Tag Archives: typewriter

Hell hath no fury like two spaces after a period scorned…..

Tired of talking about the basketball tournament and brackets? Looking to stir up an engaging conversation at the water cooler?

Try out this question I posted on Facebook…

I know the answer,
But what say you,
One space
after a period

or two?

Who knew punctuation could be so controversial? Over 30 people nearly declared war on the single space, demanding two blank spaces should follow the period. “My typing teacher told me so,” they admonished. Whoa.

The poor older folks who learned to type on a typewriter are reluctant to get off the rickety ole bandwagon of yesteryear and hop on the one space train of today. Even when the experts who write the editing bibles like The Chicago Manual of Style, the AP Stylebook , and the Modern Language Association recommend using one space after a period at the end of a sentence.

(Just by the by – the practice of using two spaces is usually called “French spacing” and is considered outdated.)

The rationale is simple. Typefaces used to be monospaced, meaning each letter took up the same amount of space on the page (you can see this in the font called courier). Putting two spaces after a period eased readability. Computer fonts can be proportionally spaced which automatically eases readability (notice an “l” takes up less space than an “w”). This makes an empty space look like an empty space rather than a part of a word.

Number one hubby works at a publishing company. They edit over 17 million pages a year. Pssst. They use one space after a period.

What say you – one space or two?