I'm referring to when you double-click on the middle of a word in any sort of text editing situation (Google Docs, filling out this question, AIM, etc.) and the word as well as the space between it and next word are highlighted. What is the design decision behind this?

Also, I'm not sure if this is even the correct SE site, I just figured this sort of fell under UX.

  • As of 2019, this does not seem to be true anymore. I see no application doing this anymore, only the space is highlighted.
    – rugk
    Feb 24 '19 at 11:22
  • Because, possibly, this behavior can likewise lead to problems or users thinking of problems when selecting text. (explanation of that xkcd 2109)
    – rugk
    Feb 24 '19 at 11:23
  • To correct my previous statement: Actually, this seems to be common behavior on Windows (only) as I could reproduce this in MS Word and notepad.exe, but could not see it anywhere else (on Linux).
    – rugk
    Feb 24 '19 at 13:02

It's so that when you then hit delete you are left with a single space between the previous and next word and don't have to subsequently delete that as well.

Same when you want to copy or cut and paste it from one position to another - the space goes with it - but it's not great if you meant to copy the word outside the application and you really only want the standalone word...but - we can't read people's minds...

  • Of course! Makes perfect sense. Get to work on that whole mind-reading thing, though. Jul 17 '11 at 7:42
  • 3
    In Mac OS X that space will not be selected, but when you hit delete it will be removed. This is to prevent you from copying the space, but you won't have two spaces after deleting the text.
    – user371
    Jul 30 '11 at 9:48

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