Princess Peach - Empress of the World (ladyofsalzburg) wrote,
Princess Peach - Empress of the World

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The proofing bug

I've started proofing some more things recently.  Very recently, in fact: the last couple of days.  In fairness, one of these items had been sat in my inbox for about two weeks because I've been rather busy with work but I decided to hit this document the other day (mostly because I'd been told by the person who wanted it proofing that they want to finish the online magazine it's for by the end of next week).

The document is hell.  Absolute hell.  The state it is in now is not what I would call 'good' on my standards, it's 'okay', but compared to the state of it before it's now excellent!  There were full stops in the middle of sentences, commas where full stops should have been, random commas and apostrophes just everywhere, crazy formatting and even crazier phrasing, but what's worst of all is that actually aside from the fact that he swaps tenses randomly, half of the information is just missing!  Thankfully I know some of the topic area, but I don't know it all, which makes it insanely difficult to proof!

This brings me to another point.  Double spacing after a full stop.  Before I continue here, I shoud clarify that I mean a full stop at the end of a sentence, rather than in an ellipsis (...), thank you @pastamaster39.

To demonstrate my point I shall be writing the following paragraph and will be using only one space in this paragraph, but I shall be double spacing (again) in the next one. Firstly I would like to say that only single spacing is very odd for me because I was taught to double space when in school. Now I am really having to think every time I write a sentence (in proper prose) to NOT double space. When it comes to things like Twitter, MSN and other such things I am far lazier and do only single space, mostly because on Twitter and in texts a double space uses up characters which I need, and on MSN I often end up just using different lines for different sentences. Thank goodness for the enter button! But yes, I normally double space, just because I was taught to. There are reasons why I was taught to double space after full stops but I shall come on to those in the next paragraph when I am back to double spacing. As you can see here, this is now getting to be quite a substantial size of paragraph. I for one am finding it rather difficult to spot my own sentences, even whilst writing. I can't find the beginning or end of them, especially not in the middle of this paragraph! On the whole I find that if one only single spaces after a full stop then all of the sentences seem to blend into one. I know that there are plenty of published materials out there now which only single space, for whatever reason, and it bugs me because I find I end up losing my place far more frequently. If I had it my way, I would have everyone double spacing, especially when they want things proofed by me (I am sure other proofers think the same way, I'm looking at you ich_bin_die_ruh ). I will now demonstrate why in the next paragraph.

This paragraph has now returned to my usual double spacing after a full stop when in prose.  Immediately you should be able to see a difference between this paragraph and the one above it, just from a quick glance.  You should also, if you so wished to try it, be able to spot the sentences a lot faster in this paragraph than in the other.  By double spacing at the end of a sentence the eye is naturally drawn down the line to the break.  The break is a pause, a natural pause where you can breathe. I find that whilst reading out loud I am always glancing down the lines to find out where the sentence ends. It helps with phrasing and putting the correct inflections into the words.  Without that double space I find myself tending to rush on because I don't know when I'll be able to breathe. It helps with reading and with speaking and naturally it helps with proofing.  When proofing one needs to be able to see where the work is going and how long it takes to get there.  Sometimes it takes only a sentence but sometimes it takes a whole paragraph. If you're trying to correct the grammar and phrasing in a document it helps massively to be able to see easily where the sentences are. In works like this where the sentences are actually just wrong (in one sentence there are two quite good hmm phrases...  I can't quite think of the word I need here...  But they're just in the wrong order and needed swapping round to make it flow) you need to be able to see the whole of the sentence to be able to see that the phrasing in it is incorrect.  Though in this there were sentences with full stops in the middle and there were commas and full stops which were mixed up. If one double spaces after full stops then it also makes it easier to spot when the wrong thing has been done.  It also makes it easier to go back over your own work and edit things because you can find the area you wish to edit far easier, or you can in my opinion!

I don't know how many of you double space.  I know I do and it was hell typing that first paragraph with only single spaces.  I kept double spacing automatically and had to go back and alter it!  I know some people seem to think that it doesn't make a difference, but I think it does, especially when I'm proofing, but I'm interested to see what you guys think.

Do you double space?  Do you think there is a difference between single spacing and double spacing?  Do you prefer one or the other?  Are you not bothered in one slightest bit and are completely bemused as to why I am up on double spacing?  I want your thoughts.  I'd like to see what you think.

Edit: I should add that despite my writing this with double spacing for most of it, when one writes it in HTML rather than rich text for some INSANE reason it reverts back to single spacing when posted...  I have just had to check this by using the show/hide button on Word.  If anyone wants proof of this I'll printscreen it for you, but here it is, correctly, though alas in rich text instead.  LiveJournal you fail sometimes.
Tags: proofing

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