yes, he counted.) He didn’t penalize her for it because he knew she hadn’t typed it.
              I couldn’t believe he would check for something so minor.

              1. JustaTech*

                That’s shockingly persnickity. And how would you even do that on a printed piece of paper? With a ruler?

                In high school I knew a guy who thought that “double space” meant “two spaces before a new sentence” and not “double the space between lines” and wow was he mad when he realized how much more writing he’d done than the rest of us. And then in college I knew a guy who thought that everyone who did the “two spaces” thing was *cheating* because we were “double spacing” our homework to make it look longer. Dude, unless your sentences are super short those extra spaces don’t add up to anything over a 5 page paper.

          2. Observer*

            Actually, use INDENT to indent for anything but a first line indent. If you want to indent a block of text, the indent feature is the only sane way to do it.

            However, for first line indent and any time you are trying to line something up that’s not in an actual table, YES, please use indent. Spaces wind up being a pain even with mono-spaced fonts. With proportional fonts being the norm and default in most places using spaces is a recipe for disaster.

        2. PostalMixup*

          I had a supervisor that I had to use find & replace ALL over for. When he ended a sentence, he’d hit the space bar twice. Fine, whatever. But if he had to stop and think before he wrote the next sentence, he’d hit the space bar twice before he started writing again. And then if he deleted the sentence to re-write it, he’s hit the space bar twice before he started re-writing. His typing looked like he was randomly hitting TAB!

      3. Beth Jacobs*

        Well, an empty line after a paragraph shouldn’t be done through double enter these days. Instead, set the space after a paragraph to 6 pts through formatting styles.

          1. SnowyRose*

            Word makes it so easy! The styles are right there!

            Ugh, before we finally contracted with a design firm for our publications, I used to do a lot of our low level graphic and publication design. I would get documents all the time that had no consistency in styles; in one document a level 2 heading could be bold but same size and color font as the body text one time, larger font and a different color the next time, or a completely different font in the third case. Also, god forbid we use any commonly used formatting style (APA, MLA, etc.) so I could maybe figure it out that way.

            I’m in awe of the patience our design folks have.

            1. JustaTech*

              The styles are right there, and they are awesome until your template goes completely mad and does something truly terrible and bizarre.
              Like eliminating the second level style if you paste a table. Just to give a hyper-specific example.

              As a report writer all I want is a nice, stable template to use so I can concentrate on the text of the document and still have it come out legible. There’s nothing quite like having to spend an afternoon as the Word Whisperer trying to salvage a document where the formatting’s gone wonky and your coworker (or boss) is about to lose their mind over it.

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          THANK YOU. Document creation/formatting with arcane rules is a big part of my team’s job. People who use WYSIWYG formatting rather than the built-in templates and styles we have so lovingly built, deployed, and trained on drive me insane. You want to know why your TOC builder isn’t working at 11:30 with 29 minutes to go to filing deadline? Because all your “headings” are just bolded normal font. Rather than the Heading 1 that is set up right at the top of the ribbon and stylized how the court wants it.

    2. Emmy Noether*

      I do the search + replace for long texts. I don’t do two spaces after periods (and I’ve never been taught this or encountered someone who does it systematically – is this an american thing?). I do it because accidental double spaces do happen, and they look untidy.

      I know some people who write German with pre-reform spelling (reform was mid-90s). I get why they do it, old habits die hard. But when I get their documents I start by running spellcheck over them because I’m the type of person that notices that stuff and I flinch at every “daß”.

      1. TechWorker*

        I’m British and my mum taught me to do it (or rather she mentioned it when I was a kid learning to use a computer and I just started doing it). It’s in my fingers now and it’s probably not going away :p
        (Also noticed I do it when I type on here on my phone too lol)

        (If I was writing things for public consumption that might be different, but the type of writing I do at work literally no one cares).

        1. Emmy Noether*

          So, I tried to research this a bit and it seems to be more an English-language thing? Or at least to have stuck around longer in English? Both US and UK. Fascinating. I wonder how that happened.

          1. Myrin*

            Yeah, I’ve definitely never encountered this, either (although thinking about it, I now seem to remember my mum, who learned typing in the 70s, had some weird quirk around spaces after a period but IDK if it was this or something else). Funnily enough, I have typed WWI documents in front of me right now and looking at them, they either have no space after a period at all (ick!), what decidedly looks like one space, or they just put everything in one long sentence and then start a new paragraph at the end of it (obviously the best and most German solution).

            1. Emmy Noether*

              Definitely the most German solution! Who needs periods when they can use endless commas? ;-)

          2. Indisch blau*

            American ex-pat in Germany here. I learned to type in the US in the late 70s putting two spaces after the punctuation at the end of a sentence. Was irritated to learn in Germany in the early 80s that it wasn’t done here. I was able to teach my fingers new typing habits – both single spaces at the end of a sentence and the new German spelling. I’ve also mastered the German keyboard and look for “y” in the lower left corner and “z” between the “t” and the “u”. I’m not keyboard-bilingual and mix “y” and “z” when I type on US-keyboards.

            1. bamcheeks*

              I first learned to use the internet in Germany in the late 90s, and for a few zears after that several of my passwords were simplz English words tzped on German kezboards.

            2. Emmy Noether*

              I love this comment section for the wealth of random and very specific expertise that is freely shared. Thank you!

              I am English, French and German keyboard trilingual (typed this on *checking* French, actually!), though special characters on French keyboards annoy me to no end, and why do you have to hit shift to type a period? WHY?

              1. Seeking Second Childhood*

                Can we talk about this further on Saturday? I’m trying to learn the French Canadian keyboard that I installed with Windows 10.

              2. Gracely*

                OMG, I hate and despise the special characters and period on the French keyboard. When I was studying there and using internet cafes/uni computer labs, I tried to learn it, but I always ended up changing the language of my keyboard because it was taking me too long to write anything. Never been so glad that I learned to touch-type in high school.

      2. 3lla*

        Oh that’s so interesting, when I researched the German spelling reform five years ago it seemed like both versions were generally accepted. Do you find that’s the case for most people?

        1. Myrin*

          Both are accepted (not only “generally” but also “officially”, as in, a university can’t mark your pre-reform spelling in your final paper as wrong, you just have to stick to one version consistently) but the reformed spelling is used more widely, partly because that’s what’s been taught since the mid-90s so everyone attending school after that has learned it that way, partly because public writing uses it basically exclusively (Axel Springer rebelled against it years ago but I don’t know if they’re still doing so), so every advertising, book, newspaper, internet article etc. you encounter will be post-reform.

          In private writing, there’s a definite age divide but I still feel like most of them (kinda, for the most part) switched to post-reform. It gets disguised a little by the fact that a lot of people simply don’t know when to use an ß, s, or ss anyway so you often honestly can’t decide what’s going on in any given piece of private writing.

          1. bamcheeks*

            I did my German A level in 1997, so riiiight as the reforms were coming in (and I did one of my coursework essays on the reform!) Reading German — mostly early 20th century German — was a big part of my academic study for ten years after that but I’ve never studied German formally since then, so I have never made the switch and occasionally when I read contemporary German I am very confused.

        2. Emmy Noether*

          Depend what is considered accepted. Anything that has a style guide will be reformed writing. Spellcheck will follow reformed, so there will be a lot of red squiggly lines when someone following pre-reform sends me something (don’t know if they just ignore it, turn it off, or managed to set it to pre-reform).

          Since there are still a lot of people who went to school pre-reform that are working, and a lot of them never switched over, it is sort of accepted. Also, there are of course still a lot of old books around, so people are still used to both. There were some obvious/well-known changes (daß/dass), but the finer points aren’t all that well known by most. So both will look kinda correct to most people.

          For me, it’s more that I learned reformed, so the more obvious stuff jumps out as errors for me (in addition to the dang red squiggly lines). I can’t really say anything to those people though.

    3. Feline*

      The important thing is what your higher-ups want to see. I personally judge anyone who uses double space, and I recently changed jobs to a smallish company whose hands-on President wants to see two spaces between sentences. Search and replace is your friend! Don’t overthink it.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        This is the key – go with what the job asks. My job has me spending a lot of time in a program that has its origins in DOS, and the text goes in typewriter style – thus double spacing is what we do.

      2. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Also true for spacing between paragraphs, indent at the beginning of a paragraph or don’t, font type and size, etc etc etc

        Know your style guides!

    4. Sloanicota*

      I always do find + replace ” ” to ” ” as the final step of reviewing a document. I was never trained to add them but other contributors do, or sometimes they just get inserted as a typo.

    5. NotAnotherManager!*

      Step 1. is to make sure the person in charge of your document is okay with single-spacing after a period. There are a significant number of supervising principals within my organization who require the double space, and adding it back in via global is not an option because of the way citations are formatted – if you global to period + double space, you mess up all the F.2d and U.S., etc. citations.

  5. Heidi*

    I don’t know a lot about how battery recycling works; is there a reason that the responsibility for obtaining and scrapping the batteries couldn’t be shared among other people at the company?

    1. Emmy Noether*

      I don’t really understand the premise of that letter. At first I thought that LW just collected all batteries in the office/warehouse that died over the year. But in that case, LW wouldn’t be able to significantly influence the amount. They could be very diligent about collecting, sure, but you can’t just… make dead batteries (well, sure, you can make dead batteries out of new batteries, but that would be very stupid).

      So… are they collecting these from somewhere else? Does something different happen to batteries they don’t collect? Are batteries a stand-in for something else for anonymity?

