If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you will know that I’m currently at war with my English teacher over the use of indenting. I always indent, always have and most likely always will.

My teacher, however, says that indenting is old, and that nobody indents anymore. And today, after I told her that books indent, she brought in a ‘modern novel’ which doesn’t use indenting. I’m being honest when I tell you that the book she showed me was the first I’ve ever seen which doesn’t indent.

The point of today’s post is to ask your thoughts on indenting. Do you indent? Or not? Let me know  in the comments.


6 Responses to Indenting

  1. Merrilee says:

    One book does not make an argument 🙂 Counter with your library full of indented books 😉

    I checked the book I am currently reading, published 2009, and it’s indented.

    Honestly though, I think you’re wasting your energies. Just indent for her class, and let her know that you’re only doing it to satisfy her guidelines. Then shrug and move on. There are more important fights 🙂

  2. AshN says:

    I wouldn’t worry about it; English teachers have the funny position of being able to be right even if they’re not correct. Meaning, they have the power to dock your papers according to their OWN quirks and personal rules.

    I’d go with Merrilee’s advice and keep formatting your personal work like you always have, and lose the indents only for the teacher’s assignments.

  3. Feywriter says:

    I always indent my manuscripts, and all the books I read are indented (as far as I’ve noticed). Not indenting seems more for online viewing than print. A whole different rule set. And I agree with Merrilee: One book does not make an argument.

  4. Anna says:

    I always use a code to indent so it can easily be removed for someone who doesn’t like it. (In Microsoft Word, it’s under the Paragraph opions, Indent First Line.)

    I’ve seen a lot of different formatting in newer novels. I think it’s a stylistic choice, not a technical choice. I’ve seen very few without indentation, however.

    Most mass market paperbacks are traditional with indentations. That’s not first run, so the formatting is probably a little different from the original.

    If you’re submitting your novel for publication, follow the directions given by the agent.

    Also, something to think about, if you use paragraph separators instead of indents, it increases page count.

    Finally, if your teacher wants you to format differently, just do it. Better not to fight over something as insignificant as indents. Teachers can be (and sometimes are) wrong. I’ve dealt with them before, and not even a techincal style guide will convince them. Teachers are human. (I’ve even argued with others over grammar, and even after I showed them the rule and exceptions, they still insisted I was wrong. “It looks weird.” “No one does that anymore.” etc.)

  5. Wendy says:

    I totally agree with Merrilee. One book, indeed, does not make an argument.

  6. Merrile: I brought in a book today which had indenting, and she had brought in an indented book as well. I can’t remember her exact words, but I think we just agreed to disagree.

    AshN:You’re right, it’s best to just agree. I had an argument with my Dad last year over the word ‘discourse’. He didn’t agree with the context the teacher was using it in.

    Feywriter: I think I remember someone telling me that online text shouldn’t be indented.

    Anna:I’ll have to take a look at the code. I brought in a book published in 2001 to show her indenting, but apparently 2001 is ‘old’. I was going to bring her a book from last year, but new books are always hardcover and I didn’t want to bring one of them in.

    Wendy: I agree, although I think it was just an example. She may or may not have more non-indented books.

    Thanks for your comments, everyone!

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