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13 November 2013

Setting trends; setting type

Remember when the word ‘trendy’ was, well, trendy? Yet now it is the kiss of death for anything purporting to be modern, innovative, or contemporary — used by people trying desperately to sound ‘cutting edge’ (is this the replacement for ‘trendy’?).

We are all constantly bombarded with change, software updates, new ‘rules’, and fashionable terms. We are urged to keep moving with the times, or risk the infamy caused by using an outdated word to mean ‘up to date’.

This brings me, rather circuitously, to the knotty issue of the number of spaces that should be used after a full stop in normal text. When editors receive a document with double spaces after full stops (or worse!), we tend to sigh and resignedly bring up the Search and Replace function. (But we never use the Search and Replace All option: we’ve all clicked this once in a burst of optimism, with disastrous results.)

The Heraclitean River blog addresses this question comprehensively in its essay here — but leaves editors mumbling into their (metaphorical) beards. In changing times we all tend to accept reasoning when it is backed up by enough people who agree with us. We’re not joining the Flat Earth Society, but it may be time for us to be a little more flexible about the thorny spacing issue.

By Corinna Lines

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