      1. LittleBabyDamien*

        I had thought they were vehicle batteries or batteries for some industrial function, rather than, say, double As, and that they needed some sort of processing beyond just gathering them up.

        1. Emmy Noether*

          You’re probably right – LW writes “how well I recover these batteries”, so maybe they have to do something with the recovered batteries?

          But even then – the max. number seems very limited by something totally outside LW’s control. I don’t see how they could double or triple the number of batteries by their own efforts, unless there is a huge backlog of unprocessed batteries, which it doesn’t sound like.

          1. MsSolo+UK*

            I’m wondering if LW works at a dump of some kind (wherever broken cars go to die?) where reclaiming the batteries from the vehicles before they break down the cars is doable, but requires a lot of extra work to go through all of the potential battery-containing vehicles to find ones that are recyclable. Or some other scenario where there are a lot of potential battery containing items, but not all of them will have batteries and not all of the batteries are recyclable (ironically, the first business that pops to mind would be an e-waste recycling plant, but I assume they’d be the ones paying for the batteries in that case!)

            1. GythaOgden*

              Or even just sorting batteries from used equipment into usable and non-usable. I bought a handheld console from eBay that the seller checked and found a dodgy battery in it after I’d paid. He refunded the price I would need to pay from the sale and I got a new battery myself. There’s a thriving market in modded and refurbished consoles (even just cleaning inside an old Nintendo 64 can make a difference to its usability) and other such electronics so if something can be salvaged even just for spare parts, it’s worth someone’s while to dismantle them.

              To be honest, since my husband died I have been going through our mutual DVD collection and have made a few hundred quid just sending books and DVDs off to various media buy-back companies. I can’t rely on the money, nor would it be super worth it to do it every day as income, but it pays for a few pizzas or something like that to keep me sane in the winter. I have finished winnowing the main collection, but he still has a lot of Doctor Who audio dramas/audiobooks on CD and I’m saving them for when I need the cash. He actually left me his collection to do just that with them — he knew I probably wouldn’t listen to them, and tbh I can’t watch Doctor Who without going into meltdown, so it’s best that I make as much use as I can of them.

              So the money isn’t going to make a difference to overall operations, and isn’t part of OP’s wages, but may fund something smaller like the yearly BBQ. And once you’ve got used to the perk of having something like that, it’s hard to wean people off it even if pickings have been slim over the last year.

            2. Seeking Second Childhood*

              The thought of crushing a car without removing the battery makes me cringe. Those are lead – acid: nasty on your hands and nasty on the environment.

            3. Dust Bunny*

              This, or somewhere that uses a lot of heavy machinery or large vehicles that go through batteries, or have particularly large batteries.

              1. Eff+Walsingham*

                Since it’s a warehouse, I was picturing those big batteries they use in forklifts and loaders. Or at least, that they used to use. The machines where I used to work were quite elderly.

            4. Sloanicota*

              I kind of imagined something like this – somehow the workplace is either using up batteries in their own processes, or encountering used batteries that need some extra steps – but I think the point holds, if other people are eager for these parties and impatient about the battery process, there must be some way to train or empower others to assist in getting this done. And in fact that’s probably the owner’s intention, if this is an inconvenient but somewhat lucrative process.

          2. ecnaseener*

            I read “how well I recover these batteries” as meaning there was some sort of process LW had to do on the batteries to make them worth money. Like if they process a battery well enough it’s recyclable and someone will pay for it, but if they mess up the tricky process the battery’s useless and no one pays for it.

      2. Irish Teacher*

        Yeah, that was my thought too, that it really doesn’t seem to be the LW’s “fault” if there aren’t enough batteries in need of recycling to fund a party. She may be the one who sends them for recycling, but how many there are seems like it would be beyond her control. I’m probably missing something.

        1. Captain ddd-cccc-ddWdd*

          I think the batteries (or parts of them) have to be ‘extracted’ in some way from a backlog of junk items they already have hanging around in storage, so the amount being salvaged depends more on OPs time than the actual amount of junk as such. I wonder whether they could get other people to help with this (and whether OP is fully set up from a health and safety perspective to be doing this work, if it’s only a tiny portion of their job).

      3. Varthema*

        I was initially confused, but my assumption is that in order to make money from the batteries, she has to dismantle them in some way to recover the sellable materials, and that there’s some skill and time involved to get all of the materials out in a way that retains their value.

        1. Sloanicota*

          Yeah, or all the old used-up machines used by the company are stored in a junk pile somewhere, some of which may have recoverable batteries, but it’s a process to sort through the whole lot and recover them. A process that’s not really part of OP’s core job function. In that case though I agree this is a good task to delegate. If OP truly has to extract recyclable material it may be harder (but still not impossible!) to train / certify someone else to do it.

      4. Scrappy*

        A place I worked had a similar thing going but ours was scrap aluminum that came from our service.

        How it was set up was that our people would return the scrap aluminum to our warehouse where it would be collected and stored (just like I imagine the batteries are (and I suspect it’s not just AA batteries from keyboards, but a more industrial battery that is part of their scrap process)). Then after a while our office manager would turn in all of the aluminum for scrap and the proceeds from that would fund our BBQs. It was the best option that we had at the time since the aluminum was technically owned by our client. So it felt a little wrong to keep the money from the scrap. So the BBQs were open to our company and our client.

        It turned out to be a win on all sides. We recycled the scrap, the money went for lunches, it turned out to be a good client relationship builder, and there was no question on the ethics of the proceeds from the scrap.

        But yes, I can imagine that this setup is not ideal when it looks like it was down to the OP on if there was a BBQ or not. Ours eventually ended when we didn’t have the same level of scrap and our grill died. It seemed like a good time to end the practice.

      5. Here for the Insurance*

        Count me in as another vote for not understanding this letter. I can’t scrap what I don’t have.

        I also tended to think that OP is putting the “unfair perspective” a bit on themselves. It’s a problem of framing. “Whether or not all my coworkers get this summertime treat depends on how well I recover these batteries.” No, whether they get this treat depends on your boss figuring out a way to pay for it. This is something the business is offering as a perk, meaning it’s on the business to pony up the money. If your boss is that concerned about the battery situation, let him say so and adjust your duties accordingly.

        I wish I had $1 for every time I read a letter on here and think “stop taking emotional responsibility for shit that doesn’t belong to you.”

    2. Dinwar*

      It’s going to depend HEAVILY on the specific industry. In some cases I’ve seen, yeah, it’s the responsibility of everyone to send them to a central facility. In other cases, one person was responsible for them. Depends on if by “recycling” they mean gathering batteries up for processing, or the physical work that goes into disassembling batteries.

      The actual mechanics is complicated by the lead and acid. In the past they used to dump the acid into acid neutralization pits full of crushed limestone (57 stone or the like). It was your basic acid/base neutralization reaction–the acid hits the limestone and reacts, producing water, a salt, and hydrogen gas. For some reason I’ve never figured out every one of these pits has a tremendous amount of trichloroethylene in them, which is what brought them to my attention; each one is a HAZMAT site that needs to be cleaned up. The lead is easier to deal with: You wash the acid off (which may be where the TCE comes from) and send it to the recycling center. Lead is useful, after all; not great in plumbing, but in things like xray shielding and the like it serves a useful purpose in society. The plastic can either be recycled or discarded.

      All of this is somewhat specialized. It requires equipment and facilities and training. Not a lot–a few days of OTJ training is sufficient–but it’s also something that you may not have a lot of people available to handle. You do NOT want something handling battery acid who isn’t THOROUGHLY trained in decon procedures and PPE!

    3. Red Sky*

      Automotive batteries have what’s called a ‘core charge’ to ensure recycling. It’s basically a small deposit you’re charged when you purchase a battery and get back when you bring in your old battery for recycling.

      1. Red Sky*

        Dang it, somehow hit post too soon.

        I’m thinking the LW works in automotive or adjacent industry and ‘gathers’ car batteries for the core charge refund which is used to fund the BBQ. This is messy and strenuous work, batteries are heavy, and you’re going to need a lot of them to fund a BBQ for a whole team/dept/business!

  6. ItsASpaceOfTheTimes*

    As someone who has to edit other people’s writing, it is a pain and a half to deal with folks who put two spaces after periods. It’s been more than 30 years since this was the defacto norm and folks should have gotten over it by now. And yes, while some people don’t care, there are enough people who will assume anyone who still does this as seriously out of touch. How big of a deal that is likely depends on the job, the industry, and the company culture

    1. Cambridge Comma*

      You can just do a find and replace to fix this, although equally someone who can’t break the habit could do one themselves when they are finished writing.

      1. A Mac is not a typewriter*

        Yes, you can. And I do. But it’s a pain. And there is always someone who argues about it. And they are objectively wrong.

        1. Yellow+Flotsam*

          It’s standard in some templates I use. If it is the template – it is objectively correct.

          1. Beany*

            I’m assuming you write for a company using the company’s style guide, and the company developed that template to conform to the style guide?

      2. NYC Taxi*

        You can do search and replace after a coworker refuses to use one space, but what’s messy is if you need to have track changes on and multiple people are weighing in on the document. All those spaces show as changes along with genuine, important changes. Seriously it’s not a hardship to do one space after a sentence and it’s not a badge of honor to be resistant. It’s extra and annoying.

        1. Colette*

          Or you could just decide that the number of spaces after a period is a tiny issue that’s not worth worrying about.

          1. The Rural Juror*

            In the font my company uses, it’s glaringly obvious when folks use a single space in some sentences and double (or even triple!) in others. I’ve noticed that many people are inconsistent. Double spaces start to look like holes in the paragraphs, but that’s really because the font we use on all our branded documents makes it stand out.

