Communication in the digital age has plenty of strange trappings. Periods can seem aggressive; complete, punctuated sentences can read as uptight. And then there's the strange space that's seemed to pop up, more and more, between the last word of a sentence and its end mark.
You probably know someone who texts, chats, or tweets this way. Maybe you do it! As well as being a fully harmless phenomenon (a rarity on the internet), it's a habit that's easy to fall into when the people around you are doing it. But why put a space in the first place?
The first and most obvious explanation is ... French. Yes, the whole language. In French, exclamation points, question marks, colons, and semi-colons (all forms of "high" punctuation) should always have a space preceding them. For example, if you wanted to text your friend about how much you hate being online, you'd say Je déteste être en ligne ! (In the typewriter era, these spaces were thin and non-breaking; now, they often take the form of standard spaces.) Read more...More about Twitter, Texting, Relationships, Social Media, and Linguistics