Why people leave a space after punctuation in texts

What's up ?
What’s up ?
Image: Vicky Leta / Mashable

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?

Thank you. I will !

Thank you. I will !

Image: Mashable

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.)

When French speakers type in English, it can be difficult to break this habit. Cailey Rizzo, 26, who is fluent in both French and English, finds herself slipping into the practice naturally, especially when her iPhone is set to the French keyboard. “When I’m in French brain things are very very different,” she said. “Like even when I’m talking to a French person but in English, I think I add the space … I must just have some sort of muscle memory in the double space tap that’s linked to French.”

Amanda, 25, speaks French and has lots of French-speaking friends, but doesn’t often text in French. Still, she finds herself leaving spaces before exclamation points and question marks. “But I’m not sure if it has to do with speaking French or not,” she reasoned. Instead, she thinks she’s probably subconsciously mimicking her friends’ behavior.

Zelda, 30, is also a French speaker who tends to leave spaces before exclamation points and question marks when texting in English. She chalks it up partially to having lived in France, but it’s also just force of habit. “My thumb automatically hits a space after everything and it seems a waste of effort to go back and delete it,” she said.

‘I get irked when things look crowded even if it’s grammatically correct.’

Of course, there are non-French speakers who have also chosen to use the space. There are even people who — gasp — put a space before “low” punctuation like periods and commas. While some of this comes across as sloppy Francophilia, there are people who opt for the space as a form of sentence cushioning, a way to decrease the (self-perceived) force behind their statements. In essence, they’re taking the French approach based on intuition alone. 

“It’s purely my subconscious and obsession w[ith] proportions and negative space,” Rachel, 30, explained. “I get irked when things look crowded even if it’s grammatically correct. So I can’t help but take liberties … it needs room to breathe!”

In a 2015 New York Times piece, Jessica Bennett expresses a similar sentiment:

So instead of responding to a text with “Cant wait!!” I’ll insert a space or two before the mark — “Cant wait !!” – for that extra little pause. Sometimes I’ll make the exclamation point a parenthetical, as a kind of after thought (“Can’t wait (!)”). A friend inserts an ellipses — “Can’t wait … !!” — so, as she puts it, “it’s less intense.”

And then there’s the device. Even those with no background in French nor any language-cushioning impulses may find themselves using the space from time to time. On iMessage, for example, selecting a word using predictive text automatically places a space after it. In our newsroom’s experience, sometimes the space goes away when you add punctuation and sometimes it does not — meaning that we ran the risk of being an unwitting space user. (This is regardless of whether the “smart punctuation” setting was enabled.)

Mignon Fogarty, who founded the website Quick and Dirty Tips, discovered as much when she surveyed readers about the space-before-punctuation uptick in 2011. A huge number of people reported that they’d noticed their devices automatically adding a space after using predictive text. To fix the issue, she reasoned, “you have to backspace before typing the period, question mark, or exclamation point. So if you’re not paying attention, or you’re simply lazy, it’s easy to leave that space in.”

With all this in mind, you have a few tools to detect why that new person you’ve been texting won’t stop leaving spaces before commas. If they’re not actually observing French grammatical norms — remember, the comma is low punctuation — they might be attempting to “soften” their phrasing. Or perhaps they exclusively type using predictive text. Or, less flatteringly, they are trying to imbue their messages with a European affect because they think it will make them sound cultured.

But even in the course of writing this story, I found myself more and more compelled to just leave a little space every now and then. Last week, I caught myself doing it in an Instagram caption. I’m not sure why, exactly; it just felt more laid-back, more elegant, more … French? Oh god.

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Swiping sucks, so here are 5 dating sites for guys to find love in the UK

Online dating doesn’t have to be completely terrible and these sites prove it.

Best for focused online dating

Founded in the year 2000, eharmony is the direct rival of Match. Although they have similar features, eharmony is a more focused experience.

Best for relationships

One of the leading names in online dating with millions upon millions of users in 25 countries in more than eight languages.

Dating can be tough. Sometimes you want to make the first move, but you don’t want to appear over eager. But if you play it too cool, you risk getting ignored all together. The proposition can be frustrating and intimidating, especially if you don’t know what’s out there or where to start.