            So you say it’s not worth worrying about, but for some of us it is! I can’t publish a document like that.

          2. NYC Taxi*

            Well it’s my job to worry about it. The documents I work on are public-facing – press releases, fact sheets, infographics, etc and it’s not a “tiny issue” to have ridiculous and inconsistent spacing.

          3. Observer*

            Yes, you can. Sometimes. In your personal writing? 100%

            In shared writing where there is a style expectation or consistency is important (which is true more often than not), no you can’t unilaterally decide that it’s not important and therefore you get to do what you want. Whether you “want” 2 spaces or one.

      3. Daisy*

        Find and Replace All. Takes about three seconds, it isn’t a big deal. I spend my days editing others’ work also, this isn’t something to stress over.

    2. AY*

      When I was a law clerk for a federal judge in 2015, two spaces were required jurisdiction-wide! It’s definitely a minority position, but it’s still out there, and it’s still rigidly enforced where it exists.

      1. Lilo*

        When I edited for law review in college and wrote my comment it was 2 spaces after a period. Lawyers may be a bastion of holdouts on this.

        1. Lilo*

          *law review in law school. Don’t know why I wrote college. In the technical writing I did in college it was one space.

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Some medical programs still have the old typewriter-style font so also use double spaces after periods.

      2. NotAnotherManager!*

        In my experience, two spaces is still considered standard in a lot of legal. I occasionally see someone who only wants one, but it’s explicitly listed in our style guide and discussed with proofreading team.

    3. SpaceBaby*

      Has it really been 30 years since this was standard? I remember I was taught in school to use 2 spaces after a period and I’m 30 years old. I remember the rules seemed to change while I was in college and had to readjust how I typed. It could just be that I had ancient English teachers in middle/high school though.

      1. londonedit*

        I was never really taught actual typing at school (I’m 41, went to school in the UK) so I sort of figured it out myself and was definitely never taught anything about one space or two spaces. I think I just presumed it would be one, because why would you use two? I used to do loads of typing on typewriters when I was little because we had one at home, but again that was just playing around and I was never actually taught to type in any sort of formal way. Perhaps I’m of an age where we sort of fell down the gap between everyone thinking ‘typewriters are practically obsolete’ and ‘everyone needs to use a computer now’? I never really had formal IT lessons at school, we just used computers for the odd lesson here and there.

        1. Forgot my name again*

          I’m also 41, UK school, and we were taught typing ;)
          The school was an earlyish adopter of Windows so we had lessons on how to use the Office package in the mid-90s, and we also used a program to learn touch-typing (maybe because it was an all-girls’ school and we were all going to become admin staff?..)
          Also my dad was heavily into desktop publishing so I learnt to type from the age of about 5 with double spaces without knowing the reason why. I think I stopped using them in about the late 90s when I realised that no one was using them anymore.

          1. londonedit*

            Yeah, we only had one computer room for 1200 kids, so that probably explains it :D

            We were meant to all have proper IT lessons, but if you were deemed brainy enough you were allowed to do an extra GCSE subject which meant you had an extra lesson at the end of the school day on a Wednesday. So the timetable was too tight for us extra-GCSE people to fit IT lessons in. Allegedly the idea was that they’d do an intensive day once a term for us, but that never happened, so we just fiddled about during English lessons every now and then, and I was fortunate that we had a computer at home so I taught myself most things as they came along (like Word etc – still can’t use Excel).

            1. Ellis Bell*

              I’m the same demographic as you (42, British, went to a comprehensive) and this is literally the first time I’ve ever heard of deliberately double spacing. I am loving the debate (all stylistic debates are hugely satisfying to me) but it seems very odd! As a tabloid reporter all (accidental) double spaces were hunted down as horrendous anomalies that cost us extra in paper. So, I am able to see a double space sticking out from.. space. Admittedly, we used indents to paragraph rather than spaces, so hardly a default style.

        2. turquoisecow*

          41 here (US) and I took typing in middle school but it was an elective, not everyone took it. I don’t remember being taught anything about spaces after a period. I don’t think I do two myself? I’m not right now typing this on my phone, I’ll have to be conscious of it when I’m next on a computer.

          1. LadyVet*

            I’m 44, in the US. I don’t remember if I used one space or two after sentences for my first 10 years or so of typing (I had regular access to computers from around age 9), but I know that when I started J-school and learned AP style it was only one space. To the point that I was worried I would fail the typing test the Army gave me before I left for basic because the sample had two spaces and I wasn’t used to that anymore.

            Incidentally, when I took typing in high school, I got an A in the first half that dealt with actual typing, and an F in the second because I didn’t do a couple assignments, but they averaged out to a C.

      2. Eldritch Office Worker*

        I’m 30 and took typing in school and we were taught single space. Almost certainly has to do with teacher preferences.

        1. Clisby*

          Did you learn typing on a computer?

          I (US) was taught to use 2 spaces after a period at the end of a sentence to better delineate the sentences. This was before personal computers, and typewriters didn’t have proportional fonts, so the individual letters of words were already more spaced out than they are with proportional fonts. This reason doesn’t exist with proportional fonts, but it can be hard to change. Not that I would bother changing now since I don’t type anything that needs that level of pickiness, but if I needed to, I’m sure I could retrain myself.

      3. Irish Teacher.*

        I never heard of it until I started reading AAM and they taught us basic typing in primary school in the late ’80s, admittedly on computers (I think it was mostly a case of finding a purpose for them). I guess it depends on where you learnt?

      4. Observer*

        I remember I was taught in school to use 2 spaces after a period and I’m 30 years old.

        ~~SNIP ~~

        It could just be that I had ancient English teachers in middle/high school though.

        More likely you had ancient equipment.

      5. Emily*

        This is what I was coming here to say – I’m 31, and I learned the double space in school! I trained myself out of it a few years ago, but it wasn’t even until I got to college that I heard that single space was a thing (and even there, there wasn’t consensus).

        I can believe that the convention started to change 30 years ago, but it definitely wasn’t universally adopted.

      6. NotAnotherManager!*

        No, it’s not been 30 years yet. Most of the style guides didn’t make this update until the early 2000s. It’s been common in journalism and publishing longer because it’s a space-saver (like dropping the serial comma), but it didn’t go mainstream until PCs with their proportionate fonts became more mainstream and affordable.

        I graduated from HS in the mid-90s, and they were still teaching us to double-space after a period. I knew a lot of people in college who had word processors (glorified typewriters) in college because personal computers still cost thousands of dollars.

      7. KatCardigans*

        Yeah, I was taught to use 2 spaces in my 6th grade typing class circa 2001. I trained myself more or less out of it around graduate school, but tbh nobody much seemed to care about it one way or another (and I did a lot of writing in college—English & political science majors). I only changed because I felt like switching things up. I actually like the double spaces better, but it looks funny with some fonts.

        I’m sure it does depend on your typing teacher and how much they were following the trends of the day. I think my typing instruction was probably a copy of my teacher’s typing instruction, just on computer keyboards instead of typewriters.

      8. Curmudgeon in California*

        It’s only been the last 20 years that the sans-serif, single space mafia has prevailed.

        I actually have to change a lot of sites so I can read it in a serif font, because sans-serif and single space after a period is virtually unreadable unless I make the font huge, or change it.

    4. Llama Identity Thief*

      I still don’t fully understand where I picked it from then, because I’ve been a double spacer my whole life, was mostly self-taught to type (hunt-and-pecker but with speed), and I’m only 27.

      1. WomEngineer*

        I’m curious about how different generations feel about the 2 spaces. I’m slightly younger than you, but I picked it up from my mom. I don’t see it as old-fashioned… it’s more like something that could annoy people (like when the toilet paper roll is the opposite way).

    5. Snow+Globe*

      I’m nearing 60 and was taught to use two spaces on a Selectric typewriter, sometime around 1980. The standard apparently changed when computer word processors rolled out, but there wasn’t some big announcement or news coverage that made this change common knowledge. I don’t think I ever heard that the standard had changed to one space until about 10 years ago. I did somehow manage to train myself to use one space, but it took a while.

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        Yeah, I learned to type on a manual typewriter in the late 70s, and it was two spaces, period.

        The single space came about because HTML doesn’t render the two consecutive spaces as anything but one space unless you use non-breaking spaces. ( & n b s p ; ) It’s completely an artifact of the HTML designers’ whim. There was no organized decision about it.

        So for online or web stuff that is rendered by html, I do single space. Anything else gets the normal two.

        1. Hlao-roo*

          Ah, thank you for explaining this about HTML! I was looking at the comments of all the people who said “you can pry two spaces out of my cold, dead hands” and thinking “but you all used just one space after the periods in the your comments.” Makes much more sense that they are typing two spaces on their computers and the HTML is editing the “extra” space out.

    6. TomatoSoup*

      It has been less than 30 years in the US. I learned it in computer class in the late 90’s and it was definitely a thing in the early 2000’s.

    7. I'm A Little Teapot*

      I can cope with the people who double space out of habit. It’s the people who double space and are weirdly aggressive about it that I have a problem with. Seriously. It’s not that big a deal. If you’re hanging your identity on double spacing, you need help.

      1. Gray+Lady*

        The argument that one space “looks wrong” makes no sense to me. Have professionally published books and magazines always “looked wrong” to the folks who say this? With proportional fonts, you’re getting exactly the same effect on personally printed or on-screen materials.

        1. Curmudgeon in California*

          Books use an “em” space between sentences, IIRC. Typesetting is still a little different, IMO.

