One space versus two spaces after a full stop

Posted on 05. Jun, 2012 by in Copywriting

When typing do you press the space bar one or two times after hitting the full stop key (or period for our US readers)?

Not sure? Go to the last document you have written and do a Ctrl+F (find) search for   (or just hit the space bar twice).

Priority spaces

As an editor, this is one of the first checks I will make to any content submitted to me for review. And I will replace each instance of two spaces with one space. That is how I do things.

Most people probably don’t notice or care whether they use one space or two. Even more do a mix of one, two, three and more spaces after a full stop.

Wikipedia kindly tells me that the habit of two spaces derives from the use of the monospaced font on typewriters.

Two is for typewriters

A Macbook Pro or a desktop PC is not a typewriter. If you did not learn to type on a typewriter, you’ve no excuse. If you learned to type on a typewriter it’s time to start changing your habits and getting with the modern world.

If there was ever an article I wish I had written, it is ‘Space Invaders, Why you should never, ever use two spaces after a period’ by Farhad Manjoo of Slate magazine.

He says everything I could wish to say, or get interviewees to say on the one versus two space debacle.

I’m right and you’re wrong

Great takeaway points from Farhad’s article include:

  • Typing two spaces after a period is totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong.
  • Because we’ve all switched to modern fonts, adding two spaces after a period no longer enhances readability, typographers say. It diminishes it.
  • One space is simpler, cleaner, and more visually pleasing
  • A page of text with two spaces between every sentence looks riddled with holes

Are you stuck in the 20th century?

What’s your take on it? Do you use one or two spaces after a full stop? Would you change having read this blog post, the article from Slate.com or indeed the Wikipedia section on spacing?

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