Online dating is great but with all of the options out there, it can sometimes feel like too much choice. Throw in busy lives and daily responsibilities, and the thought of combing through countless profiles sounds like the last thing you want to do. We get it, we really do. 

After going through many, many dating sites and apps, we’ve narrowed down the best options for single men looking for something casual or a long-term relationship. So even if it doesn’t sound like something you want to be doing, you can rest assured that these sites offer the best potential for finding a great match.

We looked at a number of factors that make a dating app worth using, including visibility, popularity with singles, ease of use, lifestyle, and success rate with matches to find the ones that matter to single men the most. Whether you’re looking for a casual fling or a committed relationship, we have a dating site for you and the matches you want. 

Here are the four best dating sites and apps for single men looking for love:

Privacy and verification are top notch • Very comprehensive files • Serious relationships welcome

Long and tedious questionnaire • No search • The site is very limited without premium account

The Bottom Line

This dating site is considered one of the best for working professionals with busy careers, but who also want deep and long-lasting relationships

1. Elite Singles

Aimed at successful working professionals looking for other successful singles.

  • Free version:
  • 3-months:
  • 6-months:
  • 12-months:
For men who have busy lives and busy careers, Elite Singles is a great options. This dating site is aimed directly at successful professionals looking for other successful singles who are not often found on traditional dating sites like OkCupid and Zoosk. Elite Singles also has a high success rate based on its ‘intelligent matching‘ and high quality users.
How it works: Filling out the Elite Singles questionnaire is a long and lengthy undertaking. It roughly takes about 45 minutes to an hour to complete, so the dating site is for men who are serious about finding a partner. This means the men and women who are on Elite Singles are generally in their mid-30s to late-50s. 
What’s unique: While there is no search option, Elite Singles offers user features that filter matches based on their preferences, such as height, religion, distance, and so on. 
The dating site also offers users three to seven matches a day, along with a useful ‘Have you Met’ feature that shows you potential matches who fall slightly outside of your preferences, so you don’t miss out on others you might not have considered. 
It seems restrictive, but Elite Singles is so confident with their intelligent matching system that they do all the hard work for you. After all, your career is busy enough as it is, so you probably don’t have time to endlessly swipe through profiles. Leave it up to Elite Singles and let them do the heavy lifting for you.
Sign up for Elite Singles here (mobile version here).

Millions of users • LGBTQ friendly • Sex positive attitude

Bad design • Expensive • It looks like an ad for porn (NSFW)

The Bottom Line

If you can get through the amount of fake profiles, it’s one of the best dating sites if you’re looking for something casual with like-minded individuals

2. AdultFriendFinder

Just looking for something casual? AdultFriendFinder is where you want to be.

  • Free Version:
  • 1-month of GOLD:
  • 3-months of GOLD:
  • 12-months of GOLD:
To put it bluntly, AdultFriendFinder is a dating site for men who are looking for something casual. Also known as the “world’s largest sex and swinger community,” the site doesn’t hide that fact with euphemisms.
With more than 25 million men and women using the site monthly, AdultFriendFinder is the premiere hookup site on the internet. In addition, the dating site has also received numerous awards from the porn industry. If it’s some quick action you’re looking for, or if you’re just looking to connect online with people in the same mindset as you, AdultFriendFinder is the place to be.
How it works: After filling out a questionnaire — which is surprisingly in-depth and includes info about gender, sexual orientations, relationship status, and who you’re looking to meet — men are then taken to the main page where they can search for like-minded people who are also looking for sexual relationships or just casual sex.
What’s unique: It’s one of the first dating sites that’s explicitly about hooking up. AdultFriendFinder has a very broad user base from every walk of life, so no matter what your kinks might be, there’s a very good chance you’ll find someone on the dating site who shares the same taste. 
However, the site also has its fair share of fake users, which might make it very difficult to find someone to fool around with. But if you can weed through the fakes, you should be satisfied. If you’re strictly looking to get laid or experience no-strings-attached sex, then AdultFriendFinder is a must.
Sign up for AdultFriendFinder here.