      2. to varying degrees*

        I honestly don’t realize I’m doing it most of the time, it’s just so ingrained in me.

    8. Jessica Fletcher*

      The worst part is that spell check or grammar check will automatically identify the two spaces as incorrect and will prompt you to fix it. It’ll fix it for you! But inevitably, the perpetrator selects “ignore all” and merrily continues mucking up the document.

      1. JustaTech*

        That’s interesting, I don’t think I’ve ever had Word yell at me about the double spacing, not even with the latest update that helpfully offers to type for me. I honestly don’t care, it’s just habit (and that on my phone two spaces means “period, space, capitalize”).

        If I’m doing a shared document I go with what everyone else has done, and if anyone ever asked me to change I would (or I would “find/replace” before sending the document on).

        Then again I’m one of those weirdos who types with all the spacing markings turned on, so I’m probably an outlier.

    9. Pool Lounger*

      As a grad student worker I was once was given the job of changing all 2-spaces after periods to one space in a prof’s book manuscript. The publisher demanded one space after periods, for obvious reasons.

    10. Angelinha*

      Thank you! I don’t really care if someone does this themselves on their own documents or emails or whatever, even though I do notice and judge (just a tiny bit!) But when they are editing someone else’s work or working collaboratively on something that’s going to be published externally, what are they thinking? Do they not notice that everyone else is using one space? If they believe so strongly that two spaces are correct, why aren’t they adding spaces to the rest of the document?

  7. Analyst*

    If I were in OP1’s shoes and didn’t feel I could talk to fruit fly guy, I’d just keep reporting the issue and play dumb, let someone else tell him to clean his area…

    1. Smithy*

      I think that this would work particularly well in a larger office where there was a system to report facilities issues. Offices often have occupants who are more/less gross than others, and sometimes that will lead to rodents or insects and sometimes not. Could be construction or some other issues happening nearby causing an increase….which fruit in the trash or food left out overnight is making worse, but not necessarily causing 80-90% of the problem.

      So however I’d report a leak in the ceiling or crack in an office window – I’d just report “hey, seems we have flies.”

  8. Sister George Michael*

    I’m surprised #2 is from only 5 years ago: “everyone in my office shares one email account”

    1. Other Alice*

      Five years ago? People are still doing it! Not at my company, but I work with business customers and I have Seen Things.

    2. WellRed*

      Honestly I feel like if I ever started working at a place with one email account I’d run screaming for the hills because that’s a sign of dysfunction to me, as evidenced by the letter.

      1. curmudgeon*

        I think it depends on the place. Vet hospitals often have one email the front desk uses to send out reminders, etc. It doesn’t really make sense for each receptionist to have their own email.

        1. ecnaseener*

          Yeah, same with my apartment building’s concierge desk. If the team doesn’t conduct much business over email and/or everything they do over email is shared work, it really doesn’t seem dysfunctional to me.

          1. GythaOgden*

            Departments here in a large multi-org public healthcare admin building also tend to have shared accounts as well as personal ones. It feels just a tad more professional to give out a Continuing Health Care (care home funding) department email than asking them to email Amy or Jackie.

            1. Justme, The OG*

              I use a program email as well as my personal email. But we have personal email for things not program related.

          2. Observer*

            It’s still generally a sign of dysfunction. Keep in mind that it’s stupid simple to have both email groups AND shared email boxes that individuals can have access to at the same time as they have their personal email address.

            So, say each staff person has their own email, and then there is the “reception desk” email box. You give everyone in reception access. If someone moves out of the team you revoke their access, but they still have THEIR emails. If someone in another department moves to reception, you give them access, but you don’t lose their whole email chains from before.

      2. Malarkey01*

        A traditional office sure, but there are tons of small businesses where the employees aren’t on email and the business would have a single address that the owner/admin would use (retail, home construction, landscaping, tutoring services, food service…these are just places I can see outside my window right now).

        I’m in an office and as a manager my admin assistant also has access to my email which is incredibly common so having people who can see your email isn’t unusual.

        1. Observer*

          There is a difference between *someone* having access to your email and there being ONE email for an entire organization. Even for a whole department. But even in the kinds of smaller businesses that you talk about, one single email is a really, really bad idea.

          On top of all the other issues, it’s a security nightmare.

          1. doreen*

            I’m not sure why a single shared email address is more of a security issue than a shared email address where everyone also has their own address. Sometimes people don’t need their own address – at my job there were people whose individual emails was constantly getting deactivated due to lack of use. They got maybe four emails a year, the ones sent to all staff wishing us a happy holiday season, etc. They didn’t send any.

    3. Captain ddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      I thought “how old was the original letter?!” on the basis of him wanting to put an ad in the paper… and realised it was ‘only’ from 2017…

      Shared email accounts are probably quite common in small business actually.

    4. Observer*

      I’m surprised #2 is from only 5 years ago: “everyone in my office shares one email account”

      Nah. This was not about where technology was holding, but a dysfunctional office. Keep in mind that the boss was looking to replace the OP because they got sick and was sent home the week before a planned vacation.

      If you look at the comments you will see a number of people pointing out how ridiculous it is. Because even at that point, it just wasn’t a thing.

    1. A Mac is not a typewriter*

      But that study used Courier New as a font, which is a monospaced — ie a typewriter — font.

      In other words, it just confirmed that having two spaces after a period when you are typing on a typewriter is a good idea.

      Which no one is disputing.

      If you are using a variable spaced font on a computer, the extra space is built in.

      1. I am Emily's failing memory*

        Slight nitpick, it’s not actually that extra space is built in after a period, it’s that extra space is removed between the letters of every word, so there’s no need to use more space after a period because a single space after a period no longer blends in with all the other gaps between letters that typewriters and monospace fonts produce.

          1. GythaOgden*

            This is also the sort of thing that if you don’t care about it, you’re totally fine, but if you do notice something, it really impedes the accessibility of a site. I think people can debate scientific research papers all they like but they forget that a lot of us need a ‘lowest common denominator’ for practical reasons.

            I’m going to be really cheeky here, but there was that site update here a few months ago that was terrible on my eyes. I’m also glad Alison has started using quote blocks for letters rather than italics, because again, reading large passages in italics was uncomfortable, and doubly so in the new font. The problem was, of course, what I outlined in the first paragraph — that if it didn’t cause vision issues, then people didn’t mind, but those of us with vision problems (I’m long-sighted, so I use glasses for close work; my next pairs will probably be varifocals, but I also get migraines if things get out of balance) did find it straining to read. It was changing from simply reading on a screen to playing action computer games that convinced me to get glasses again 15-20 years after growing out of them: the migraines were crippling.

            The weird thing is, though, is when I’m reading from a book or a Kindle, I’m ok with small text — because I like to have enough on a page that I’m not constantly turning. Hubby was the opposite — even before he ended up with brain lesions caused by his cancer, he would zoom in to about 150% on any screen, and getting his own Kindle meant he never really went back to reading paper books, because he could control the size of the lettering. When he died, the letters had to be so big that he could barely fit a paragraph on a single page, but it allowed him to read in his final weeks.

            On the subject at hand, though, I only put one space after a full stop. I grew up with computers, and variable spacing text has been in use since I was about 10 and ubiquitous since before I started work. My IT teacher at school did have to ask me whether I’d managed to cram enough fonts into my typesetting designs (FOMO over not getting to use absolutely ALL of them) and the difference between a titling typeface and a typeface used for large amounts of text was hammered home when someone at our writing group wrote us a story about his waifu in 10-point Impact and then got upset because we couldn’t read it before the next session. Again, it doesn’t matter to me as long as the text doesn’t make me feel like someone has shoved a kitchen knife into my left eye.

      2. Timothy (TRiG)*

        In properly typeset proportional text, it should be neither one nor two spaces; it should be one and a half. This is what LaTeX does by default.

        If you’re using an inferior typesetting solution, such as Microsoft Word, a reasonable compromise is indeed a double space in monospace fonts and a single space in proportional fonts.

      3. Eff+Walsingham*

        Actually, that is what I dove down into these comments to confirm: that I’m still supposed to be using two spaces when I’m using a typewriter.

        It is *ahem* possible that I have a small collection of vintage typewriters. I enjoy them. I’m old enough that my high school still taught “typing” rather than “keyboarding” which came along about five years later. Also, they were manual typewriters, not electric. If your typing speed exceeded 90wpm, they’d procure you an electric machine from somewhere.

        On the bright side, my typing “speed” was always so slow that it wasn’t very hard for me to adapt to single spacing on computers.

  9. Fan*

    Another +1 to the behind the scenes Q&A request! As a long time reader I’m fascinated by the work that must go into the site!

  10. Brain the Brian*

    The fruit fly story reminds me that we just found cockroaches in our office last week — the first time since we returned to the office last spring. We used to see them about monthly, though, so I guess it was bound to happen again. Still gross…

    Definitely +1 on a Behind the AAM Scenes Q&A!

  11. Anataya*

    100% want to read an AMA on how AAM works. Been reading for many years and I know how questions are more or less chosen from all the emails that are sent in (since that question as been asked before), but Alison’s day to day with the site, how the site itself functions, keeping things updated etc would be fascinating to see. I’m a web designer myself and I’ve always been curious as to the reasoning why the site has maintained a very WordPress-template-look. How Alison’s been able to build such a strong community within the comment section is something I’d love to hear about too.

  12. Martin Blackwood*

    Man, I wish we got any kind of update for #2. But I have a feeling it would be along the lines of “my boss who seemed mostly normal actually is very anti-time off and there’s half a dozen weird things he hates too”

    1. Snow Globe*

      I think it’s likely that he’s simply suspicious if people get sick on days adjacent to their vacation. Which is a whole other issue if the boss doesn’t trust the people that work for him.

