This may seem like a niggling, superfluous, even frivolous grammatical argument, and it is. But it’s also a harbinger, a foreshadowing of something more ominous, and we should all be wary of it.
The argument is how many spaces should be left after a period and before the next sentence. Old codgers and grammar traditionalists such as myself say two. All the hip kids and Silicon Valley technocrats say one.
This is in response to a comment I saw on Facebook from one of the latter group saying “Now you are free! You no longer have to put two spaces after a period!”
This is not freedom. Freedom is being able to put as many spaces as you damned well please. This is the first step. The number of spaces is now determined by the media you are using. Try to leave two spaces. See what happens.
First, the computers determine how many spaces between sentences is correct, and offer helpful spelling and grammar suggestions. Some day soon, those will be auto-corrected and it will be difficult to spell anything in an alternative fashion. As a grammar guy I kind of like that idea, even though I realize it’s a slippery slope.
Eventually you will not be able to post anything that is incorrect or employs logical fallacies. We will have a world in which arguments are conducted intelligently, and to the best possible conclusions. It will be great for scientists, engineers and mathematicians and will lead to a stronger society in some ways, but it will be a less human, and far less free society.
Proceed with caution. If you are writing out your remarks longhand, or using a program that allows it, you can still leave extra spaces. Just to fuck things up, you beautiful rebel, you.