Match users are serious about finding a real relationship • It’s the first online dating site

The verification waiting period is annoying • Long questionnaire is tedious • It’s expensive when there are cheaper alternatives out there

The Bottom Line

If you’re serious about finding a long-term relationship and you have the disposable income, then Match is the gold standard for online dating and meeting new people

3. Match

One of the leading names in online dating with millions upon millions of users in 25 countries in more than eight languages.

  • Free Version:
  • 3-months:
  • 6-months:
  • 12-months:
If you’re a single man and you’re continuously striking out on Tinder, then maybe you should consider levelling up to the gold standard in online dating.
Since 1995, Match has been one of the leading names in online dating, with millions upon millions of users in 25 countries speaking more than eight languages. It’s designed for older men and women who are looking for serious relationships instead of something casual or random hookups. The dating site is also responsible for thousands of lifelong matches and marriages over the last 20 years or so.
How it works: Since Match was one of the first in the online dating market, it works pretty similarly to most others that came after it, like eharmony and OkCupid. You complete a pretty extensive questionnaire about your personality and what you’re looking for in an ideal match.
Afterwards, Match has a 24-hour waiting period for verification before you can start using the service. This is so the dating site isn’t bombarded with fake profiles. But once you’re in you can message, favorite, wink, and talk with other users until you match and start going on dates in the real world.
What’s unique: Most men on Match know what kind of relationship they want, so users are generally more serious about something long-term than users on Tinder or AdultFriendFinder. 
Since it’s a premium site, there shouldn’t be any fake profiles that might discourage you from this whole online dating business. Match has to approve all new users before using the dating site. After verification, you can use it for free during a seven-day trial period. After that, you can decide to continue for a monthly or yearly fee.
Find your best match and sign up for Match here.

Free version • Great options if you prefer to chat • Social interaction is encouraged

You can’t actually connect with matches without paying first

The Bottom Line

Members are encouraged to be active on the social forums, which could lead to something more serious, if your chat is good enough

4. GayFriendFinder

The best option for single gay men looking to meet other like-minded men.

  • Free version:
  • One month:
  • Three months:
  • One year:
GayFriendFinder is a great option if you are looking for something casual, something serious, or just the opportunity to have a conversation with other gay men. So pretty much everything is covered with GayFriendFinder.
How it works: Once you’ve made it through the sign-up process, you can browse the profiles from all around the globe. You can still create hot-lists and send ice-breakers to guys that take your fancy if you are a standard member, but you’ll need to upgrade to initiate contact via email or chat.
GayFriendFinder will encourage you to upload photos to make your profile more attractive but you are under no obligation to do so, which is nice if you aren’t completely comfortable with having your photo shared around the site.
There’s a free version which is great, but most communication as well as viewing full profiles requires a paid membership, so you can’t really progress things with anyone until you pay up, but that seems like a fair deal.
What’s unique: The main reason this site makes this list is the fantastic social features that help you get to know your potential connection before you opt in or out of meeting them. This site is all about the social interaction, and the chat and forum features help members to interact much more than a lot of the competition.

Users are serious about finding a relationship • More focused experience in online dating

It’s expensive • No search features • Filling out a profile could take as long as an hour-and-a-half

The Bottom Line

If you’re serious about finding someone to love, this is a very good, albeit expensive, way to meet someone special

5. eHarmony

Founded in the year 2000, eharmony is the direct rival of Match. Although they have similar features, eharmony is a more focused experience.

  • Free version:
  • 3-months:
  • 6-months:
  • 12-months:
Founded in 2000, eharmony is the direct rival of Match. Although they have similar features, eharmony is a more focused experience. In addition, this dating site is considered one of the best sites for men who are looking to get married. So if you’re a man who wants to commit to a great partner, then you should consider eharmony to find your special someone.
How it works: eharmony’s sign-up process is more in depth and time consuming to get through than the questionnaire on Match. The questions asked during sign-up are designed to weed out ‘players’ and ‘serial daters’ because eharmony is interested in matching men with compatible partners for long-term relationships. 
So if you get frustrated during the sign-up process, just remember that you’re looking for a life partner and not just a random fling. But once it’s complete, the dating site has a better idea of who you are and who is your ideal match. 
In addition, users on eharmony are a bit older than the ones you’d find on Tinder because it’s a premium site. In other words, if you’re paying to use a dating site, then you’re super serious about meeting your soulmate.
What’s unique:  The dating platform uses their own scientific method called ‘29 Dimensions of Compatibility.’ Its sole purpose is to find you the best possible matches that are more suitable to you, as it tries to ‘match couples based on features of compatibility found in thousands of successful relationships.’
Sign up for eharmony here.