      1. TomatoSoup*

        I can see why that would be suspicious, but people in the office literally told OP to go home. The boss could use some discretion there.

      2. londonedit*

        I think jumping straight to the whole pass-agg ‘well I’ll just advertise for someone else, then, seeing as you don’t seem to be dedicated enough’ screams dysfunctional to me! OK, you might have a brief ‘wow, she’s only been here five minutes and she’s already been off sick and taken X days’ holiday’ thought, but going straight for the nuclear ‘guess we’d better start looking for a replacement seeing as she clearly doesn’t care’ is bizarre.

        1. Gone Girl*

          I told my manager the week-of that I had an emergency appointment in a couple days and had to leave early. They approved it and said no problem. Day-of, however, they apparently forgot about the appointment because when I told them I needed to head out for the day, they blew up and accused me of “just wanting to leave early”.

          They very much had a straight-to-nuclear mindset, and yes, that place was very toxic.

          1. JustaTech*

            My friend had her boss call and ask her to “just come in for a few hours” on her *wedding day* because the boss had forgotten that she’d approved that day as well as the week for the honeymoon.

            At least the boss was willing to accept “no, I can’t come in, I’m getting married in an hour”.

        2. EPLawyer*

          Very clearly over the top reaction. Very “you must be hardcore to work here.” Someone taking sick time off is not irresponsible or not dedicated. They are just sick. In this case, they didn’t even want to take the time off but were asked to go home by others who did not want to get sick.

          I just want to say that Perfect Attendance awards are silly. All it means is you think showing up is ore important than your health, or the health of others.

  13. Varthema*

    I also learned how to touch-type with two spaces in the 90s when I was very young, and I also felt like it was so ingrained in my muscle memory that I’d never overcome it. But in the end it took me, like, a week. And I’m very much a creature of habit. you can do it!

    1. mreasy*

      Same, I learned touch-thping starting in 4th grade on a IIGS when two spaces was de riguer – and it took a bit of doing to break the habit, but it was worth it.

    2. I+went+to+school+with+only+1+Jennifer*

      The thing people don’t remember is that the software AUTOMATICALLY makes the single space wider than the space between words. It “knows” to do that after a period (or ? or !)

      I was in high school in the late 70’s, so, before computers were common in business. I took a typing class! with typewriters! The really good people got to use the row of electric typewriters at the back of the room. I wasn’t one of them, but I absolutely learned touch-typing, and it’s a skill I still use. (Also touch-10-key-input, which is also useful but not as often.)

      I don’t know when “keyboarding classes” replaced “typing classes”, and I know it varies a lot depending on wealth of school district, but that’s the generation after which nobody should be defending themselves with “but I was taught to always put 2 spaces after a period”. Certainly LW 4 was taught poorly by someone, or they grew up where there were only typewriters. Or they were taught by someone who grew up with only typewriters.

  14. Teacher,+Here*

    I’m not saying I JUDGE people for putting two spaces aster a period… but I will say that it’s very easy to tell which emails from our company President he wrote himself, and which ones “from” him were actually written by Marketing or HR based on one vs. two spaces.

    Sometimes you can even tell he inserted a sentence or two at the end on something someone else wrote. It’s very interesting.

  15. Turingtested*

    #2 is one of those situations where the letter writer is likely being punished for someone else’s actions. I’d guess either deep down the boss doesn’t believe in sick days or PTO or is remembering a previous employee who called out before vacations. Either way it doesn’t reflect well on the boss.

    1. Marna+Nightingale*

      I was also thinking the boss maybe though LW2 was trying to extend their vacation.

      I, too, would love an update.

      1. EPLawyer*

        But Boss literally saw the OP the day she was sick and talked to her in person. It’s one thing to fake sick over the phone. It’s harder to carry off in person. (not impossible but harder). Her colleagues asked that she go home, she didn’t.

      2. Elenna*

        Which is silly, because LW2 tried to stay in the office, it was their coworkers who told them to go home!

        (Also you can definitely tell this was written pre-pandemic because Allison had absolutely no comment on LW2 staying in the office and therefore spreading their germs… Not saying LW2 was in the wrong at the time, but it’s interesting how standards have changed.)

  16. Invisible+fish*

    Anyone else find their muscles are so hard wired to do two spaces after a period that there’s no way to change that?! I’m giggling internally as I write this- apparently, as out of shape as I am, I’ve developed one specific form of endurance.

    Now, all the details on running this site, please!

    1. Snow Globe*

      I learned to use two spaces in the early eighties, but was able to train myself to use one space. Now my muscle memory just uses one space. Unless I’m typing on my phone, in which case two spaces will automatically add the period for some reason.

    2. Gray+Lady*

      Muscle memory is a thing, but it can be retrained. Go back and correct your two spaces (immediately after doing it) often enough, and your brain will adjust. At least that’s how it worked for me.

  17. Percysowner*

    Recently I discovered that on my Iphone, if you double space at the end of a text line, the message section automatically adds a period and capitalizes the next letter. I haven’t checked if the spacing goes to 1. I’m retired so hard wired muscle memory isn’t an issue any more, but it turns out there is a nice perk of doing it unconsciously at certain times.

    1. Meghan+R*

      What’s interesting is that I am definitely a one space person, but I do utilize this shortcut on my phone all the time!

    2. Beany*

      On my (Android) phone, if I put in a period, it automatically adds a (single) space and capitalizes the next letter. So like your experience, but flipped?

      1. Hound Dog*

        Android does both – adding a space and capitalization after a period, or correcting a double space to a period and space. I’m fairly certain Apple will also do the space and capitalization after a period as well.

  18. Jess*

    Yes please, I would love to see a Q&A, and have been wondering about many of the questions that the LW raised!

  19. V*

    Q&A: yes please! I’ve been following the site for years and we only rarely get a glimpse into the person behind it all. And these days, multiple people I guess. :)

  20. Tantallum*

    I’m interested in a Q&A on AAM behind the scenes! I thought for sure you would have someone helping you with the site—sifting through all the mail you must get to narrow down ones to answer, editing, finding those applicable past posts to link to in your answer, scheduling posts, etc. You’re amazing Alison!

  21. The One Who Burned the Popcorn*

    Re 4: Join us over in law. I was taught to use only one space after a period. I am low-key horrified on the daily by all of the period/double-spaces I encounter in our forms.

    1. dream weaver*

      Academia…. one of the very first things I do when making final edits to a grant proposal is removing all the double spaces. Hey look! We just bought ourselves a half page!

        1. Observer*

          Given how tightly some of these applications control character count, getting half a LINE can be a big deal. I’m not kidding.

    2. Cmdrshpard*

      Was that in law school or in firm practice?

      When I worked at a medium size firm we were instructed to use two periods after a sentence. I think this is still leftover from most of the partners working with typewriters and/or coming up the ranks with instructions to use two periods.

      1. The One Who Burned the Popcorn*

        Firm practice (I’m staff.) It’s definitely partner preference. It fascinates me that a same-generation coworker of mine (like maybe 5 years older than me) was taught to use two spaces.

        1. Cmdrshpard*

          A lot of that is it has always been done before.

          I have looked at FRCP and most documents do not require a Certificate of Service when E-filing, I brought it up but was quickly shot down, due to partner preference from when it was still required.

    3. NotAnotherManager!*

      We have to train all the new people to the style guide that requires two spaces. It’s based on partner preference, and the people who bring in the money get their extra space, if they want it.

  22. Cake or Death*

    I am a loather of double spaces after a period; in modern fonts, it just looks weird and I find it makes things less easy to read. And I’m over 40.
    I think the biggest issue I have with double spaces, is because in my experience with people in my office who do it, more often than not they end up with 3 or even 4 spaces after almost half of the periods. Which just looks ridiculous and drives me bonkers. Like, I get if you were taught to use double spaces and it’s hard to retrain your fingers, but 3 or more spaces is just sloppiness/laziness. I always have to fix those documents because I think it just looks unprofessional and outdated.

    1. ZSD*

      Two jobs ago, I had a boss who often ended up with three or four spaces after a period, which just looked awful. I think it might have been partially due to cutting-and-pasting to move sentences around in her drafts, but I never understood how she could so much as glance at the computer screen and not think, “Wait, something doesn’t look right.”
      (And I personally am neutral in the one-vs.-two-spaces debate.)

    2. Elenna*

      People keep talking about how either one or two spaces looks wrong, but I literally can’t tell? At least not on this website with this font – the posts from people saying “I always do two spaces” don’t strike me as different at all, and I wouldn’t have any idea if they didn’t say they were putting two spaces. I will agree that 3+ spaces seems a little excessive though.

      (For the record, I’m 26 and I was taught to use one space and had no idea two spaces was a thing until recently. I’m also in Canada, not sure if that makes it different.)

      1. nona*

        +1. I can’t tell either. I can sometimes notice in a document I’m drafting where there’s a combination of the single/double spacing happening AND I’m going over the formatting in more detail for other issues. But my eyes just don’t care that much? Either way lets me identify the beginning of a new sentance.

        Also learned with double spacing and I think I’ve adjusted to single spacing without much work/thought.

      2. DyneinWalking*

        That is really, really common in online comments. Because extra spaces get automatically removed. A lot of the time, extra line breaks get removed, too.

        I guess it not only looks cleaner, but also prevents people from taking up huge amounts of space with, well, spaces, and is really easy to automatize.

