What the heck is a hard-right carriage return?!
May 5, 2012 11:30 AM   Subscribe

What is a hard-right carriage return?

I'm about to submit an article for publication and they specify formatting. They state: "enter two hard-right carriage returns after each paragraph." I have no idea what this means and googling it confused me more!
posted by DorothySmith to Education (8 answers total)
Double space. A "carriage return" is the old school name for the enter key.
posted by moviehawk at 11:32 AM on May 5, 2012

A double space is ambiguous and can mean a double spare bar. A double "return" or "enter" key. Twice the white vertical space.
posted by zadcat at 11:35 AM on May 5, 2012

Thank you! When I googled it, it kept giving me the symbols and I wasn't sure if that meant I should add in symbols as well... which would be ridiculous, I realize. Thank you both! :)
posted by DorothySmith at 11:36 AM on May 5, 2012

Carriage return is a term from early manual typewriters. At the end of each line, you had to return the moving mechanism back to the beginning of each line. To make a space between paragraphs, you did two carriage returns. And a cute little bell rand each time!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:36 AM on May 5, 2012 [7 favorites]

Carriage returns are the thingies on the sides of typewriters that make that big lovely WHACUNK sound when you go to the next line. Moviehawk is correct, it means double space your paragraphs. This is why older keyboards will have both "return" and "enter" on the enter key; that right-angled arrow pointing to the left next to the word "enter" on a lot of keyboards today still means "return", and part of why the key itself is shaped funny.
posted by Mizu at 11:37 AM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Asking for a "Hard" return might be to make sure that you are not relying on any kind of autofill to cause the first return. That could happen if you last sentence went right up to the edge.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:49 AM on May 5, 2012

Also, depending on the software you used to create the file, a "soft return" (i.e., Shift+Enter) may carry formatting from one paragraph to another and make more work for the person doing the layout.
posted by catlet at 1:23 PM on May 5, 2012

These days, as everyone has pointed out, when it comes to computers a carriage return is outmoded terminology, and a hard-right carriage return just means hitting the enter key. So, they are really just asking you to hit the enter key twice. catlet has pointed out the main reason they are probably asking you to do it.

Just for fun, you can see a video online with someone typing and then hitting the lever (metal bar) at the left of the typewriter to do actual carriage returns on a manual typewriter. It is # 2 of the videos at 11 Sounds That Your Kids Have Probably Never Heard. (I'm old enough to have typed on manual and electric typewriters and remember how much easier it was both to type and do carriage returns on an electric typewriter vs. a manual typewriter. The return/enter key on an IBM Selectric electric typewriter was a heck of a lot faster and easier to use than the lever of a manual typewriter, since you didn't have to take your hand off the keyboard to use it. I feel really old now.)
posted by gudrun at 2:03 PM on May 5, 2012 [5 favorites]

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