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Crush Twitter proves that sometimes subtweets can be good

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Subtweeting crushes > Losing feathers over them
Image: bob al-greene / mashable

An Ode to… is a weekly column where we share the stuff we’re really into in hopes that you’ll be really into it, too.

Twitter is the very definition of “too many cooks in the kitchen,” but breaking the platform down into sections and focusing on your own specific interests makes it significantly more bearable.

People who are passionate about government issues, for example, can follow Politics Twitter. Those looking to promote their businesses in a cheesy fashion can engage with Brand Twitter. And rom-com obsessed hopeless romantics like myself, who aren’t afraid to share their hearts on their timelines, have Crush Twitter. 

Now, when I say Crush Twitter, I’m not referring to some creepy online community dedicated to stalking crushes. Crush Twitter is simply a section of social media where people lightly broadcast their crush-related frustrations, make jokes, and empathize with others who understand first-hand how miserable and magical having a crush can be.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the term “crush,” it’s defined as “an intense and usually passing infatuation.” The official definition isn’t technically incorrect, but it’s a painfully simplistic summation that fails to capture all the hidden emotional tolls having a crush can take on a person.

As someone who’s had a fair share of crushes over the years, I can say with absolute ambivalence that the experience is a tantalizing and torturous emotional roller coaster. This is a truth that Crush Twitter understands perfectly.

Wondering whether or not your crush is requited, parsing conversations for subtext, explaining interactions to your friends, and playing an endless loop of potential scenarios in your head are all common parts of a crush. And they’re exhausting, so sometimes releasing a fraction of your frustration — even if it’s by sending a single tweet — can be very therapeutic.

While crush frustration is definitely a go-to topic of discussion on Crush Twitter, the community of brave souls who publicly admit to having crushes also enjoy using humor to make light of relatable crush-related realities, like so.

Crush Twitter knows crushes are fickle, tricky things, too, so sometimes members also check in with each other by asking some deep questions.

And of course, Crush Twitter is the perfect place to turn to for advice when the going gets tough.

The great thing about Crush Twitter is that it’s open to anyone who needs it, and even celebrities, like Mindy Kaling, have made some amazing contributions over the years.

When you think about it, Crush Twitter is essentially comprised of a bunch of subtweets. But they’re not malicious ones.

Since many people keep the identities of their crushes secret — and oftentimes crushes themselves don’t even know they’re crushes — the source of inspiration behind each crush tweet can rarely be traced back to one particular individual. 

While the term “crush” carries so much weight and can easily be used as shorthand to refer to one specific individual in conversation with friends, without any context the word is vague. So rather than serving as obvious, pointed digs designed to call out the object of one’s affection, crush tweets are crafted in such a way that they broadly appeal to anyone who’s ever had a crush.

Even the official Twitter account recognizes Crush Twitter, though they don’t quite get it. On several occasions the account has tried to partake in public crush discussions by prompting users to reveal the names or handles of their crushes. But that’s not Crush Twitter’s style.

Crush Twitter is committed to anonymity, and for  anyone who’s ever had a crush it will serve as a relatable, cathartic, and hilarious online safe haven.

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There's up to 50% off Valentine's Day gifts in the Lovehoney UK sale

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
Romance is in the air.
Romance is in the air.
Image: pexels

There’s no right or wrong way to treat your partner this Valentine’s Day. 

You could have something elaborate planned, involving a brass band and fireworks, or you could be planning on cooking and treating your lover to a cosy night in. Whichever way you are going, so long as you are making them feel loved, you’re doing it right.