      3. Nopetopus*

        I think I remember reading somewhere (maybe a comment from AAM?) that the site automatically disregards double spaces. So that could be why it looks the same regardless of what commenters are saying they use after punctuation?

      4. Timothy (TRiG)*

        In HTML, whitespace is collapsed. Unless the website does something clever on the back end, you could put in 500 spaces and it would look the same. (Also multiple tabs and newlines, if you were writing raw HTML, but the website does deal with them and convert them into HTML newlines.)

        1. Curmudgeon in California*

          IMO, the single space thing was a function of HTML to start with, so people assumed it was a standard.

          I can, however, force HTML to put in two spaces.  See?

    3. newly minted*

      Same about readability. I see extra spaces, read it as end of paragraph, and miss most of what is one the page. I end up reading out of order because I’m constantly hopping paragraphs. I really dislike Arial for the same reason (plus how much people have been enthusiastically telling me how easy Arial and similar fonts are to read for 25 years. The extraness turns me off). No, it’s exhausting to read. I have to spend all that time translating what looks like the number 1 to a lower case L. And then I end up sending stuff to the wrong place in Canada or UK. Sometimes the copy/paste in revisions end up with extra spaces, but I have Word set to flag it for me. Of course, I have some chronic conditions that zap extra bandwidth in my brain so I realize my issues are probably not all that common, but still. You probably want make it easy for me to read your paper so you can get a grade.

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        I have similar issues reading Arial. I hate it and Helvetica. The characters “i”, “I”, “l” and “|” all look the same in sans-serif fonts IMO. Then add the single space and my dyslexia goes crazy skipping words and lines.

    4. Joielle*

      I also hate double spaces. A lot of times at my job, one person will write a draft and others will edit, and when single-spacers and double-spacers are both working on the same document it ends up looking ridiculous. And also, as ZSD notes below, you end up with random numbers of spaces when sentences are copied and pasted. Let’s just all use the modern standard of one space!

  23. Nonprofit writer*

    I don’t necessarily judge people for 2 spaces, but many of them don’t realize it makes my job harder. I do grant writing, and a lot of grants have to be submitted through online portals, with strict character counts (including spaces) for each answer. The answer will get cut off if it exceeds the limit. So obviously if we are tight on space, I have to delete the extra spaces.

    I think graphic designers also have an issue with this, as someone said above.

    So really, it’s not nitpicking, it actually can affect people’s productivity in some jobs.

  24. Lost academic*

    Even with modern fonts, the double space makes it much easier for me to read and edit, a major component of my work. So you can pry it from my cold dead fingers, thank you very much. If it bothers you, fix it yourself for your own work. I’m not going to change someone’s single spaced sentences and I’m not going to mix styles but I’m going to stick with what works for me because at this point, that’s what matters the most.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      Same. I keep getting told that I don’t need two spaces any more and, nope, sorry–I’m not giving that up. It is easier to read.

    2. Doubling Up*

      Thank you!

      I edit, and I use either one or two spaces in client docs depending on what they’ve used predominantly (whether I agree or not). In my own writing, two, especially when I have to use Slack because the font it uses is garbage and a single space after a period barely registers as a space.

      I find double spacing can help with ambiguity too, if any abbreviations that use periods appear in a sentence. I shouldn’t have to use context to figure out if I’m looking at a run-on sentence.

    3. SpicySpice*

      Agree 1000%. I don’t care what the font is, double spaces make it easier for me to read also.

    4. Elenna*

      Okay, I’m looking at your comment (presumably with two spaces?) and comparing it to my response to the previous commenter (currently right above, with one space between sentences) and I literally cannot see any difference at all in the spacing? But people keep saying one way or the other looks wrong to them. Is it just something that this website adjusts?

        1. arthur lester*

          I was just about to comment on this. Either the people who claim to double-space after a period are lying, or this site automatically filters.

          I’ll do some science:

          This is a sentence. I have put one space after the period.

          This is a sentence. I have put two spaces after the period.

          1. Timothy (TRiG)*

            Nope. It’s not filtered out. The server is sending two different things to your browser: one with a single space, one with a double. (Use Ctrl+U to view source to confirm.)

            Your browser takes the HTML source that the server has given it, and turns it into something human-readable to show to you. And in that process, it collapses all whitespace (spaces, tabs, new lines) into a single space. That’s how the HTML spec works. Line breaks in comments are preserved only because the server takes the posted data and wraps it in the correct HTML markup.

            If the server wanted to preserve double spacing, it could do so by converting one of the spaces into a non-breaking space. But that’s extra work.

          2. Curmudgeon in California*

            That’s because HTML renders two or more consecutive spaces as one space. The single space “rule” is actually an artifact of HTML and web adoption.

            Here’s a sentence with one space after it. See?
            Here’s a sentence with two spaces after it but left to HTML to render. See?
            Here’s a sentence with two spaces after it where I force HTML to render the second space.  See?

  25. Dust Bunny*

    Several of my coworkers know that this was the case last year and are already hinting. It is causing a great deal of worry and stress for me because whether or not all my coworkers get this summertime treat depends on how well I recover these batteries.

    You’ve taken on far too much mental and emotional responsibility for this. If coworkers start hinting, send them to your boss to brainstorm funding ideas. Make it their/his problem.

  26. Delta Delta*

    All this talk about single spacing after a period got me thinking about it. I know I learned double spacing, but then somewhere along the way I just stopped doing it. I have no idea if it was a conscious choice, or how I started doing single spacing. And now I’m wondering how I un-learned something without realizing I did that.

  27. Singleton*

    I had typing class in middle school (late 80s) and then another in high school (early 90s). We were also introduced to Apple computers in 5th grade, which then pervaded the rest of my schooling in one version or another. My life contained a typewriter AND a word processor AND a computer concurrently for awhile.

    And yes, I did hate moving from double space after a period to single space, but I did it. It just didn’t make sense after a while to perform a needless action that looked ridiculous.

    Point is, nobody was born knowing how to type or compute. Everything we know involving typewriting and computers has to be learned and adapted to, every year. So many changes! Hate it if you must, but embrace the single space! ;)

  28. L.H. Puttgrass*

    Ah, the old “two spaces were just because of typewriters” trope. Compelling. Logical. And wrong.

    In a reply post, I’ll add a link to a post (now available only via archive, sadly) that does a much better job breaking this down than I can, but the practice of putting wider spaces after sentences than between words far predates typewriters—and is in fact older than the one-space “standard.”

    Neither a single space after a sentence or a double space after a sentence are “wrong.” They are style choices, like whether to put blank lines between paragraphs or indent the first line, or capitalize “Internet,” or hundreds of other choices in English usage and typography. Which one you use is entirely up to the local style convention. The only way either practice is incorrect is if the local style guide says to do one thing and you do the other.

    The link I’m about to post has much more on this, but the post-script really ought to be the lede:

    P.S. For any non-typographers who made it all the way through this article, if you want to double-space, do it. If you want to single-space, fine. Just please don’t try to enforce your view on the world. Stop judging people. Because, really, if you’re not a typographer, chances are the stuff you’re producing in MS Word or whatever has dozens of other worse spacing sins than double-spacing your sentences.

      1. L.H. Puttgrass*

        Thanks! I’m glad this is still available other than through the Wayback Machine. And I now see that someone on Medium archived the post there, too.

    1. Observer*

      It’s not about typewriters per se, but the move from monospaced to proportionally spaced and kerned fonts.

      It’s true that you need more space between sentences to help readability. And with monospaced fonts, a single space barely gives you that. But when you have proportionally spaced fonts (especially ones like Times Roman, which was designed to save space), the spacing between letters is so much smaller that a single space + punctuation provides the necessary separation.

      1. L.H. Puttgrass*

        Take a look at the links posted above. Proportional typefaces are as old as movable type, and the use of larger spaces between sentences is basically as old as printing.

        Again, that doesn’t mean that one space or two after a sentence is necessarily “right.” But the narrative that extra space between sentences was somehow an artifact of non-proportional fonts is just wrong.

    2. Timothy (TRiG)*

      I tend to think that single-space looks better. (That’s personal opinion, not any kind of rule.) But I like the way that LaTeX deals with this, with a wider space but not a double space. A double space is, to me, a little too much. (Generally, I just like the way that LaTeX does everything in terms of its output; I’m not so delighted about its syntax.)

      1. L.H. Puttgrass*

        I agree about how LaTeX does it (and in general, if you want your text to look good and don’t have a professional typesetter, LaTeX is the way).

  29. ecnaseener*

    Question for double-space typers: is this only on a computer keyboard or do you do the same thing on a phone? Did the muscle memory carry over when you started typing on cell phones? (Although I guess that’s potentially two transitions for many people…first learning to type on a number keypad and then on a mini-qwerty…maybe it changed again with the transition to touchscreens…I’m so curious!)

    1. Lilo*

      So I type with two spaces at work (lawyer, was taught this way in law school). But I don’t for personal writing or on my phone.

    2. Julia*

      I’ve managed to stop double spacing after periods but it took a while. For me it was only on keyboards. I touch type which doesn’t apply to cell phones.

    3. Elenna*

      And a follow-up question – was this affected at all by the fact that Apple’s software (not sure about Android) now automatically converts a double space to a period followed by a (single, I think?) space?

      1. ecnaseener*

        Oh yeah I know about that — but it doesn’t do anything special if you type period-space-space afaik.

    4. Seahorsesarecute*

      My phone will, if I double space after a word, change it to a period with one space and make the next letter I type a capital without my having to hit a shift key. It’s one of the small pleasures in my day.

