KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Monday, August 10, 2009

How to Mess with an Editor's Head

Sixth edition of APA style manualScary news for copyeditors: The new sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association brings back two spaces between sentences! See here, under "Chapter 4: The Mechanics of Style," on the page of the APA's web site that explains what's different from the fifth edition of the book:

Punctuation—return to two spaces after the period at the end of the sentence recommended for ease of reading comprehension

Just when we'd gotten all our holdout authors trained to use one space, the APA goes and messes with our heads.

Updated at 9:25 p.m.: The APA Style blog says that this change is just to make reviewing draft manuscripts easier for the people who do it; it's not intended for published articles. But that's silly, because somewhere down the line after peer review, some poor schmuck of a production assistant or a freelance copyeditor is going to have to run a macro to remove all the extra spaces.

But holy cow! Someone's set up an entire blog—not just a blog post—in protest of the change.



Anonymous said...

Oh, fer heaven's sake!


Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Thank goodness I don't have too many clients anymore who use APA style!

iEditor said...

We produce PerfectIt, an MS Word add-in that helps professionals to proofread faster. In response to user requests, we added a feature to our most recent version in order to convert two spaces at the end of a sentence into one. We have never had any requests to convert one space into two.

More details and a free download are at:

Unknown said...

Thanks for posting that, Katharine. I just printed the list and slipped it inside my 5th edition. Hopefully that'll get me by, for the time being.

Regarding the 2 spaces[en dash]1 space conversion -- I use Word's find and replace feature. To convert 2 spaces to a single space, I "type" two spaces in the Find window and one space in the Replace window, than hit "go" (or whatever it's called). I run it 3 or 4 times, because it always misses a few, but the whole process only takes a few seconds and thus far has worked like a charm (she typed with her fingers metaphoricaly crossed)

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Yep, it's easy to get rid of the extra spaces with search and replace or with macros. Before I edit a file, I use the Editorium's File Cleaner set of macros, which gets rid of the extra spaces and a bunch of other minor annoyances all at once. In fact, I wouldn't want to edit onscreen without several of the Editorium's macro sets to take care of the monotonous tasks of file management. I just wish that the APA had thought things out better before making this silly change.

Another great helper is Making Word Work for You: An Editor's Intro to the Tool of the Trade.

robyncz said...

As a sometimes-writer/sometimes-editor I can't even type two spaces after end punctuation any more.

YIKES!! Why do they do this to us?

robyncz said...

I've been thinking about it, and I'm back to pose a question. Who put the dang American *Psychological* Association in charge of editorial STYLE anyway?

It just occurred to me that this could all be one big psychology experiment. Just picture the grad students on the other side of the wall. "Hehehehe. Let's tell them to go back to two spaces after a period and see what happens. I'll bet you a pitcher of beer that 98% of them do it. Silly rule-followers."

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Now, why didn't I think of that, Robyn? We'll all have to watch the psychology literature closely to see when the write-up about the experiment appears. ;-)

John Wills Lloyd said...

--->"But holy cow! Someone's set up an entire blog—not just a blog post—in protest of the change." <---

Katharine, thanks for the "link love" (as they say). Over on SpaceWaste, we now have a poll up for folks to express their support (and concern) about APA's recommendation.

For those of us who must write mss. according to APA style, it's a hassle, too..... Sigh.

Funny about Money said...

What on earth are they smoking over there at APA? Can we get some?


Well, you have to search & replace or run Editorium on MSS anyway, because every author and his little sister inserts a bunch of extraneous spaces. But it certainly is annoying. And I fail to see how entering two spaces after every full stop does anything to enhance "ease of reading."

BTW, off topic: I landed a contract with that outfit we spoke of elsewhere. Pay appears to be moderately respectable. Will let you know if they actually DO pay! ;-)

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Good to hear about your contract, FAM. "Moderately respectable" is nothing to sneeze at.

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