If you are looking to treat your partner to a kinky gift this Valentine’s Day, then look no further, because Lovehoney’s top Valentine’s gifts are up to 50% off. You can add some sparkle to your sex life with a range of discounted lingerie sets and toys. You’ll have to act fast, though, because the sale ends at midnight on Feb. 13.

So whether you are going with flowers, chocolates, a massive gesture, a Lovehoney gift, or something else entirely, it really doesn’t matter so long as you are making your partner happy. What does matter is getting a good deal, however, and that’s exactly what’s on offer right now from Lovehoney.

Save up to 50% and treat your partner right this year with Lovehoney.

Image: Lovehoney

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Wish your crush a 'Happy Valentine's Day' with these wonderfully witty cards

Marie Kondo's got Valentine's Day covered.
Marie Kondo’s got Valentine’s Day covered.
Image: vicky Leta / mashable

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, which means love is in the air. But this year we want to spread some love online, too.

In honor of the day devoted to all things cute, romantic, and lovey dovey, we created some adorably witty internet and pop culture-inspired Valentine’s Day cards for you to share with your Twitter followers, co-workers, friends, crushes, and significant others.

These five stunning GIF cards — inspired by hot topics of discussion like the candy heart shortage, Marie Kondo, The Office, and few popular memes — are the perfect way to let others know how you feel this Feb. 14.

1. The hearts are back, baby

When news broke that there wouldn’t be any traditional Sweethearts Conversation Candy Hearts this year due to some changes at Necco, Valentine’s Day 2019 seemed doomed. The popular holiday candy is expected to return in 2020, but to hold you over we decided to make our own conversation hearts in card form.

We took it upon ourselves to stray from classic candy heart text like “Kiss me” and “I love you,” to highlight a few fun, current phrases instead. Some, like Donald Trump’s “BYE BYE,” and Jeff Bezos’ “I love you, alive girl” are a bit cringey, but Peter Kaivnky’s “woah woah woah,” and Ariana Grande’s “Thank u, next” will help balance them out.

Mashable conversation hearts.

Image: vicky leta / mashable

2. It is Valentine’s Day.

Our card inspired by the Dwight K. Schrute’s infamous birthday banner is perfect for anyone who’s looking to wish their co-workers a “Happy Valentine’s Day,” or is simply very apathetic this holiday season.

Happy Valentine's Day from Dwight and Jim.

Image: vicky leta / mashable

In Season 5, Episode 16 of The Office, Dwight and Jim attempt to make up after forgetting Kelly’s birthday by throwing her a last-minute party with sad balloons and an extremely to-the-point birthday banner.

Dwight argues that, while boring, his banner is “professional” and “a statement of fact.” So why not apply that level of accuracy to Feb. 14?

3. Let Marie Kondo do the talking

Want to let your crush know they spark joy this Valentine’s Day but not sure how? Let a professional help.

Our Marie Kondo-themed card is perfect for anyone who needs a little guidance when sharing their feelings. And if you’re really in the mood to KonMari your declaration of love, we suggest printing the card out and folding it perfectly in thirds before sending.

Have Marie Kondo tell your crush they spark joy.

Image: vicky leta / mashable

4. A big romantic meme dress

In honor of those giant meme dresses from Viktor & Rolf’s Spring 2019 Couture Collection, we’ve designed our own poofy Valentine’s Day dress. We can think of no better day to curl up on the couch and watch fictional love stories. Send this card to that special someone who you’re dying to watch a romantic comedy with. 

Large Valentine's Day meme dress. Perfect for inviting someone to watch a rom com with you.

Image: vicky leta / mashable

5. For that special someone you really, really, really like

You know the “really meme” that spread on Twitter earlier this year? The one where people dramatically type the word “really” over and over again in a wavy vertical line before they get to their actual point? Well, that meme always reminds me of Carly Rae Jepsen’s 2015 crush anthem, “I Really Like You.”

We combined the music video, which stars Tom Hanks (and has Carly Rae and Justin Bieber cameos,) and the meme to create this unique Valentine’s Day card. Now you can tell someone you “really, really really, really, really, really” like them using music and laughter.

'I really like you' meme

Image: vicky leta / mashable

Best Valentine’s Day wishes to you all.

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