    5. Loredena*

      I do it on the phone as well. Encouraged by that being a simple way to insert the period and capitalize the new sentence automatically.

    6. NotAnotherManager!*

      Only on keyboards. It’s 100% muscle memory, along with working for two decades in an industry that still double-spaces.

      When I double-space on the phone, it adds a period, so I only use that when I need the punctuation. That’s not muscle memory the way touch-typing is. I also use the complete-the-word suggestions and other things that break up the process of tapping things out on a phone screen.

  30. Wondermint*

    I would love a Q&A on the behind the scenes of the site – there really aren’t many like it left on our wide web!

  31. BLH*

    Is double-space after a period a uniquely American — or Anglosphere — thing? In real life here in the Netherlands I’ve never seen this, never heard anyone mention it or complain about how it changed, etc. I’ve only seen it mentioned on the internet, were people act like this is a very common thing. For a long time I thought that double-spaced meant double linespacing whenever I saw it mentioned, and was very confused.

    1. allathian*

      It’s an Anglosphere thing. Some publishers probably still use it, but my ancient collection of Agatha Christie paperbacks (British editions) from the late 80s uses double spacing. I must admit that I vastly prefer single spacing.

      That said, double spacing after the end of a sentence doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the French habit of putting a space *before* all other punctuation marks except commas and periods (mainly question marks and exclamation marks, sometimes colons and semicolons).

    2. Avril Ludgateaux*

      For a long time I thought that double-spaced meant double linespacing whenever I saw it mentioned, and was very confused.

      It does mean that! Nobody refers to two spaces after a period as “double spacing” so you’re safe there.

      In the 90s-early 00s we were indeed still taught that for proper scholastic word processing, you were meant to put two spaces after a period (and some teachers actually checked and deducted points if you didn’t abide by the style). As typed communication became increasingly digital, though, and stream-lined, proportional fonts with clear punctuation distinctions became on the norm, that second space seemed to naturally drop off. By college, IIRC, style guides were already ambivalent to it, and then by the time I hit the workplace, the convention was to abandon the extra space after periods.

      1. Avril Ludgateaux*

        I stand swiftly corrected by the comment above me referring to it as double spacing – okay, it seems to be regional then! Because here, “double space” always, invariably referred to line spacing!

        1. Elenna*

          My impression was that “double space” basically always referred to line spacing unless the discussion is already about the “how many spaces after a period” debate.

          Like, in this comment section people will say “double space” to mean “put two spaces after a period” because the former is shorter and easier to type. And it’s clear they mean spaces after a period because this whole discussion is about spaces after a period. But if a teacher told me “I want you to double space your essay” without further clarification, I would 100% assume they meant linespace.

          It could definitely also be regional, though.

  32. Mrs. Crenshaw*

    I love behind the scenes info! I also really appreciate that when an update is posted, the original post gets updated with a link to the update. That way if I stumble across an old post I haven’t read before I can see immediately that there’s an update and read it too.

  33. Avril Ludgateaux*

    The audacity of the boss in #2 to question the OP’s “dedication” for one *collectively* requested and *perceptibly* needed sick day before two advance-scheduled days off… While that self-same boss is actively on vacation for the entire week.

    Mind, I am not saying the boss isn’t entitled to time off. Far from it! It’s the attitude: “My time off is sacred and inviolable. Yours is a gift – or better yet, a diplomatic offer you’re meant to refuse.” Ugh.

  34. This or That*

    The computer is not a typewriter.

    But, I’m sure the transition from computer to typewriter would be way harder.

    • What do you mean I can’t cut and paste?
    • I can’t just backspace over a word!
    • Where’s spellcheck?

    1. Avery*

      Used a typewriter for the first time some years after learning my way around a computer. Can confirm, the learning curve is real.

    2. SnappinTerrapin*

      Of course we could cut and paste with typewriters.

      Well, technically, we taped the pieces together instead of pasting when we edited, but the result was the same: We rearranged the sentences and paragraphs to make our message easier to read.

      1. nona*

        Like, it was literally “cut and paste/tape”. Which is where the word-processing terms probably came from?

        1. Dinwar*

          Reminds me of a college essay I wrote. The ideas were there, but the order was horrible. So my sister (now a prof. of British literature, then running the English department’s tutoring program at her university) handed me a pair of scissors and a roll of tape and said “Cut out every clause and put it together in some sort of order.” I did. I made a 6 foot long scroll out of it, then re-typed it. The professor expected us to hand in our edits–he wanted to see our process–and was somewhat taken aback when he saw the neatly folded 6′ long cut-and-paste essay!

        2. Ellis Bell*

          Typing terms were huge in the newspaper industry, which I joined post-typewriter. The provenance of “cut and paste” was always painstakingly explained by the oldest member of staff, so we would know how lucky we were to not have to literally snip things out. Also, whenever we sent “copy” to the newsdesk folder, there was an automatic doppleganger file sent to our “carbons” folder. This was also explained to us: “That’s because the typewritten copy used to use carbon paper to make a copy.” To be fair, the explained newsroom terms were far better than the unexplained ones.

          1. JustaTech*

            I’ll admit to being shocked when my mom told me about a short-term job she had doing cut-and-paste on scientific abstracts; she would literally cut them out of one piece of paper and use rubber cement to paste them on another piece of paper.

            “I thought it would be an interesting job, getting to read all those abstracts, but we had to go fast, and that glue!”

    3. NotAnotherManager!*

      I learned to type on a typewriter, and I’m not kidding when I say that MS Word entirely changed my writing process. My mom is an outliner/drafter/reviser and tried to teach me to write that way and then type up the final version. Once I got a computer, I figured out that I’m a type out every idea I have out on the page and then cut/paste/rearrange it/insert new things type of person. My style has to be proofed more closely because I’m writing all over the place and more prone to typos and half-sentences, but it works much better for me than how I was taught to write.

  35. Dinwar*

    I find the emotional reactions to single vs double spaces after periods very strange. The only time I notice such spacing is when Word does the angry red scribble under the double spaces; once I force Word to ignore that, it literally never registers one way or another to me. Even if I do notice, I can think of thousands of better things to devote emotional energy towards.

    I’m not saying anyone else is wrong. I’m just saying, from my perspective it strikes me as a very weird thing to get emotional over.

    1. SomebodyElse*

      If you think people get a little testy over the space after a period. You should toss out the oxford comma grenade and watch the reaction :)

      FTR: I’m on team double space and oxford comma

      1. Nitpicker*

        I learned to use 2 spaces back in the Neolithic era. Only learned about using 1 when I was proofreading an employee’s work about 10 years ago. I’m used to the 2 spaces and think it looks clearer but I’m not that concerned either way.
        The Oxford comma however – I’m definitely on Team Oxford and can’t think of any reason not to use it.

      2. Dinwar*

        See, the Oxford comma makes some sense. It helps the reader understand the intent, and can change the meaning of a sentence (amusing examples of this are pretty easy to find online). It’s still not something I consider getting emotional about, however; it’s a tool, and whether the author and editors use it or abstain from its use is entirely context-dependent.

        I certainly wouldn’t say “This is the hill I’m willing to die on” or the like about a comma, though!

      3. This or That*

        There was a court case over a will involving four children a few decades ago. The clause in dispute read: The estate shall be divided evenly between Abe, Bob, Charlie and Daniel.

        The judge ruled the estate should be divided into 3 parts, with Charlie and Daniel splitting one third.

        This was almost certainly not the intent of the person writing the will, but technically correct. A simple comma would have cleared that up.

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          There’s a much more recent one, too – O’Connor v. Oakhurst Dairy, 851 F.3d 69 (1st Cir. 2017) cost the dairy industry about $5M because of the lack of an Oxford comma.

    2. bamcheeks*

      I am too. I think of myself as pretty sensitive to type, but by the time things have been smoothed out in variable width fonts I can’t see a difference.

    3. Stuckinacrazyjob*

      Yes I can’t see it at all and I’m not sure which one I do. I guess it’s the issue of not being detail oriented

    4. londonedit*

      Yeah, I’m an editor at a book publisher and I have authors who get so hung up on how their Word doc manuscript needs to look. They add in all sorts of fancy formatting…and then I have to try to strip it all out because we just need something plain to work with. It all changes completely once it’s typeset into the proofs that will become the book, because when that happens we use a text design, so there’s no point spending ages formatting the Word doc! I have found that American authors are far, far more attached to things like this than British ones – my British authors are happy to go with our house style (which is very informal; we like to keep things consistent across the list but we’re not going to be too rigid about things because it’s more about consistency within a book and about the author’s voice coming over in an authentic way) but the US ones will really cling on to certain points of style/formatting. I wonder whether it’s an education thing? When I was at uni (doing an English degree, no less) we were taught proper referencing but there were no hard and fast style rules for essays – as long as you were consistent and you didn’t have spelling and grammar errors all over the place. I get the impression (I could be wrong) that in the US it’s very important for college essays to conform to a particular ‘house style’ and therefore people get very attached to the way they were taught to do things?

      1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

        I think your hypothesis about school drilling in “this is how to format” has merit.

        My mind went to a hypothesis of creative procrastination (i.e., I’m working on my manuscript! How it looks totally matters…).

      2. Jackalope*

        This is true. When I was in college we were told which specific formatting style we were required to use and then we would get docked points from our grade if we didn’t follow the rules exactly. In some cases I could understand that – for example, once I accidentally did my source citing in a way that didn’t have all of the needed information and could have resulted in the original authors not receiving the appropriate credit – but it was harder to understand marking down for getting the indentation slightly off. I also had a prof who required a specific font, size, spacing, and so on; I did what she asked but it was still a bit odd to me.

