If I could only get my hands on my middle school English teacher…
…I’d sit her down for a nice long chat about how she set me up for twenty years of bad grammatical habits. Today’s gripe? The double space after a sentence. I clearly remember the number of times she drilled this practice into us, writing example sentences on the chalkboard (chalkboard! yes, I’m that old) with two individually underlined blank spaces between each line. That was the proper way to write, she told us._ _Two spaces must separate each sentence._ _Didn’t we want to demonstrate good grammar? Of course we did, and–sucker that I am–I’ve been writing that way ever since. This year I’ve been trying to break the habit, and it’s harder than trying to quit smoking. I double space unconsciously, like capitalizing an “I” or posting fanfic on Buffy websites. (Oh, Spike…) Half the time I’ll proofread an email and kick myself for that one sneaky double space that slipped in there somehow. Today, though, I got an affirmation that things really aren’t so bad. I opened an email from a customer who had put a double return between each sentence.
A double return.
And I started to worry that my single spaced reply would throw her entire world out of balance.
But I took the chance anyway. Maybe I’ll sit down with her after I’m done with my English teacher.