One Space or Two at the End of a Sentence?

AAAARGH! Am I the last person on the Internet to learn that modern typography calls for just one space after a sentence, not two? In my defense, yes, I did learn to type on a manual typewriter, which had a monospaced (fixed-width) Courier font. On the other hand, I have been writing and publishing on the Internet for more than (hmmmm) sixteen years! To learn exactly why the double space after a period has been abandoned, here are two articles. The first is from Grammar Girl: How Many Spaces After A Period?. The second from Slate: Space Invaders: Why you should never, ever use two spaces after a period.

But back to my original question. Am I the last to know that a period should be followed by a single space, not two?

Comments

  1. Jeannie says

    Hi,
    I knew, but I still use a double space. I,too, learned to type on a manual typewriter a long time ago. I am also still in school, and most of the time, the teachers who are grading my papers are still expecting the double space after the period.

  2. Linda says

    Not long ago, I had to take a typing test (on the computer) for a job. This was a standard, run-of-the-mill typing test, and it was considered an ERROR to put just one space after the period. Not sure what to make of all this…

  3. says

    Hey Barbara,
    I have noticed on my blog that if I double space after a period it will often put a space on the left margin of a sentence. It drives me crazy, and I just started wondering if I needed to go to single-spacing after a period. You have answered this perplexing problem – officially. Thank you! I, too, learned to type on a manual typewriter, so going to a single-space is difficult. I usually have to backspace to fix it. Ugh! I hope I can get used to it. Thanks for the info!

  4. says

    Haha! I always use one space, because two spaces isn’t correct either, and when I’m writing on the Internet, the two spaces are automatically reduced to just the one space, unless you use the HTML entity non-breaking space.

  5. Liza says

    I’m just an old, die-hard, traditionalist. I will probably continue to use two spaces just because I don’t have a job that is telling me not to. :-) And, it’s habit. :-) You all have a great day!

  6. Heidi says

    In the days when the size of a file was measured in bytes the rule changed to allow more words in a file, so you wouldn’t have just a page of spaces. I learned to type using two spaces still in the early ’90s but within the decade I was part of a team doing online publishing. I was quickly told to start using single spaces. Old habits die hard. You wear your seatbelt now, even if they didn’t use to.

  7. says

    When training for and giving the North Carolina Computer Skills test in middle school for many years we learned quickly that the two spaces was no longer accepted practice. As students worked in word processing and desktop publishing they lost points for continuing to use the old two space rule. In the days of manual type where every letter got the exact same amount of space it took two spaces to make it obvious you were at the end of a sentence. Now with everything proportionately spaced it is not longer necessary. Ahhh Progress!

    • anne-ology says

      Why’s that progress?
      Is using bad grammar going to be considered good anon now just because it’s used by those who don’t know grammar yet text rather than converse in today’s society?

  8. Jean Frisoni says

    An author friend told me; however, since I learned to type on a manual machine, I find myself wanting to double space.

  9. cristina says

    I read about it some time ago, but the fact is that when you are speaking, the gap between two sentences is longer than the one you do to add something corresponding to the same sentence.
    In writing you put a comma for this, and after a comma I leave one space. It means that if I’m speaking I make a little pause. When I change the subject (that is another sentence) I show this by using this (.) in writing, and leaving two spaces, which is reflected in speech because the pause is longer.

  10. says

    i don’t know why this ever changed from two to one. Two spaces is much easier on the eyes while reading. I think that some people think computing is a “new age” and that there should be new rules. At the end of the day…type written is type written.

  11. Donna says

    I read the comment about 1 space after a period. When did it change and who changed it? Before I became a teacher, I was a secretary for many years. There was always 2 spaces at the end of a sentence.