        1. Dinwar*

          “In some cases I could understand that – for example, once I accidentally did my source citing in a way that didn’t have all of the needed information and could have resulted in the original authors not receiving the appropriate credit…”

          The problem there is that citation style guides haven’t kept up with modern technology. The style guides I had to work with (and why does every professor have to pick a different one?!) worked fine when you found books and articles by going to a library and looking up the information in a card catalogue, but as much of a Luddite as I am I haven’t used one of those since high school, and then only to show someone else the theory behind it! Add in the fact that some modern references (such as online databases from research institutions, which are periodically updated) are in constant flux, and citation style guides are simply not useful in the modern era.

          Also, many professors don’t look that close. I used to use an open source word processor which was 99% compatible with Word. One of the weird quirks was that double spaced (ie, a line between each line of text) was actually 0.85% spaced. Meaning that my essays were always 15% longer than they needed to be. I didn’t realize that for three years, when my computer went down and I had to use a campus computer for editing an essay. Not one of those professors would have noticed single vs double spaces after a period!

    5. Elenna*

      Yes, I was just saying above that I’m looking at my (one space) comments and comparing them to people who put two spaces and I genuinely can’t see any difference.

    6. Elsajeni*

      I can understand people being annoyed about it when their work involves editing and formatting text written by other people — like, this specific thing doesn’t bother me that much, but I find it very irritating to be working on a document and discover where someone has used 18 spaces to make two lines of text line up, or whatever. There is a standard, neat way to do this, you have instead done it in a weird messy way, and now I have to go through and tidy it up! And I can understand people with a very keen eye for spacing finding it bothersome when published text looks “off” to them. But yeah, I think a lot of this is similar to the (maybe passe now?) “fandom” around the Oxford comma that you used to see — like, no one is actually coming to wrest your commas or your extra spaces from your hands, you’re just declaring that you’re going to die on an inconsequential hill for the fun of it.

  36. Bunny Girl*

    #4 – I am a later in life student (I’m 30 and graduating in a couple months) and I was SO shocked when one of my professors sent out an email telling us that using 12 point font and double space to write our essays was old fashioned looking! She preferred size 11 and single spaced; which for me was just harder to read. So I guess things are just changing.

    1. EPLawyer*

      11 point? Does she LIKE eye strain after reading 20 papers written in tiny font?

      Okay, I am old and grumpy and am seriously considering going to 14 point. I definitely enlarge stuff on my screen these days. Also as you can see, team double-space all the way.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        I even have AAM on 125% magnification I am not here for anyone printing in 11 point font lol

        1. Bunny Girl*

          Ha! That’s a good one. Even at 31 (with not the best eye-sight, I admit) I struggle with that expectation. I would just type the paper in my preferred font then change it before I turned anything in for her.

      2. Weaponized Pumpkin*

        Wait, 11 is small?! Even at 50 that’s the largest I ever use. (Thought it does depend on the typeface.)

        1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

          I forgot to make my actual my point, which was that 11 is what I choose when I’m trying to make things more readable for others so my calibration is off.

          1. Curmudgeon in California*

            Yes, 11 point is a little small. I use it a lot, but I have a big monitor. IMO 12 point is preferred. For web stuff I leave everything default so people can override with whatever is comfortable for them.

    2. Observer*

      Yeah, I get skipping double spacing. But the smaller font? WHY?

      Not that it really matters – I’m betting that she’s not printing them, so she can zoom as much as she wants

      1. Bunny Girl*

        I have a new version of MS Office and I did notice that the default setting size for my fonts is 11. I don’t understand it much but if it’s the new thing then it is what it is I guess.

      2. NotAnotherManager!*

        I’m the opposite – I’m fine with the default 11-point Calibri, but, on an academic paper, I’d like at least 1.5 spacing on the lines, please, plus first-line paragraph indents and block quotes for anything over 50 words.

  37. CRM*

    TIL that double spaces after a period was taught in school and used to be the standard! I’m on the Gen Z/Millennial border and we were never taught this. My former boss used to do this and I always thought it was a recurring typo (she was sometimes inconsistent on double vs single spacing), but I never brought it up. Now I’m glad I didn’t say anything!

  38. Liv*

    It is the year 2022 and my boss still insists on 2 spaces after a period. Amazed to see it was already outdated in 2015. So annoying.

  39. The Nileometer*

    I’m a little surprised at this answer. If the boss is telling you to scrap batteries, then scrapping batteries becomes a high priority (replace “scrapping batteries” with whatever small task meets best with any given readers situation). If your coworkers are asking you what you are getting done, then the advice is appropriate. Go ahead and tell them it is a small portion of your job and you’ll just have to see how much you get done. But when it’s your boss? If your boss tells you what needs to be done, then it needs to be done and some thing else is going to have to slip. This is true whether you are doing the task to raise money for a barbecue or doing the task for some other reason.

    I judge the bejeezus out of you. I know this LW said she is young, but come on, tell me you went to high school in the 80s without telling me that you went to high school in the 80s. No major style guide uses two Spaces after a period anymore, and two spaces after a period went out in printed books long before it went out in typed or Word documents.

    1. Cmdrshpard*

      Eh but it is likely one of those that the boss isn’t actually saying this is a top priority. This is one of those tasks that is part of OP’s job but likely to be done as time allows.

      I’ve been in several jobs like this where there are tedious tasks that always need to be done/worked on but usually the idea is you work on it when you have some slow time and most other pressing work in done. Occasionally it can become a priority if the backlog get to big and then you work on it first, but most of the time you are expected to work on it last.

      If OP asked to take something else off their plate the answer will probably be no.

    2. JustaTech*

      Interestingly, my “Little English Handbook” (8th ed, 1998) has nothing to say in any direction about spaces.
      Neither does my “A Short Guide to Writing About Biology” (2001).

      Now, I don’t have a copy of Strunk and White (that’s the one everyone references, right?), so I don’t know if it has something to say on the subject.
      But I sure as anything didn’t go to high school in the 80’s, so using two spaces is not a definitive dating tool.

    3. Summer*

      You seriously judge people based on the number of spaces they use after a period?? Please, touch grass.

  40. KK*

    Yes please on the behind the scenes! How do you recall or identify the original letter, when updates are sent in?

  41. Amber Rose*

    I actually have nightmares about fruit flies from the infestation my old office had once. It was so bad I tried to eat a sandwich and two seconds after unwrapping it, it had 20 flies on it. I had to eat in my car for weeks.

  42. lilsheba*

    #4 — use double spaces! I’ve always used them after a period, I don’t care if it’s not the norm now. It’s what I was taught and what I will continue to do until the day I die. Anyone who doesn’t like it can just deal.

    1. Nonprofit writer*

      The intensity of this response kind of makes me laugh! I bet you could change if your boss required you to. As a wordsmith/editorial type, I have all kinds of stylistic things that I used to feel strongly about…until I had to change, and I realized that it’s really not that hard after all.

      As for those of us who don’t “like” it, it’s really not an emotional preference for me, it’s a practical matter. If you were one of my clients and I was collaborating with you on a grant proposal, and you sent me text that had double spaces after each sentence, I’d charge you more, because I have to spend more time deleting those extra spaces (which can screw up character counts in grant portals that have strict character limits and prevent us from including all the text we want to include about the program we are trying to fund).

      1. lilsheba*

        Since that is not even likely to be in my future for any reason, that’s kind of a pointless analogy. And I will still keep on doing it so …whatever.

      2. NotAnotherManager!*

        If someone charged me extra for replacing double spaces after a period with just one, I’d assume they were punitively overcharging me for being “old fashioned” (and take them off the provider list) because you can do a global replace for period-space-space to period-space, and it takes maybe 15 seconds.

  43. Girasol*

    Re: the barbecue funded by recycling: Is OP sure that the boss has permission to use recycling funds this way? It’s worth double checking. My boss funded a fine Christmas party for us with the money from recycling scrapped copper wire. He got in trouble afterward. He was told that the recycling money should all have gone to the company and he should have requested party funding from the company as usual. They would have preferred to approve something more modest.

  44. Didi Nic*

    Regarding two spaces after the period, I’m an Executive Assistant, and I can say for sure that hardly anyone will judge a person for still using 2 spaces, but consistency is the key. It’s a really really hard habit to train oneself out of. And as a person who has to review documents for consistency, it’s so much less annoying to deal with a 2 spaces person, than it is to deal with a 2 spaces person who is trying to teach themself to be a 1 space person, and the document is filled with these 2s and 1s.

  45. Tango Maureen*

    Funnily enough, a friend of mine who works in insurance had to break her single-space habit and start double-spacing after a period for her work documents! So there is at least one company out there where all you double-spacers would fit right in.

  46. AppleStan*

    You are more than welcome to have my double-space after the period as soon as you are able to pry it from my cold, dead hands that have been encased in titanium, teflon, and adamantium.

  47. ragazza*

    As a writer and editor . . . please don’t use two spaces after a period! I know I can use “find/replace” to fix them but it’s still annoying.

  48. Safely Retired*

    Time flies like an arrow.
    But fruit flies like a banana.

    I’m a two spaces guy for the last 50 years. My fingers will continue to do what they have done. Fortunately for the world, nobody has to edit my output.

  49. dedicated1776*

    Here to vote for a Q&A on how the site works BTS! I don’t have my own site and don’t expect I ever will, just a nerd. :)

  50. Summer*

    I would love to see a Q&A regarding the behind the scenes running of the website! I find stuff like that to be fascinating.

Comments are closed.