Should we use one space or two after a period?

Please read this article from Slate first.

Then, respond to the poll.

I took a typing class the summer before I started high school. We were taught to put two spaces after the period at the end of the sentence (as well as after colons). This guy claims that that is a holdover from the '70s and has to do with typewriters using monospaced type and is completely unnecessary now and we should FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP DOING IT ALREADY (sorry, he seems a little emotional about the topic).

So what do you say?

I learned 2 spaces. Some people say use 1 space now because the convention changed, but I learned 2 spaces and I will use 2 spaces until I die.

I’ll check back later to see if the poll’s been added.

Two spaces.

It’s a habit.

Deal with it.

Gah! Stupid tab button! Didn’t finish my post!

Sorry, folks. Just post your responses.

Apparently I am still learning to type. :rolleyes:


Two. It’s how I learned to type. It’s not a holdover from the 70s, incidentally; I learned to type in WYSIWIG word processors in the early 90s which still used monospace fonts.

I think I read that article. They basically insist that there’s a “right” and a “wrong” way, and then later on admit that there’s no such thing as a right and a wrong way when it comes to typography, just convention, and the overwhelming convention is two spaces (unless you’re a professional typesetter). Overall I found the slate piece pretty obnoxious.

I’m a two-spacer. That’s how I learned. I could un-learn, but I think 2 spaces looks better.

I personally think two is okay. I alternate between one and two depending on how careful I am or am not and how things “look”. To me a bit too much space is a lesser visual evil than not enough. I don’t like sentences looking like they are squashed together.

ISTR some ass here on the SDMB once saying they couldnt take me seriously because I put two spaces between sentences. Oh please.

IMO, if two spaces bugs you much, you’ve got a mini case of OCD. Unless such trivia is actually part of your daily job.

I will never understand why some people cling to “two spaces” like it was a religion.

Anyway we did this recently.

I posted that article on my FB page a few days ago and was surprised that a lot of my friends still use two spaces. I learned years ago when I started editing that it is one space. Sure, back in the 70s when I was in high school I learned it should be two spaces, but in the digital age it should be one. The article states the reasons for this, but as a former magazine editor I learned that it also frees up space, which in magazines and other similar pubs can be used for ads. When I see people put two spaces after a period I think it looks so old-fashioned.

1 space.

What was galling was when I had to format a coworker’s letters for a sort of mail merge thing. All of his sentences ended with 2 spaces. It drove me nuts!

I think it’s the idea that “You know that thing you’ve been doing for the past 30 years and are completely comfortable with? Well, you’ve been DOING IT WRONG ALL THIS TIME. Be ashamed!”


Another vote for two. I learned to type in high school (early 90s) on typewriter and word processors, and later on when modern word processing software became more common our teachers still had us use the same style guides.

In other words I’ve been two-spacing for nearly 20 years and I ain’t gonna change it just for that guy.

Two. I’m always fighting the little green squiggly lines in Word when I do though.

We did this a while ago. The correct answer is still one.

(Fortunately, a global search and replace to replace two spaces with one is dead easy.)

Yeah, and more than once before that. I’m too lazy to search though.

One space. Word will just take out any extra spaces anyway.

Two spaces. And it seems like the only people who really care about it are the people in publishing.

As the article says, two spaces was a convention developed for typewriters because, unlike normal typesetting, they used non-proportional fonts. This is different from the convention for text that used normal typesetting, which is one space. Unless for some reason you are using a non-proportional font like Courier, there is no real reason to use two spaces except force of habit.

I wouldn’t say that using two spaces is “wrong,” so much as outmoded and archaic. I don’t particularly care myself, except when I receive text from someone else for editing and I then have to go through and strip out the double spaces for publication.

Can’t you just find+replace all instances of two spaces with one? MLA says neither is incorrect, but one space is more efficient.

Page Not Found CMOS says one is the way to go. APA (the one I was raised on) says use two.

I seem to recall Strunk & White recommending two as well, but I can’t find a cite for it.

Basically, IMHO it’s old school but not incorrect, and you young whippersnappers will just have to wait 'til we retire to have your perfect little single-spaced world.