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One space or two after a period?

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I remember being taught to leave an extra space after a period when I was in (Australian) primary school) ages 5 to 12). However, at around grade 4 our teacher announced that the extra space was no longer needed as they were running short of spaces owing to a shortage of them after WWII. In any case we didn't have typewriters or computer keyboards in those days (1953). Some teachers were intent on maintaining a double space after a period but many of us boys, now in highschool, were seriously embarrassed talking about our teachers' periods and thought that a single space was enough for a single period. In some classes teachers moaned about the breakdown of the very fabric of society, but then they yielded and agreed to a single space.

Many of the books that I bought in 1964-70 have double spaces, but as we approach the latter half of the 20th Century single spaces seem to be more frequent. As for the computer age, it seems that the shortage of spaces is matched by the shortage of periods. This will, no doubt, be blamed on The Pill. All of this makes me feel that my run-on sentences are a justified way to avoid the space arguments. As for the periods, being gay has relieved me of the need to ask my boyfriend if he is having one, or two.


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I am and always will be a two-space advocate.  It's not easy being a rebel, but that's what the push for single-spacing after periods has made me.  Modern people, by which I mean those born after 1980, tend to be conformists when it comes to post-period spacing.  Why, I have no idea.  The double space makes one's writing look less crowded, less cumbersome, more welcoming, more eye-pleasing.

The article above gives all sorts of useless information, and you don't have to read it.  I'll condense what is says here: 

And the verdict was: two spaces after the period is better.

Yes!  I wholeheartedly agree.  Even when it causes a kerfuffle, as it has with some of the gentlefolks who code my stories for this site, and even my editorial staff, I prefer two spaces.  It simply looks better.  Period.  Two spaces.

C - the rebel






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To quote one actor who became president (not the current one), 'Here we go again.'  Although this time around I have Des to thank for giving us the LGBT+ take on this controversy, and I find I don't need to give it any further thought.

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Those of us who grew up in the era where we learned typing on actual typewriters were generally told to use two spaces.  I know I was.  In fact, I put two spaces in after the periods in this post, even knowing that under HTML the extra spaces will be discarded.

More recently, I worked for several years in an environment where we prepared what amounted to white papers in Microsoft Word for publication.  One of the official standards was that we must put two spaces after periods at the end of sentences.  This was because (and I agreed with this) it aided in readability of our work.  We also set the font size at 13 rather than 12, and added a hair of extra line spacing (like 1.1 instead of 1) again for the purpose of readability.  I think these ideas helped a lot -- I liked the look of our published product.

But in a large number of cases, the two spaces after the period are meaningless.  They mean nothing when text for web display is entered, because web browsers ignore all "white space" beyond the first space character encountered.  In other words, even if you put five or ten spaces after a period, only a single space will be displayed on the web browser.  The extra spaces also are not needed for manuscripts being submitted for commercial publication, where the publisher will be formatting the text to "pretty it up" with a selected typeface and justified margins.  

Nonetheless, the spaces are still hardwired into my typing fingers.  They still show up in emails and word processing documents, and I personally like them -- as a readability aid.  

So there.


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Hardwired here, too, and there is a purpose in doing it.  I print out all my stories.  Not sure why.  It just feels good, I guess, seeing all those binders sitting there on my desk.  It's not just an ego trip: it shows me, makes a visual statement, that I've accomplished all those stories, and leads me to think I can still do it.  But that's where all those double spaces show up and add to the readability of my writing.  If only for me. 



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All those extra spaces must bulk up those notebooks, Cole.  No harm in that—although you hardly need the assist, considering your output. ?

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3 hours ago, Merkin said:

All those extra spaces must bulk up those notebooks, Cole.  No harm in that—although you hardly need the assist, considering your output. ?

Just think, though, about all of the added work Cole's poor editors have slogging through all of those excess, unnecessary spaces while trying to discern the real meat of a story! ?+?+?+?+:sad: = :sick:

Colin  :icon_geek:

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